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Looking upon the Goodness of God in the Land of the Living

“I believe I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of living!” Psalm 27:13

How about you? What are you expecting in 2017?

Psalm 27 can serve us as we consider the year to come. The psalm describes David’s ambition (27:1–6) and David’s expectation (27:7–14). Last week we considered David’s sole ambition in Psalm 27:4. This week it would serve us to consider his expectation in 27:13.

As the first half of the Psalm describes David’s resolve to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord with the people of God, so the second half of the Psalm describes David’s expectation that he will “look upon the goodness of God.” This perspective fuels both his admiration of God and affection for God. This holy expectation shapes David’s view of his future and is meant to inform our expectations about our futures as well. If you are a Christian, there is no better way to enter 2017 than to adopt David’s ambition to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord” (27:4) with the people of God. This way, you will enter the new year confident that you will “look upon the goodness of God in the land of the living” (27:13).

And this is particularly important if your 2016 was marked by trial and suffering. Even if your circumstances seem to mock Romans 8:28, Psalm 27 outlines a theologically-informed response. Because God is gracious and generous, every Christian can expect to experience the goodness of God in differing forms in 2017.

In fact, even in the midst of trial and suffering, every Christian is experiencing the goodness of God in some form today. Often we don’t discern these undeserved expressions of God’s goodness. Or perhaps we simply take them for granted. We need to be train ourselves to discern them, to be amazed by them, and to respond to God with gratefulness for them.

In his book Knowing God, J.I. Packer exhorts us to train ourselves to perceive the goodness of God in our lives with these words:

“Appreciate the goodness of God. Count your blessings. Learn not to take natural benefits, endowments and pleasures for granted; learn to thank God for them all…every meal, every pleasure, every possession, every bit of sun, every night’s sleep, every moment of health and safety, everything else that sustains and enriches life, is a divine gift. And how abundant these gifts are!”
(Packer, Knowing God, 162)

They are abundant. Just look around your life right now. They are there, “sustaining and enriching” your life.

And how much easier it is for us than for David to wait, as we expect to look upon the goodness of the Lord. We have it better than David—much better—for we have seen the goodness of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

In 2017, may we join David, adopting his ambition in relation to God and his expectation to look upon the goodness of God.

This post is adapted from a sermon I preached at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville entitled, “A New Year’s Expectation.”