Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 13, 2021

“Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart!”

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 2:4-9.  Here is a link to this Scripture –

I quote only the following verses.

“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;  and man became a living being.  The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden;  and there He placed the man whom He had formed.  Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food;  the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  Genesis 2:7-9. 


Today’s Scripture leads us to consider whether apparently good places, paradises so to speak, and apparently good food and other things, are necessarily good for all.

I will first give some practical examples for a quick superficial look, then more importantly, I will give some Scriptures and creeds for a deeper look upon which we can meditate.  

I live in St. Petersburg, Florida which many consider a paradise.  But, this city is not necessarily good for all.  Here are just some examples.  There may be better churches for some elsewhere.  Some people’s family may be elsewhere.  There may be better jobs for some elsewhere.  Some may prefer more open spaces and other qualities of other places.  

There are many good foods, but we know that if one eats too much of good foods, it can be bad for them.  

The nature of the recipient is more important than the nature of the object in determining whether or not that object will be good for the recipient. Consider how God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose, and in sharp contrast, consider how God keeps the unrighteous under punishment and how there is no peace for the wicked.

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

Consider the following Isaiah 48:20-22 Scripture and the sharp contrast between the righteous and the wicked. For the wicked, there is no peace no matter the apparently good places in which they live or how many apparently good things they have. For the righteous, even if for a while they are led through the wilderness and even into captivity, God will literally or figuratively split rocks and cause water to gush forth for them.   

“20 Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans!
Declare with the sound of joyful shouting, proclaim this,
Send it out to the end of the earth;
Say, “The LORD has redeemed His servant Jacob.”
21 They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts.
He made the water flow out of the rock for them;
He split the rock and the water gushed forth.
22 “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the LORD.” Isaiah 48:20-22.

“then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,”  2 Peter 2:9.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

Article 9.  … election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to that of the apostle:  “He hath chosen us (not because we were) but that we should be holy, and without blame, before him in love,”  Ephesians 1:4.

Consider the following from the Heidelberg Catechism.

Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence) is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father;  on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;  and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;  for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.

Q. 27.  What dost thou mean by the providence of God?

A.  The almighty and everywhere present power of God, whereby, as it were by His hand, He upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures;  so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by His fatherly hand. 

Q. 28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?

A.  That we may be patient in adversity;  thankful in prosperity;  and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love;  since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.

Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!

2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

16 When I pondered to understand this,
It was troublesome in my sight
17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!” Psalm 73:1-3 and 16-19.


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