God won’t withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly.

Psalm 84:11…the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Is there something you think is good that God is withholding from you? Or something you’d like God to take from you? The psalm says God won’t withhold good from the upright, so are you upright? If you’re not upright then this promise isn’t for you. Think about all that Jesus suffered – was beaten, stabbed in his side with a sword, and crucified. Does that seem good? It turned out to be the best thing for the world. We wouldn’t have salvation unless he had been willing to suffer and die for our sins. All that live godly will suffer persecution (II Timothy 3:12). None of us like hard trials or difficult things in our life. We often think things are bad, but God uses those circumstances for good. Our definition of good and bad are not the same as God’s. Was what Job suffered bad? God took everything he had and proved Job’s faithfulness. The devil said Job would curse God, but Job proved it wasn’t true. He trusted God and learned to walk by faith, not by sight. At first Job was walking by his feelings. He said he looked every place but couldn’t find God. Then he said he knew he would come forth as gold and his steps would not decline from God’s way (Job 23:8-10). God let Job be tested to prove Job’s contentment was not in things. When things are taken away, God is testing our love and if we trust him.

Things were terrible when Paul was in prison – no bathroom, no bed, no air conditioning, and no food unless friends brought it. Things worked for good because everyone in the palace heard and brethren grew bold to preach without fear.

Philippians 1:12-14…ye should understand…things which happened unto me have fallen…unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest…And many…waxing confident…to speak the word without fear.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…called according to his purpose.

Paul learned to be content in every situation. God wants us to learn that our contentment is not in whatever things are going our way or not, not in physical things or conditions. Our contentment is in God. Paul said he could do all things through the strength and grace of God. Paul and Silas cast a spirit of divination out of a young woman. Her master could no longer use her to make money. He got the rulers to put them in jail after they tore off their clothes, whipped them with a cat o’ nine tails which was designed to cut the skin and cause great pain. They were naked, their backs bleeding, and their feet were put in the stocks in jail. At midnight they were singing and praising God. There was an earthquake, the prison doors opened, and the jailor was going to kill himself. Paul said don’t harm yourself because no one escaped.

Acts 16:22-34 And the multitude rose…against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison…their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake…all the doors were opened…And the keeper of the prison…drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried…Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he… came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas…and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house…And he…was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

The jailer asked them how to be saved. It never would have happened if they were complaining and grumpy. Our attitude in trials is vitally important. We have to learn to be content – to change our attitude. God is longsuffering while we learn. Paul and Silas weren’t thinking about how bad things were. We need to be concerned about praising God in the trial. Do we believe “all things work together for good” when bad things happen to us? Or this is bad so it doesn’t apply to me?

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Did what happened to Joseph seem bad? His brothers sold him to be a slave when he was about 17. Joseph had a good attitude at Potiphar’s house. He took orders and must have had a pleasant attitude. He knew he was in God’s hands and wouldn’t do anything to sin against God. When he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and put in jail, he was about 20 years old and still had a good attitude. He was put in charge of the jail. When seemingly bad things happen, we have to go to the word and say “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Joseph kept a good attitude. For God to use us, we have to keep an attitude of being content, whatever our outward situations are. Things happen that we have no control over, just like Job, Joseph, Paul, and Silas. God wants to get glory by us being content in the hard situations. Joseph saw the bad things that happened to him were from God. We have to see that, and that all things work together for good because we love God. We have to see that what looks bad to us will turn out good.

Genesis 45:1-8 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them…and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said…Come near to me…I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

Joseph was about 30 years old and had to endure a lot of things but knew God was leading him. Joseph’s attitude of contentment and loving God caused his brothers to want him to forgive them. If he’d been grudging or resented them, they never would have changed their attitude. Our attitude can help others want to repent. They won’t change their attitude if we have bad attitudes, bitterness, and selfishness. God’s grace helps and keeps us from getting bitter in trials. Every trial is allowed by God and he has enough grace for us. Joseph kept a good attitude and pleased God all those years.

Genesis 50:15-21 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and…requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants…of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake…his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said…Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good…to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not…And he comforted them, and spake kindly…

Sometimes we don’t see the good God is going to bring because it is after we’re gone. Abraham died before he received the promise. Are we willing to do what God says, whether we see the good from it or not?

Hebrews 11:8-13 By faith Abraham, when he was called…into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed…not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise…dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob…Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive…was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang…so many as the stars of the sky…as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off…

A Levite and his concubine were traveling and stopped for the night in Gibeah of the Benjamites. That night wicked men came to the house and told the master to send the Levite out so they could molest him. They sent the Levite’s concubine out instead and she died from what they did to her. The Levite cut her body in 12 pieces to send to all the tribes. The other tribes of Israel decided they were going to go against the Benjamites because of what the men of Gibeah did to the woman. They didn’t ask God if they should go up against the Benjamites, but only asked what tribe should go first.

Judges 20:1-12 Then all the children of Israel…And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel…four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword. (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.) Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness? And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. And the men of Gibeah…beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me: and my concubine have they forced, that she is dead. And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country …of Israel: for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel. Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel. And all the people arose as one man, saying…this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it; And we will take ten men of an hundred…of Israel, and an hundred of a thousand…that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought…So all the men of Israel…sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is done among you?

The tribes of Israel were proud and thought they were strong, so didn’t seek God’s direction for the first two battles. They’d already made up their minds to go against Benjamin. Before they went against the Benjamites the third day, they wept and fasted with peace offerings as they asked God if they should go. It’s important how we ask God. If we already have our mind made up about what we want, God may answer but it won’t be for our good. The Israelites pleaded for quail and God gave their request but sent leanness to their souls. We need to be humble and really seek to know what he wants us to do. The Israelites won the battle when they sought God humbly. All things will work for good when our heart is right.

Judges 20:13-35 Now therefore deliver us the men…of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken…Benjamin gathered themselves…against the children of Israel. And…were numbered at that time…twenty and six thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men…And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword…Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up first…Israel went out to battle against Benjamin…And the children of Benjamin…destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites…twenty and two thousand men. And…Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array…(And the children of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until even, and asked counsel of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the Lord said, Go up against him.) And…Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. And Benjamin went forth…the second day, and destroyed…of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword. Then all the children of Israel…came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And the children of Israel enquired of the Lord…And Phinehas… stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the Lord said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand. And Israel set liers in wait round about Gibeah. And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day…Benjamin went out…and they began to smite of the people…about thirty men of Israel. And…said, They are smitten down before us, as at the first. But…Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them from the city unto the highways…and the liers in wait of Israel came forth out of their places …there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore…the Lord smote Benjamin …Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men: all these drew the sword.

(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)