“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” (Isaiah 40:29)
The word benevolence can have dark connotations: we use it in the phrase “benevolence fund,” where resources are set aside for catastrophes. But we should rehabilitate the word. Literally it means “wishing someone well.” If I am benevolent toward you, I want good for you, feel affection for you.
Perhaps this makes God sound too avuncular. It may remind us of caricatures that present His love falsely to make Him seem unconcerned about holiness, a kindly duffer who simply smiles on us all. That, of course, misses Him completely.
But in His benevolence God does desire good for all His creation. All who end in hell will do so contrary to His good plan for their lives. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance!
There’s another truth about God’s benevolence: He delights in His children. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Scripture suggests He’s not stingy, but wants to pour out good on us! Few things delight me more than giving good gifts to my sons — how much more does our perfect Father want to give us good!
O give to every human heart
To taste, and feel, how GOOD thou art;
With grateful love, and reverend fear,
To know how blest thy children are. (Philip Doddridge)
God’s benevolence enriches our lives now as we live in His Kingdom.
Originally published in the God’s Bible School & College Ministry Library.