“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17
For those who serve the Lord, God is a Father of lights from whom all goodness and good things come. There is in Him no begrudging miserly attitude toward His children. He “gives generously to all without finding fault,” as the NIV translates James 1:5. And yet the carnal man’s attitude is that one must “strike a good deal” with the Lord or there is a possibility of coming up short.
Evidence for God’s goodness and the exceptional quality of His gifts is seen in His Word. There is nothing to compare with the richness and wonder of this gift to humans. It is God’s self-revelation to mankind. That self-revelation is so powerful and so filled with goodness that the Word of God is the vehicle through which the new birth comes! Is there any god like our God? It there any truth like His truth? It there any gift like the gift of God’s Word?
Do Not Err Concerning His Goodness
“Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:16-17
There have been those who have erred in their estimation of God’s goodness. To err in this way is to either misunderstand God’s interest in man or to mistake God’s proclivity to produce fruit. The first error produces a carnal tendency to “bargain” with the Lord. The second causes one to have a slothful attitude and bury one’s talents.
Let us examine the first error. When Jacob fled from his brother, Esau, he lighted upon a certain place. We recognize that the place Jacob selected to rest his weary bones was a pre-ordained meeting place. It was providence that led the patriarch to lie down and rest at the place that later became called Bethel, the house of God. The Lord appeared unto Jacob that night in a dream. God spoke to Jacob and made promises to him that were not conditioned at all.
“And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” Gen 28:13-15
Do you see one “if” or one condition in this promise? Was God’s goodness to Jacob conditioned upon something? Obviously, Jacob did not understand or grasp this. When he awoke, Jacob tried to drive a bargain with God.
“And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” Gen 28:20-22
Often, a vow is made by the Jacob spirit in us. We feel that we must bargain a blessing out of God. You will never really serve God if you are busy bargaining with Him. We need to quit listening to the flesh and hear the voice of God! God blesses you not because you drive a good bargain, but because He loves you and He is the source of every good and perfect gift. Quit thinking that you are responsible for your blessing and accept that your blessing is due to the gracious nature of our wonderful God!
The second attitude causes one to neglect their opportunities and bury God’s gifts instead of using them. In the parable of the talents, what did the slothful servant say?
“Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.” Matt 25:24-25
When one’s attitude toward God is that He is unjust or “hard” and that He will cheat you out of your blessing, one tends to become slothful. Rather than use our talent or our gifts, we tend to be overly protective. In so doing we fail to recognize the source of those gifts. They came from God and He expects you to use them to bless others and to develop the gifts He gives you.
We must avoid the errors of misunderstanding God’s goodness. You don’t have to bargain with God to receive His blessing and His goodness. He wants to bless you and to bring you good gifts. He gives you these gifts so that they can be a blessing to others as well as to yourself.
“Do not err, my beloved brethren.” James 1:16