Genesis 32:12; Judges 6:13
I will surely do thee good.
And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Gideon said, “If God be with us, why then is all this evil befallen us?” And Jacob said, “All these things are against me.” In an agreeable mansion, and enjoying all the comforts of life, no difficulty may be felt from the language of God; but what is Joseph in prison, what is Job among the ashes—what is he who says, ‘All the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning’—what is he to make of the promise, “I will surely do thee good.”
THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): God is to be trusted when His providences seem to run contrary to His promises.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The high favourites of heaven are sometimes to be located in queer and unexpected places. Joseph in prison, the descendants of Abraham labouring in the brick-kilns of Egypt, Daniel in the lions’ den, Jonah in the great fish’s belly, Paul clinging to a spar in the sea, forcibly illustrate this principle.
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): Learn to believe Christ better than His strokes; Himself, and His promises better than His glooms―“For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,” Romans 8:28―ergo, shipwreck, losses, etc., all work together for the good of them that love God: hence I infer, that losses, disappointments, ill tongues, loss of friends, houses, or country, are God’s workmen, set on to work out good to you, out of everything that befalleth you.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The very things that have seemed most unfavorable to God’s people have often turned out to be for their good. What harm did the persecution do to the church of Christ after Stephen’s death? Those who were scattered “preached the word wherever they went,” Acts 8:4. What harm did imprisonment do Paul? It gave him time to write many of those letters which are now read all over the world. What real harm did the persecution of bloody Mary do to the cause of the English Reformation? The blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church. What harm does persecution do the people of God at this very day? It only drives them nearer to Christ: it only makes them cling more closely to the throne of grace, the Bible, and prayer.
WILLIAM JAY: Let us believe the truth of this declaration—I will surely do thee good. There are four steps by which we may reach the conclusion:
The first regards His sufficiency. He is able to do us good. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. There is no enemy but He can conquer, nor exigency but He can relieve. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.
The second step regards His inclination. He is disposed to do us good. His love is not only real, but passes knowledge. He feels towards us as His jewels, His friends, His children, His bride. He rests in His love, and joys over us with singing.
R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Be familiar with this precious thought, that God decrees the little as well as the great things of His providence; and that all His decrees are those of love to His people. If we judge not God’s character by His providences, but His providences by His character, we shall be able to rejoice when the flesh would repine.
WILLIAM JAY: The third step regards His engagement. He is bound to do us good. We have not only His Word, but His oath; an oath sworn by Himself, because He could swear by no greater, and confirmed by the blood of an infinite sacrifice.
WILLIAM GREENHILL (1591-1677): He is a God that cannot lie, He is Truth, speaks truth, and not one of His promises can, or shall fail.
WILLIAM JAY: The fourth step regards His conduct. He has done us good. We have had complaints enough to make of others, but of Him we are compelled to say, “Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord.” His goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our lives. How often has He turned the shadow of death into the morning?
MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Former experiences of God’s goodness in delivering us out of troubles ought to increase our faith.
A. B. JACK (Unknown): We are all very apt to believe in Providence when we get our own way; but when things go awry, we think, if there is a God, He is in heaven and not upon the earth.
The cricket, in the spring, builds his house in the meadow, and chirps for joy because all is going so well with him. But when he hears the sound of the plough a few furrows off, and the thunder of the oxen’s tread, then his sky begins to darken, his young heart fails him. By-and-by the plough comes crunching along, turns his dwelling bottom-side up, and as he goes rolling over and over, without a house and without a home, “Oh,” he says, “the foundations of the world are breaking up, and everything is hastening to destruction.” But the husbandman, as he walks behind the plough, does he think the foundations of the world are breaking up? No. He is thinking only of the harvest that is to follow in the wake of the plough; and the cricket, if it will but wait, will see the husbandman’s purpose.
My hearers, we are all like crickets. When we get our own way, we are happy and contented. When we are subjected to disappointment, we become the victims of despair.
WILLIAM JAY: We must confide in the judgment of God, and distrust our own. We are short-sighted creatures, and easily imposed upon by appearances, and know not what is good for us in this vain life which we spend as a shadow. But He cannot be mistaken. A wise father will choose far better for his infant, than the infant can choose for himself.
J. C. RYLE: Let all true Christians lay these things to heart, and take courage. We live in a world where all things are ordered by a hand of perfect wisdom, and where in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. The powers of this world are only tools in the hand of God: he is always using them for His own purposes, however little they may be aware of it. They are the instruments by which he is forever cutting and polishing the living stones of his spiritual temple, and all their schemes and plans will only turn to His praise. Let us be patient in days of trouble and darkness, and look forward. The very things which now seem against us are all working together for God’s glory.
JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Trust thou in God; for He is faithful.