Before the Watching World
Lisa Cooke

Before the Watching World by Lisa CookePsalm 31:19 “How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.” (NLT)

The world needs, has always needed, to observe people who are confident in and experiencing God’s goodness. King David was one of those people. In Psalm 27:13 (NLT) he says, “Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” David had faith that God would be good to him in the midst of all of earth’s trials and tribulations. He wrote about it, he sang about it, he lived his hope in front of his people and his enemies. He experienced it time after time, with bears, lions, and Goliath at first, then Saul, armies, and even through the betrayal of his own son. The world watched as David lived his life in the fear of the Lord and in faith of God’s goodness toward him and the world still “watches” through the reading of scripture.

Mindful of the fact that we are being watched, we live our Christianity in “simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God…” (2 Cor 1:12) as a testimony to the goodness of God being manifested for us, in us and through us. We know from Romans 10:14-15 that people who call on the name of the Lord to be saved are those who first came into contact with someone who was sent, who preached, so that they could hear and believe. Nothing preaches so loudly as a life lived fully to the glory of God, and being confident in the Lord’s goodness is a powerful expression of one’s faith.

In Psalm 145:4-7 (ESV) it says that “one generation shall commend Your works to another” and that “they shall pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness.” This is our happy occupation as we journey through life, to give constant testimony of God’s abundant goodness experienced by us and by others.

The whole chapter of Psalm 136 is a listing of the recognized goodness of God that the writer has observed and experienced. He addresses specific moments in history where the Lord created the earth, delivered His people, and made the provision of food for all mankind. He exalts God with this list of the Lord’s work in the earth and we have his example to follow in giving “thanks to the Lord, for He is good.”

What would your personal version of Psalm 136 look like? How would you give thanks to the Lord for His goodness to you? Psalm 107:8 says “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.” We are encouraged to be expressive with our gratitude for all that the Lord has done for us so that others may hear of the character and actions of our Almighty God.

Tony and I were recently with a pastor and his wife, and during our dinner conversations, the testimonies of God’s goodness in tough circumstances just rolled out of them, one after another. It was a delight to hear of the deliverances and mercies they received from the goodness of God. They were giving us their version of Psalm 136 verbally and it created an atmosphere of mutual thanksgiving as we rejoiced with them.

Think about how good God has been to you. Are you keeping a running tally of His goodness in your life, so that you can easily speak of those things in conversation with others? These testimonies are not meant to generate envy or jealousy but to encourage faith, hope and thanksgiving both in the speaker and the listener. It is believed that keeping a gratitude journal actually contributes to physical and mental wellbeing, and many counselors will recommend this activity for their clients. Being consciously grateful for the goodness God has shown you will result in an attitude toward God that can be seen and even felt by people around you.

What are a few of the “goodnesses” of God that He blesses our lives with? I think of favor first of all. Psalm 5:12 in the ESV says “For you bless the righteous, O Lord, You cover him with favor as with a shield.”

He provides angelic assistance as spoken of in Psalm 91:11 “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”

I am grateful for the honor God has bestowed upon us by seating us at the table prepared for us in the presence of our enemies (Psa 23:5). It’s important to remember that even our enemies are watching God be good to us!

Our position of being seated with Christ in heavenly places according to Ephesians 2:6 is along with all the other marvelous benefits of our redemption a demonstration of God’s goodness toward us.

One of the most incredible kindnesses of the God of all creation is that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). How important is our testimony of being saved to the world that does not yet know God’s mercy in this way!

I could go on and on reciting the mercies and kindnesses of the Lord toward His people and I’m sure you could too. I encourage each of us to spend a little time each day remembering and speaking about the things the Lord has done and is doing for us. Keep in mind that not only is the Father hearing your thanksgiving, but also those around you are being affected by your experience and communication of God’s goodness toward you. We all have the privilege to be bearers of the Lord’s virtues, and like it was said of Jesus in Isaiah 61:1 we can “bring good news to the afflicted.”

The world is watching, desperately needing to hear about a good and gracious God. Be that voice full of the wonder of God’s kindnesses toward yourself and toward all mankind. May all our lives be a testimony to the goodness of God, stored up for those that fear Him.