When Is Good Good Enough?
Is God enough when the good is not good enough? The thought that the good is not good enough spawns perfectionism and results in anxiety. But how often do we believe that our good IS good enough? We are capable and competent human beings, right? Is my good not good enough? So maybe there are times when the good is good enough and other times when the good is not good enough?
During our spring cleaning of 2020, a.k.a. our Covid cleaning, I (Melanie) unearthed some papers I wrote in college. It has been interesting to see that we began writing about desperate dependency so many decades ago without calling it such. But for our King James Bible readers, we would like to share this paper written in the early 80s from a KJV perspective.
Who can we trust?
In this day of constant conflict and turmoil, we may search in vain for an honest person we can trust with every aspect of our lives. Politicians break promises. Preachers mock the truth. Friends betray trust. Where can we turn? We are insecure people and need someone to turn to in good times and bad times. But who can help us? Who can we lean on? Who can we be confident in? Where can we find refuge? The Bible gives us some advice about who we should not trust, and instead of leaving our lives void with no one to trust, the Bible also reveals The God we can trust.
The good is not good enough.
On the Tennessee Temple University campus, one may often see a young lady walking home with a small can in her hand. She realizes she needs protection, so she carries a can of mace with her in case of an attack. Suppose she was attacked. Could she trust her can of mace to protect her? David said in Psalm 44:6,
For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.Psalm 44:6 KJV
A bow and a sword were good things, but they were not good enough.
My bow may miss its aim, may be broken, or may be snatched away. My sword may snap, or grow blunt, or slip from my hold. We may not trust in our abilities, our experience, our shrewdness, our wealth, etc.Charles Haddon Spurgeon found in the Treasury of David: Psalm 44:6
These things are good, but they are not good enough.
The less confidence we have in ourselves or in anything besides God, the more evidence we have of the sincerity of our faith in God.David Dickson from A Brief Explication of the Psalms, Volume 1
It is better to trust in the Lord.
It is better in all ways, for first of all it is wiser: God is infinitely more able to help, and more likely to help, than man, and therefore prudence suggests that we put our confidence in Him above all others. It is also morally better to do so, for it is the duty of the creature to trust in the Creator. God has a claim upon His creatures’ faith. He deserves to be trusted; and to place our reliance upon another rather than upon Himself is a direct insult to His faithfulness. It is better in the sense of safer since we can never be sure of our ground if we rely upon mortal man, but we are always secure in the hands of our God. It is better in its effect upon ourselves: to trust in man tends to make us mean, crouching, dependent; but confidence in God elevates, produces a sacred quiet of spirit, and sanctifies the soul. It is, moreover, much better to trust in God, as far as the result is concerned; for in many cases the human object of our trust fails from want of ability, from want of generosity, from want of affection, or from want of memory; but the Lord, so far from failing, does for us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or even think.Charles Haddon Spurgeon found in the Treasury of David: Psalm 118:8
We may acknowledge that it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man, yet there is scarcely one among a hundred who is fully persuaded that God alone can afford him sufficient help.
That man has attained a high rank among the faithful, who resting satisfied on God, never ceases to entertain a lively hope, even when he finds no help upon earth.John Calvin
Not even princes are good enough.
Put not your trust in princes nor in the son of man, in whom there is not help.Psalm 146:3 KJV
Men are always far too apt to depend upon the great ones of the earth and forget the Great One above, and this habit is a fruitful source of disappointment. Princes are only men, and men with greater needs than others; why, then, should we look to them for aid? They are in greater danger, are burdened with greater care, and are more likely to be misled than other men; therefore, it is folly to select them for confidence. . . . How many have turned away heartsick from men on whom they once relied! Never was this the case with a believer in the Lord. He is a very present help in times of trouble.Charles Haddon Spurgeon found in the Treasury of David: Psalm 146:3
Psalm 118:8 is similar to Psalm 146:3.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.Psalm 118:8 KJV
It is better because, (1) because man is weak,—but God is Almighty; (2) because man is selfish,—but God is benevolent; (3) because man is often faithless and deceitful,—God never; (4) because there are emergencies, as death, in which man cannot aid us, however faithful, kind, and friendly he may be,—but there are no circumstances in this life, and none in death, where God cannot assist us; and (5) because the ability of man to help us pertains at best only to the present life—the power of God will be commensurate with eternity.Albert Barnes found in the Treasury of David: Psalm 118:9
God is more than enough.
But when our good is not good enough, God is more than enough. So often, we tend to limit God by thinking of only one name for God or one attribute of God. But if we could stop to think of all that God’s name entails and ponder His attributes, we may have a new vision of who He is and what He can do for us. The more intimate we are with the Lord, the firmer our trust will be.
When are the times that you worry the most? When are the everyday problems so big that it only takes one to get you down? If you think about it, it is probably those times when you have not spent time getting to know God and what He has in store for you.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.Psalm 9:10 KJV
God is trustworthy.
What is the truth about God? Realizing who God is and all the attributes that belong to Him, one would be foolish not to trust Him. The Lord has not forsaken those that seek Him. He is anxious to help, He wants to help, but by not seeking Him, we don’t give Him a chance. We must seek Him to know Him. He has given us all that He feels we need to know about Him, and when we seek and find all these things, we would not want to do anything but trust Him. God is trustworthy.
All who have any just views of God, or who understand His real character, will confide in Him. This is as much as to say, that He has a character which is worthy of confidence – since those who know Him best most unreservedly rely on Him. It is the same as saying that all the revelations of His character in His Word and works are such as to make it “proper” to confide in Him. The more intimate our knowledge of God, the more entirely shall we trust in Him; the more we learn of His real character; the more we shall see that He is worthy of universal love. It is much to say of anyone that the more He is known the more He will be loved; and in saying that, one reason why men do not confide in Him is that they do not understand His real character. . . . Men forsake Him; He does not forsake them.Barnes’ Notes
How can we describe God?
Notice how many adjectives the Psalmist uses to describe God in just one verse.
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;Psalm 18:2 KJV
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
And again in Psalm 144:2.
My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer;Psalm 144:2 KJV
My shield, and he in whom I trust;
Who subdueth my people under me.
Who is God?
Think about a high tower for a moment. What harm can come to us if we are in a high tower? Not much. That is one of the reasons why I have chosen to live on the second floor in the dorm for so many years of my life! I feel that it is safer up there. The Lord keeps us safe by being our high tower.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge, and my fortress, my God: in Him will I trust.Psalm 91:2 KJV
A refuge is a quiet retreat from a pursuing enemy. A fortress is a tower of defense – strong, manifest, ready to meet the attacks of all enemies, ready and able to resist them all. I think it is summed up in Psalm 31:14.
But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, “Thou art my God.”Psalm 31:14 KJV
“My God” is a summing up of all the phrases. Everything is here—all possible ascription of honor, glory, and power to Him. Let’s list some of the meanings of the word God:
The Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, Godhead, Holy One, God of gods, Lord of lords, Light Giver, Father, Judge, Savior, Redeemer, Deliverer, Shield, Buckler, Strength, Righteous One, God of seeing, Mighty One, God Almighty, Rock, The Strong One, King, Lord, My Lord, Master, Self-existent, The Most High, Satisfier, The Lord will provide (Jehovah-Jireh), The Lord that healeth (Jehovah-Rapha), The Lord our banner (Jehovah-Nissi), The Lord our peace (Jehovah-Shalom), The Lord my shepherd (Jehovah-Raah), The Lord our righteousness (Jehovah-Tsidknew), The Lord is present (Jehovah-Shammah). Let’s list a few of His attributes while we are at it: eternity, immutability, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, life, trust, holiness, and love.
Why do we limit our thoughts about God?
If the severity and justice of God terrify, the Lord offereth Himself as a bird with stretched out wings to receive the supplicant (Psalm 91:4). If enemies who are too strong do pursue, the Lord openeth His bosom as a refuge (Psalm 91:2). If the child be assaulted, He becomes a fortress (Psalm 91:2). If he be hotly pursued and enquired after, the Lord becometh a secret place to His child; if persecution be hot, God giveth Himself for a shadow; if potentates and mighty rulers turn enemies, the Lord interposeth as the “Most High and Almighty Savior” (Psalm 91:1). If the adversaries be crafty like fowlers or hunters, the Lord promiseth to break the snares (Psalm 91:3). Whether evils do come upon the believer night or day, secretly or openly, to destroy him, the Lord preserveth His child from destruction; and if stumbling blocks be laid in the child’s way He hath His instruments, His servant, His angels, prepared to keep the believer that he stumble not.David Dickson
Rest of the Weary
Rest of the weary, joy of the sad; Hope of the dreary, light of the glad; Home of the stranger, strength to the end; Refuge from danger, Saviour and Friend. Pillow where lying, love rests its head; Peace of the dying, life of the dead; Path of the lowly, prize at the end; Bliss of the holy, Saviour and Friend. When my feet stumble, to Thee I’ll cry, Crown of the humble, cross of the high; When my steps wander, over my bend, Truer and fonder, Saviour and Friend. Thee still confessing, ever I’ll raise Unto Thee blessing glory and praise; All my endeavor, world without end, Thine to be ever, Saviour and Friend. (Author Unknown)
Let’s take time to meditate on the God whom we can trust. He can fulfill every need we may have in our lives without difficulty. In the good times as well as the bad times, let’s not have a small view of God but truly realize how great and capable He is. When our good is not good enough, God is more than enough!
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