“God is great, God is good.” That is probably the first prayer that children have learned. It is a prayer that seems to stick with children. I remember one Sunday, Sione was doing a children’s sermon. The children were all sitting on the floor around him and, he gave them a little lesson. When he finished he said, ”Let’s say a prayer.” Before he said the prayer, a little girl blurted out: “God is great! God is good! Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed. Give us Lord our daily bread.”
We find that story funny. It seems so out of place to say grace or return thanks during a worship service. That poor little girl didn’t know it wasn’t the time nor the place for a blessing. Or was it? That little girl had been taught well to give thanks to God. She had learned that God is so good and we should give thanks to God for the gifts. By giving thanks, she was expressing her love and gratitude and heartfelt faith in God.
That little girl had already learned a lesson that many adults haven’t learned. God gave his only Son Jesus to die for our sins on the cross. That’s a great gift of a good God. How do we thank God for it? Many times, we forget to make Jesus a part of our lives beyond worship. Sometimes we return thanks by being disobedient to the will of God.
People in Bible times were no different than us. They know that God is so good. They like us they had experienced the amazing Grace of God. Like us they had heard the testimony of God’s goodness. They had even seen God’s mighty works. The Psalmist who wrote Psalm 78 know of God’s greatness and God’s goodness.
The Psalmist wrote about how the children of Israel had seen the miracles of God in Egypt. How God had brought the plagues upon the Egyptians. And how God had preserved the Israelites from those plagues. The Psalmist also tells how God delivered them through the Red Sea from the hands of the Egyptians. They had seen the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night. They knew God was great because of those miracles.
They also knew that God was good. God had been so good enough to hear their cry in slavery and deliver them from bondage in Egypt. God could have left them there in slavery. Instead God chose to agree them. God had given them good gifts. He gave them bread from heaven to nourish their bodies. And water form rock to refresh them.
They didn’t give thanks for their food! Instead they complained. They complained that they would thirst to death in the wilderness. They said they wanted some meat to eat. Instead of giving thanks they rebelled against God. Psalmist said, “They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law. They forgot what He had done, and the miracles that he had shown them.”
So, what did God do? Well, God is good! God could have destroyed them. God could have left them in the desert to die of hunger and thirst. Instead God continued to feed them and save them. Instead of destroying them God made them prosper and grow. Instead of wiping their name from the pages of history, God made them a great people who still exist.
This is the mercy of God. Despite the untruthfulness of the people of Israel and their rebellion, God continued to bless them. This is a proof of the kind of God we worship and serve. We serve a God who gives us all that we need. Even when we fail to give God the glory for those gifts, God is still merciful and giving. God’s goodness was greater than their badness.
People haven’t changed much since then. God has given us great gifts. We live in a country of riches. Even the poor in our country have it better than some people in other countries. America throws away more food each day that is needed to feed the hunger. We are so blessed with freedoms not people in other parts of the world.
As Christians, we have been blessed with gifts that are even greater. The greatest of these gifts is Jesus, who came and died for our sins. We have been granted with the gift of forgiveness. We have been given the holy presence of God’s Spirit to sustain and guide us. We have been given the testimony of the Bible and the witness to reveal God’s will to us.
Like the Israelites we have forgotten what God has done for us. We fail to confess God as Lord over everything. I know a woman who inherit a house from her husband. She said the house was Jesus’ house and he just let her live there. People thought she was crazy, but she was right. All we have, even our breath, is a gift from God and we should thank God.
So, what does God do? Does God choose to destroy us and leave us to our own sin? No, excuse my English, but God is “gooder” than that. And thank God! We don't deserve the gifts we unthankfully receive. But that is how good God is!
That little girl was right! “God is great! God is good! Let us thank God for our food. By his hands we shall be fed. Give us Lord our daily bread.” Shalom and Amen.
Scripture: Psalm 78