When the children of Israel were located east of the Jordan River and were preparing to enter the land of Canaan, Moses charged them, saying,
“And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers” (Deuteronomy 6:18).
What was the path of safety and victory for the Israelites? To “do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord” (Compare similar statements in Deuteronomy 12:25,28; 13:18; 21:9).
We use the word “good” quite freely in our conversations about religious matters. Among other things we speak about “good people,” “good ideas,” “good works,” “good congregations,” “good books,” “good speakers,” and “good leaders.”
The term “good” is frequently used in the Bible, so it is not at all out of place for us to use it in our time. There is, however, the need for great caution. Why? Because it is written, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). The bottom line is this; if God considers something to be “good,” then it is inappropriate for any person to call such “evil.” On the other hand, if God calls something “evil,” then it is not right for you, me, or anyone else to call it “good.”
Sometimes due to emotions or personal feelings, folks mislabel activities or people, calling them “good” or “right” when the Lord doesn’t see them that way at all. Remember His instruction, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25). What looks or feels right or good to us may, in reality, be displeasing to God. Thus, we must not allow our feelings or emotions to cloud our thinking and cause us to overlook or disregard what Jehovah says about a given matter.
In both the Old and New Testament we frequently read God’s instruction about what men must do with that which is good and evil. For instance:
- “Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken” (Amos 5:14,15).
- “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).
- “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21,22).
- “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good” (3 John 11).
Friends, in all matters that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) we must turn to God’s word in order to see what our Lord labels as “good” and “evil.” Let us give serious heed to what God told His people through Moses: “… do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:18).
Yes, it is extremely popular in our time for men to “call ’em like THEY see ’em” without regard to what God has to say. However God’s children march to the beat of a different drum! Let us set our hearts to live and die by what Jehovah calls “right and good.” Why? Because although our Lord has not promised Christians a literal land of Canaan as He did the Israelites, there is an eternal, heavenly rest that awaits those who do what is “right and good” in His sight.
Roger D. Campbell