Give Thanks to the Lord, For He is Good


“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!”
(1 Chronicles 16:34)

Read: 1 Chronicles 16

The Lord is good, and he is good all the time. He is not good in a subjective sense, as if our feelings, opinions, or circumstances cause God to be more or less good. Through times of trouble or through times of joy, God is objectively good.

As was the case with David and the people of Israel in 1 Chronicles 16, we are much more likely to remember this simple truth in times of joy. After many years of being hunted by Saul, David was officially established as king of Israel. God had consistently given Israel victory after victory over the Philistines, and after an initial fumble over how they viewed and treated the Ark of the Covenant and some subsequent judgment because of it, it was now time for God’s throne on earth to be established in the midst of his people in Zion. Prosperity, peace, and—most importantly—God’s presence with his people would be the mark of David’s reign. No more having to pack up and move the Tabernacle every time God required Israel to change geographic locations.

As God promised, he had given Israel the land and, despite their rejection of him as King over them, he gave them a godly king in David. Now was the time for the tent of Yahweh to be fixed in the land as well. What an occasion for celebration! What a time for not just David or the tribe of Judah to rejoice, but for all of Israel to praise God for what he has done and how he had blessed his people. To praise him for his covenant! To praise him for how he protected the people in their wandering! To praise him for his salvation! To praise him for his strength and splendor and holiness! And to tell everyone who will listen!

Here is where the critic, or even the person currently suffering, might say, “Of course they think God is good. It seems like he’s blessing them.” They’d have the same accusation as Satan did of Job at the beginning of his book (Job 1:9-11). But do you know the context of 1 Chronicles? On the surface it seems like it’s a condensed retelling of the events covered in 2 Samuel—but it isn’t. First and second Chronicles were written after the Babylonian exile, probably by Ezra, who wrote this account to encourage the exiles who were returning to Jerusalem.

At the time of the writing and initial reading of this passage, Jerusalem is a burnt-out husk of a city, the people themselves having been whittled down to almost nothing. There is no Temple, no homes for the people to live, and there certainly doesn’t seem like there is much cause for thanksgiving or rejoicing. Yes, the people are returning to their homeland, and so there is a tiny sliver of positivity, but what are they returning to? There’s a lot of uncertainty. There are probably a lot of questions and doubts that are running around in the people’s heads: Is God still with his people? Will Israel be preserved? Will this new building project succeed and will God once again dwell with his people? Is God good?

In writing this account, Ezra is reminding his fellow kinsmen of Yahweh that yes, the Lord is good, and that they should praise and thank him for his goodness. Despite the decades away from the land, under the heel of a wicked nation, and being under God’s discipline, God is, has been, and always will be good (Exod 33:19; Ps 106:1). Our present situation, our geographical contexts, our doubts, and everything in between cannot and do not change the Lord’s goodness. Give thanks to the Lord that he is good! Give thanks to the Lord that all he does is good (Ps 145:17)! Give thanks to the Lord that he is working everything together for an ultimate good. ! And, if you are in Christ, give thanks to the Lord that he is working all things out in your life for your good (Rom 8:28)! Take some time today, no matter your current state or season, to give a simple and yet heartfelt thanks to the Lord, for he is good and his steadfast love endures forever.

Discuss and Pray Together: Reflect on God’s goodness. Why is it important to remind ourselves that God is always good, especially when things aren’t so good in our lives? Why is it important that we are grateful that he is good? Finish by lifting up a prayer of thanksgiving as a family to God for his goodness.     

Related Articles