No Good Apart from God

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 

Psalm 16:2

Genesis 2 showcases the abundant love that God poured out on Adam. 

Along with the breath of life, God provided the garden as a home (2:8). He provided plentiful good food (2:9). He gave Adam the meaningful work of tending the garden and naming every living creature (2:15, 2:19-20). After declaring “it is not good that the man should be alone,” God provided a companion to work with Adam (2:18-22). In his great love, God gave him instructions on how to live in peace, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (2:16-17). The greatest good God provided Adam, however, was simply himself.

Yet despite all the good God gave Adam, a simple but destructive lie undermined it all. The serpent appeared and promised there’s more good available beyond what God had provided. And it could be theirs. All they had to do was take a bite. 

“You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (3:4-5)

The lie that there was good available apart from God was planted and would become the root of much sin and destruction in our world. 

The serpent promised Adam and Eve they could be like God. As they took that bite, their eyes were opened to their sin and shame rushed in. Just like in the garden, the serpent is still at work in the world tempting us with an endless supply of “good” things apart from God. But each time he promises something big, he only delivers destruction. 

With pornography, lust, and sexual sin, he promises intimacy, but instead destroys relationships and leaves us further isolated.

With social media, he promises attention and acceptance, but instead leaves us feeling less accepted with each passing minute between likes. 

With wealth, he promises security, but instead leaves us more insecure about whether we have enough money.

With power, he promises control and significance, but instead leaves us full of worry and anxiety.

With drugs and alcohol, he promises freedom and escape, but instead destroys lives and leaves us further enslaved.

The list could go on. Only through God are we promised and given what is truly good. As David wrote, “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10)

Believing there is good apart from God leads us to doubt God in two ways. First, we doubt his goodness and therefore seek our own good elsewhere. The problem with this is in our own wisdom we have no idea what is truly good, especially from an eternal perspective. 

Second, when we wrongly believe that God hides good from us we begin to doubt his character. But through the cross we see God’s character fully revealed as he doesn’t even withhold his only Son from us. He willingly crushed Jesus, his perfect Son, to accomplish our ultimate good (Isaiah 53:10). Since God did not withhold his best – Jesus – from us, he will not withhold any other good thing from us either. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) 

So instead of stumbling through life in your own way, with your own wisdom, and for your own purposes, seek your good in God. Say, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” (Psalm 16:2) 

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