Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone )The Depths of Godís Goodness

Bethel Lutheran Church

Text: Psalms 107: 1 - 9;

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, 3 And gathered out of the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the southÖ 8 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Have you ever looked into the night sky on a star-filled night and tried to consider the vastness of the universe? Itís quite astounding to think about, isnít it? Astronomers could spend their whole lives studying the universe and only scratch the surface of understanding it. Who could ever comprehend the vastness of the universe with galaxies estimated to be billions of light years away? We arenít even sure how far out the universe extends. From our perspective, the universe is truly limitless.

Looking into the goodness of God is much like looking out into the universe: For Godís goodness too is limitless. We could spend our whole life searching out the goodness of the Lord and we would only scratch the surface of understanding it; we could never fully plumb its depths. That doesnít mean we shouldnít spend our days trying to do so! Just think of how much better our lives would be if we spent our days pondering the great goodness of the Lord, instead of dwelling in the mire of thoughts about our own problems, or focusing on earthly, worldly things that in the end have no value. Imagine the joy and praise that would fill our hearts if we would see signs of Godís goodness in everything. Our hearts, mouths, and lives would exclaim with the Psalmist those familiar words of the first verse of our text, ďOh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures foreverĒ (v. 1).

A couple of weeks ago during a Saturday youth group Bible Study I played a game with the kids using a dice that had almost every letter of the alphabet on it. For whatever letter one of the students rolled they were all to try and come up with up to 10 things for which they were thankful that started with that letter. The eye-opening thing was just how many things-both great and small- you could come up with for each letter-and the kids came up with some very creative ones! The list is literally endless! This Thanksgiving letís take the time to gaze into the vast Depths of Godís Goodness and respond with Our Humble Thanks!

Think again about Godís goodness in the universe He has created. Think of those stars Heís placed in the sky. Each one (and itís estimated that there are six septillion of them, thatís 6 with 24 zeros on the end of it!) is a marvel of beauty and complexity. Many of them are hundreds of times bigger than our sun! And yet what is their purpose? As far as we know they are simply there for our enjoyment! They are examples of just how vast the glory of Godís power, wisdom, and goodness really is! Isnít it humbling to think of how insignificant we are in this universe, compared to the giant planets, stars, and galaxies God has created, and yet He knows and cares for each one of us personally! He didnít send His Son Jesus to die for the gigantic stars of the universe; He died for you and me! David wrote about these very thoughts in Psalm 8, ďWhen I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?Ē (Psalm 8:3-4).

We see even more evidence of Godís goodness closer to home. Psalm 33:5 reminds us, ďThe earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.Ē Take a walk outside and see the beauty of all that God created. Take a look at the farmersí fields and walk down the aisles of the grocery store and see the wealth and variety of food God has created for us to enjoy. God made this world for us! Again, what an astounding and humbling thought! He has also given us our senses to enjoy the tastes and smells, sights and sounds of His goodness.

We also see Godís goodness toward us in His protection. Our text reminds us that the LORD has ďredeemed [His people] from the hand of the enemyĒ (Psalm 107:2). God has not only redeemed and protected us from our physical enemies like He did with Israel when He delivered them from slavery and captivity in the Old Testament, but also from our spiritual enemies which threaten our very souls: The Devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. Think of how He sends His angels to watch over us every minute of our lives. ďFor He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your waysĒ (Psalm 91:11). This world can be a very scary place. Nearly every day we see and hear reminders of so many things that threaten our lives, our health, and our well-being. Just think of how much trouble, disaster, and calamity He has kept from coming into our lives altogether. That thought alone should make us thankful to God for His merciful protection and goodness.

Godís goodness is seen in the people in our lives that are near and dear to us. The people who care about us and care for us. God has given us our family and friends. He has given us each other, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, a spiritual family in which we share the great blessing of mutual faith and Christian love for each other. Hardly a day goes by in which I do not give thanks for the goodness God has shown to me in you, the Bethel congregation. What would life be like without loved ones to share it with us? Yet, arenít these gifts of Godís goodness often the things we take most for granted and maybe even treat with ungrateful contempt? Let us think about the goodness of God and treat the people in our lives as the great gifts they are.

We can even see the goodness of God in the trials and troubles of life. God is so good that He does the difficult and painful work of disciplining us for our good. He has promised that no matter what the situation, no matter what the trial or tribulation He will work it all out for our good (cf. Romans 8:28). Truly, everything that happens in our lives is a sign of Godís goodness.

Most amazing of all, look again to the cross and see Godís goodness in its full glory! Who can comprehend the depth of Godís goodness in sending His only Son to save us? Look again at Jesusí empty tomb and wonder at the eternal life that our living Savior has won for us and the heaven He has waiting for us! The last verse of our Psalm reminds us of Godís spiritual and eternal goodness towards us, ďFor He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodnessĒ (v. 9).

But arenít we so often ungrateful for the goodness of God, acting as if the good in our lives is from our own hard work, or as if the goodness God has shown us is something we somehow deserve? Do we not at times repay His goodness with a slap in the face by our own sinfulness and thanklessness? Yet He came to die in our place so that we can go on living with Him. That is goodness beyond measure!

ďOh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!Ē (v. 8). Let us make it our daily exercise-not just on Thanksgiving-to see the goodness of the Lord in all things and we will truly be filled with thanksgiving! Amen.