Verse 68. Thou art good, and doest good. Even in affliction God is good, and does good. This is the confession of experience. God is essential goodness in himself, and in every attribute of his nature he is good in the fullest sense of the term; indeed, he has a monopoly of goodness, for there is none good but one, that is God. His acts are according to his nature: from a pure source flow pure streams. God is not latent and ill active goodness; he displays himself by his doings, he is actively beneficent, he does good. How much good he does no tongue can tell! How good he is no heart can conceive! It is well to worship the Lord as the poet here does by describing him. Facts about God are the best praise of God. All the glory we can give to God is to reflect his own glory upon himself. We can say no more good of God than God is and does. We believe in his goodness, and so honour him by our faith; we admire that goodness, and so glorify him by our love; we declare that goodness, and so magnify him by our testimony.
Teach me thy statutes. The same prayer as before, backed with the same argument. He prays, "Lord be good, and do good to me that I may both be good and do good through thy teaching." The man of God was a learner, and delighted to learn: he ascribed this to the goodness of the Lord, and hoped that for the same reason he would be allowed to remain in the school and learn on till he could perfectly practise every lesson. His chosen class book was the royal statutes, he wanted no other. He knew the sad result of breaking those statutes, and by a painful experience he had been led back to the way of righteousness; and therefore he begged as the greatest possible instance of the divine goodness that he might be taught a perfect knowledge of the law, and a complete conformity to it. He who mourns that he has not kept the word longs to be taught it, and he who rejoices that by grace he has been taught to keep it is not less anxious for the like instruction to be continued to him.
In verse 12, which is the fourth verse of Beth, we have much the same sense as in this fourth verse of Teth.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 68. -- Thou art good, and doest good. There is a good God set before us, that we may not take tip with any low pattern of goodness. He is represented to us as all goodness. He is good in his nature; and his work is agreeable to his nature; nothing is wanting to it, or defective in it. Nothing can be added to it to make it better. Philo saith, w ontwl wn to prwtoon agaqoj: the first being must needs be the first good. As soon as we conceive that there is a God, we presently conceive that he is good, He is good of himself, good in himself, goodness itself, and both the fountain and the pattern of all the good that is in the creatures.
- As to his nature, he is originally "good", good in himself, and good to others; as the sun hath light in himself, and giveth light to all other things. Essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself. Goodness in us is an accessory quality or superadded gift; but in God it is not a quality, but his essence. In a vessel that is gilded with gold the gilding or lustre is a superadded quality; but in a vessel all of gold, the lustre and the substance is the same. God is infinitely good; the creatures' good is limited, but there is nothing to limit the perfection of God, or give it any measure. He is an ocean of goodness without banks or bottom. Alas! what is our drop to this ocean! God is immutably good; his goodness can never be more or less than it is; as there can be no addition to it, so no subtraction from it. Man in his innocency was 'peccabilis', or liable to sin, afterwards 'peccator',or an actual sinner; but God ever was and is good. Now this is the pattern propounded to us, but his nature is a great deep. Therefore --
- As to his work; "he doeth good." What hath God been acting upon the great theatre of the world but goodness for these six thousand years? Acts 14:17 , "Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." He left not himself without a witness, anaqopiwn, not by taking vengeance of their idolatries, but by distributing benefits. This is propounded to our imitation, that our whole life may be nothing else but doing good: Matthew 5:48 , "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Well, therefore, doth the Psalmist say, "Teach me thy statutes." -- Thomas Manton.
Verse 68. -- Thou art good and doest good. We should bless the Lord at all times, and keep up good thoughts of God, on every occasion, especially in the time of affliction. Hence we are commanded to glorify God in the fires ( Isaiah 24:15 ); and this the three children did in the hottest furnace... I grant, indeed, we cannot give thanks for affliction as affliction, but either as it is the means of some good to us, or as the gracious hand of God is some way remarkable therein toward us. In this respect there is no condition on this side of hell but we have reason to praise God in it, though it be the greatest of calamities. Hence it was that David, when he speaks of his affliction, adds presently, "Thou art good, and doest good"; and he declares ( Psalms 119:65 ), "Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according unto thy word." Hence Paul and Silas praised God when they were scourged and imprisoned. --John Willison, 1680-1750.
Verse 68. -- Thou art good. The blessed effects of chastisement, as a special instance of the Lord's goodness, might naturally lead to an acknowledgment of his general goodness, in his own character, and in his unwearied dispensations of love. Judging in unbelieving haste of his providential and gracious dealings, feeble sense imagines a frown, when the eye of faith discerns a smile upon his face; and therefore in proportion as faith is exercised in the review of the past, and the experience of the present, we shall be prepared with the ascription of praise -- "Thou art good". --Charles Bridges.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 68. -- The double plea for a choice blessing. The goodness of God the hope of our ignorance.
Verse 68. -- Thou art good and doest good. The nature and work of God are manifest in nature, providence, grace, and glory. They are morally good; beneficially good; perfectly good; immeasurably good; immutably good; experimentally good; satisfactorily good. -- W.J.
Verse 68. (first clause). -- A sermon on God's goodness.
- The perfectness of it.
- The proofs of it.
- The power it should have over us. --J.F.