Psalm 31:19 says, “Oh, how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou has wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men.” King David certainly experienced difficult times, but he discovered a precious resource in the goodness of God. In this verse, he passionately says, “Oh, how great is thy goodness!” Unfortunately, it is easy for us to read this phrase in a dispassionate way and completely miss how great God’s goodness truly is.
David explains that part of what makes God’s goodness so great is that it is “laid up.” Many people like to “lay up” money for retirement, an emergency or a special vacation. That is actually a wise thing to do. “Laying up” means having something stored away for when we really need it. It means we have an account from which to draw in troublesome times. God offers such an account full of his goodness. In dark and difficult days, nothing better could be “laid up” for us than the goodness of God.
It is important to point out that there is a password required to access this account of God’s goodness. That password is “the fear of the Lord.” In Psalm 31:19, David explains that this great goodness of God is laid up “for them that fear thee.” To fear God is simply to exhibit a reverential respect for who he is and for his omnipotence. It is to recognize our complete dependence on him. David learned that when we acknowledge that God is everything and that we need him for everything, God has a storehouse of his goodness laid up for us. Those that fear him can draw from this storehouse in their time of need.
David also described the greatness of God’s goodness by saying that it is “wrought.” Webster’s 1828 Dictionary describes “wrought” as “formed by work or labor; as wrought iron.” God’s goodness is not picked up out of the generic, five-dollar gift cart in the center aisle of the discount-shopping mart. God’s goodness is a handmade gift from God himself. Better yet, it is “wrought for them.” It is handmade for us specifically. God knows exactly what goodness we need, and he forms it especially for us by his own hand.
Again, it must be noted that this handmade goodness is for somebody specific. David writes that God’s great goodness is “wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men.” This promise of God’s goodness is for those who place their trust in God instead of in man. When someone chooses to trust in God to meet his needs, God meets those needs with a personalized, handmade portion of his goodness.
No wonder David says, “Oh, how great is thy goodness!”
• The Rev. Timothy Benefield is pastor of Golden Valley Baptist Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.