God is good, all the time. Christians are fond of saying that. It is true. God is good! It is interesting, however, that the phrase “God is good” is found only once in scripture and that verse specifically says, “God is good to Israel (Psalm 73:1). The Bible affirms there is no one good but God (Mark 10:18), but everywhere in the Bible God’s goodness is affirmed in the good God does and is doing, the goodness of His character, or the goodness of all He has created.
Don’t misinterpret what I may seem to imply. I am not saying we should not declare “God is good.” What I would like to suggest is that just saying “God is good” is inadequate and shallow. We should, as the Bible does, put some substance to our declaration. God’s daily provision is good. God’s protection is good. The salvation of God is good. The psalmist said, “the nearness of God is my good” (Psalm 73:28).
We are to declare God’s goodness as faithful witnesses of God’s goodness to a world that does not acknowledge God’s existence. What does the unbeliever understand about God when we only declare “God is good?” We should answer the unbeliever’s unspoken question, “Why do you say that God is good?” Many unbelievers have had experiences that caused them to believe that if there is a God He is not a good one. When they hear believers simply say, “God is good, all the time,” does that help to convict or convince? Announcing in the presence of an unbeliever that God’s mercy and readiness to forgive is good, provides a weightier witness for the unbeliever’s ears.
Every time we say, “God is good” we should express something about the goodness of God that prompted us to say it. If the phrase is said with little thought and perhaps only said as a sigh or a filler when we didn’t know what else to say, then we are guilty of violating the third commandment. God’s name is not to be spoken carelessly or disrespectfully; nor should we speak of God’s goodness without purpose and true thankfulness.
“But You, O God, the Lord, deal kindly with me for Your name’s sake; because Your lovingkindness is good, deliver me;” (Psalm 109:21). Scripture provides multiple examples of how to state God’s goodness in terms of those things that illustrate that He is good. Scripture identifies many ways to speak of His goodness. Let God’s word assist us in better stating our praise, because God’s Word matters.