The Goodness of God in a Rapidly Changing World
“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.” (Psalm 73:28, NASB)
Everywhere we turn today in society, businesses and marketing campaigns are trying to tell us what we need or what is good for us –what will improve our lives, or what the key is for us in our family, our personal life, or our workplace. Innovation is at an unprecedented peak, as new technologies make it possible to do nearly everything from the comfort of our own home: shop for groceries, see a doctor, attend a business meeting, or participate in worldwide events.
In the changing nature of the times we are living in, a common denominator in all the opportunities available at our fingertips is this: the notion declared to us daily from a thousand directions, that you should do what is good for you in order to be happy, fulfilled, and cared for.
But what is our measurement by which we determine what is good for us?
The biblical figure Asaph, a Levite who was appointed by King David as the chief minister in the Tabernacle (1 Chronicles16:5), penned the words of Psalm 73 in which he declared, “The nearness of God is my good.”
In the accelerating technological world in which we live, it is so easy to quickly run off to pursue a thousand things that we think are good for us. And though they may not be innately harmful(they might actually be helpful), they could be based on the wrong system of measurement.
Long before e-commerce, unlimited data plans, and global streaming platforms were even a thought, the writer of Ecclesiastes (widely believed to be Solomon), who had everything imaginable in the known world at his disposal, came to this conclusion:
“Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6, NKJV)
This stands directly in contradiction with much of the messaging of the 21st century, which would have us believe that we must continue straining for more in order to be satisfied. But there will always be a faster delivery system, a more profitable online business technique, or a more comprehensive software package to make our lives more efficient or effective. Where does it all end?
If we find ourselves chasing after these things as the source of our good, we will indeed be chasing after the wind.
What could it mean for us today to have a “handful with quietness”?
Most of us would acknowledge that literally almost NOTHING is quiet in our society today. After all, how could something possibly be good for us if it is not capable of producing the sound of an auditory reminder?
But perhaps instead of only focusing on speeding up our ability to accomplish more in the time we have available, we need to remember more often to step outside the technology race to find the things that are timeless. Maybe it’s a morning apart from our phones or an evening with no music streaming in the house, or meeting with a friend in person for coffee instead of having a Facebook or Instagram conversation. Whatever it looks like, we might have to make a value-based decision that a handful with quietness is better than two hands full, but it will be totally worth it.
Let’s remind ourselves, with the Levite Asaph, that in all these things the nearness of God in our lives is our good–and not just some of our good, but the entire sum of it. Without God’s nearness, all the other things that we may secure for ourselves–no matter how loudly they speak or how effectively they perform –will leave us with both hands empty instead of both hands full.
As David wrote in Psalm 16, may we echo this truth in our own lives:
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”(Psalm 16:2, NIV)
God just might be in the quietness more than we could have ever dreamed. It’s time to start asking ourselves not just what is good for us, but where we can find the greatest good. It might look a lot different –but infinitely better –than all that the world has to offer.
“I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” (Psalm 16:2, NIV)