Exodus 33:19 ‘Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
Moses was seeking reassurance from the LORD that he would be able to carry out the commission he had been given by Him to lead the people to the land flowing with milk and honey (v 3). The LORD was gracious toward him and promised His Presence would go before him (vs 14, 17).
As a foretaste of His grace and goodness, the LORD showed Himself to Moses (vs 18-23).
In Exodus 34:6 The LORD proclaimed of Himself that He was ‘merciful and gracious’ and that He abounded in ‘goodness and truth’.
So we see this quality of ‘goodness’ is present in the LORD, and of that same ‘goodness’ King David wrote, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:6)’. Goodness, then, emanates from the LORD.
The Old Testament is full of instances where the goodness of the LORD is showered upon His people. Here are three more examples:
“And now, O LORD God, and Your words are true, and you have promised this goodness to Your servant (2 Samuel 7:28).”
‘Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgression; according to Your mercy remember me for Your goodness sake (Psalm 25:7)’.
‘Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour before all nations of the earth, who shall hear the good that I shall do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it (Jeremiah 35:9).’
Only one writer of the New Testament i.e., Paul the Apostle, referred to God’s goodness, and he wrote of the need for believers to do preordained good works: ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).’
The actual noun ‘goodness’ is only mentioned nine times in the New King James version of the Bible, and three of them are in the same passage, i.e., Romans 11:22, which goes as follows: ‘Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.’
Elsewhere in Romans 15:14, Paul wrote: ‘Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.’
In Ephesians 5:9 he explained that ‘the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.’ And of course, there is the all embracing Galatians 5:22 which includes ‘goodness’ as a fruit of the Spirit.
Finally in 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12 he talks of fulfilling ‘the good pleasure’ of God’s ‘goodness’:
‘Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.’
And, so, we can appreciate there is only One who is good (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19), but those in Him by His Spirit (Romans 8:2) are able to reflect His goodness by doing good works.