Divine Goodness Satisfying
by William Nicholson, 1862
"And my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, says the Lord." Jeremiah 31:14
The latter-day glory is predicted by the prophet, a distinguished part of which will be the restoration of the Jews, and their return to the holy land of their fathers. At that future and glorious era, the Divine goodness will be profusely manifested to all his people, whether Jews or Gentiles, so that they "shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of your house, and you shall make them drink of the rivers of your pleasures." Psalm 36:8.
I. An Interesting Subject Stated.The Goodness of God. "My goodness."
The moral attributes of God afford infinite matter for deep and interesting meditation.
His wisdom astonishes and amazes;
his power fills us with awe; but
his goodness attracts and engages our love.
Goodness is an essential property of the Divine nature, and is manifest in the provision which he has made for the happiness of the creatures he has called into existence. He himself claims this attribute, Exodus 34:5. The inspired writers invariably ascribe it to him. Psalm 165:7. It belongs only to him, Matthew 19:17.
It is the delight and glory of Deity, to exercise this perfection of his goodness. He has manifested it, and he still manifests it,
1. In the work of creation, wherein are revealed Variety, Richness, Beauty, and Order.
2. In the government of the world.
Assigning to all his creatures their particular office and station.
Amply providing for all their needs, Psalm 165:7, 8.
Especially by protecting his people from danger.
Restraining the wrath of man.
Producing good out of evil.
3. In the work of redemption.
Pitying guilty man,
devising the plan of salvation,
sending his Son as the Savior,
in the blessings of salvation conferred upon believers . . .
pardon of sin,
peace with God,
adoption into God's family,
eternal life, and glory, etc.
4. In the appointment of the Gospel Ministry, to call men to repentance and faith, etc.
How great then is his goodness! It is infinite! It is the astonishment of Heaven! Faculties more acute than ours cannot conceive it — and tongues, fired by the eloquence of Heaven, cannot declare its magnitude.
II. A Delightful Influence Expressed."My people shall be satisfied with my goodness."
To satisfy means to bestow a sufficient supply of anything desired. A man's appetite is satisfied when he receives an adequate supply of food, Proverbs 6:30. The mind is satisfied when it receives all the comforts, delights, and blessings wished for, Psalm 91:16; 165:16. A godly man is satisfied with Christ and his grace lodged in his heart — his conscience sprinkled with the blood of Christ, etc. Proverbs 14:14.
1. Why does God's goodness satisfy his redeemed people?
(1.) Because God's goodness is adapted to supply all their temporal and spiritual needs. As creatures, God cares for his people. Matthew 6:26.
His providence constantly watches over them.
As sinners, it richly and completely meets their case. They are lost — it provides them a Savior; they are guilty, it provides them with forgiveness, etc. etc.
(2.) Because God's goodness is abundant — boundless! In Christ all fullness dwells. Fullness of light — of liberty — of peace — of comfort and joy — of grace, and strength, and of love.
Earthly things may be valuable, but they seldom abound. The Gospel is an ocean of rich and satisfying bliss — deep, unfathomable, and inexhaustible! It is called "abundant mercy." 1 Peter 1:3. Therefore it will satisfy. Romans 10:12. All who come to this fountain will be supplied. All who feel their need of it are welcomed by God to enjoy it. "Him that comes." John 6:37.
(3.) God's goodness is freely given to the most unworthy. Isaiah 55:1, etc. "Do not be afraid, little flock," etc. It requires no labor of our hands, no costly offerings, no vows, penances, pilgrimages, etc. No, it is, free! The greatest, richest, and most durable blessings in the universe, are free. It must therefore satisfy.
(4.) God's goodness infinitely surpasses all earthly enjoyments in yielding satisfaction. Does wealth, does honor, does sensual indulgence, give real and lasting satisfaction? Listen to the prophet: "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare!" Isaiah 55:2 :2.
The worldly man delights in earthly things and practices, because they gratify his carnal appetites and passions. And such is his caprice, and so unsatisfactory does he find them, that he quickly turns with disgust, from that which he recently sought with eagerness.
But it is the love of Christ which makes the pious experience in the poorest dwelling, and with the scantiest fare — more delight than the wicked have in the highest prosperity. Were this ingredient to be extracted from their comforts, they would feel themselves wretched, though feasted at the table and clothed from the wardrobe of princes.
Nothing but the goodness of God can satisfy the boundless desires of the soul. Gold says, It is not in me! etc
(5.) Because God's goodness is everlasting.
The goodness of man is often as the morning cloud, etc. "All flesh is grass." Isaiah 40:6-8. "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting!" "It endures forever!" God's goodness is unexhausted in its stores, and unwearied in working. This earth, which is so full of his mercy, shall pass away. Time, whose rolling tide spreads its bounty from day to day, shall sink into eternity. But the love of God through Christ, shall fill a nobler sphere with blessings suited to a state of perfection, by a stream ever-flowing and ever full.
2. When are God's people satisfied with his goodness?
(1.) At the time of spiritual conviction. When they become "poor in spirit." When they exclaim, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"
Then are they satisfied with the Savior's blood — with the Physician's skill and healing — with the good Samaritan's oil and wine — with the liberty, peace, and joy given them by the great Ransomer.
Their guilt is removed,
their burden is gone,
their bondage is broken.
They are satisfied.
(2.) At the time of adversity — such as poverty, afflictions, or bereavements.
Adversities are allotted to me by a good God, to deliver me from evil, and to promote my good. The cup is bitter, but he has mingled mercy with it; therefore the operation and the outcome will be good.
His good hand supports me,
his good promises cheer me,
his good presence holds me up.
I am safe.
I am satisfied.
May the will of the Lord be done!
"We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28
(3.) In the time of prosperity.
I am thankful for temporal things; but I value the gifts of your grace more. This wealth, this honor, etc., cannot satisfy me; but your goodness, through Christ, can. I shall soon pass away from these earthly possessions. Others will soon possess them; but your goodness cheers me, satisfies me, because it provides me a more enduring substance — a crown of glory that fades not away.
(4.) In the solemn hour of death. O what will be needed then to make me die happy! How shall I sustain the conflict?
Human possessions — the filthy rags of self-righteousness will be insufficient then. But your infinite goodness — the infinite merits of your Son — the infinite satisfaction he gave to your justice, will satisfy for me, and satisfy me then. Resting on his sacrifice I shall be supported, and made triumphant in death.
(5.) It will forever satisfy in Heaven. "O how great is the goodness which you have laid up for those that fear you," and which shall gild every throne with splendor, and fill every heart with pleasures evermore. "As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake with your likeness."
In Heaven our capacity of enjoyment will far exceed what it is now, and yet it will be abundantly satisfied. Even in this state, the desires of the soul are greater than all the world can satisfy, as proved by the misery of the rich and great, who have no interest in God; and yet our powers have not the expansion of the eternal state. We know but in part — we are in a state of infancy, and our moral capacity is weakened by the remains of indwelling sin. But when we awake in the image of God, all these impediments will be removed.
Our lack of spiritual enjoyment arises also from defective knowledge, the lack of more enlarged and realizing views of celestial things. But in the future state, the soul will forever expand, and yet be forever filled and satisfied from the Fountain of all intelligence.
Here our enjoyments are abridged and interrupted by painful conflicts of various kinds; but when we awake with the Divine likeness, these shall be known no more!
The mystery of God will be finished; and as the finishing of the work of redemption added to the joy of the Church, much more will the consummation of the whole scheme of providence and grace, by the destruction of the last enemy — fill all Heaven with joy and praise. All the comforts of the Gospel here are only the foretaste — heavenly bliss will be the fullness. This is only the seed-time — that will be the harvest.
Our conformity to the image of Christ here, though imperfect, is essential to our salvation, and the necessary medium of all spiritual enjoyment. But when this resemblance shall be complete, in body and soul, and every look and lineament become divine — the joy and satisfaction of the believer will also be complete, and God shall be all in all. "My people shall be satisfied with my goodness!"