Key Verse: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
Two pieces of Irish silverware have been preserved for centuries which give us a glimpse into the history of deity worship. The Gundestrup Cauldron was fashioned around 100 years before the birth of Christ and depicts gods eating and cooking human beings, demanding appeasement from torturous human sacrifice. The second item, the Ardagh Chalice, was created over 700 years after Christ had walked the earth and Ireland had become a somewhat Christian nation. Its design is simple and elegant, and speaks of peace and love. When Christians drink communion from this cup, they are reminded that God sacrificed his body for us and not the other way round. Our God is good.
These two cups show the difference between our God of goodness and love, and every other deities that demand from us. In ancient Israel the people ‘started following after other gods’ such as Baal who made them sacrifice their children to please Baal, but our God made his own beloved son a sacrifice for our sakes. God is good.
Greek and Roman deities followed suit in the same path as Baal, and people sacrificed animals and humans yet again in large dedicated temples to keep them happy. If there was an earthquake, it was because ‘the gods’ were displeased and so they fulfilled the bloodlust they required in a way distorted from the path which God showed the Israelites to cover sins until the Messiah came.
1 John reminds us that ‘God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.’ Everything that is holy, everything that is perfect, everything that is blameless, everything that is fundamentally good is found in God and flows directly from Him. One of the fruits of God’s Spirit who works within us is goodness, as we are transformed into his image by drawing closer to this source of goodness. God is good, all the time, and we can rest in his goodness as it follows us day and night as Psalm 23 declares.