“So, what do you want to hear first, the good news or the bad news?” This is a question we frequently hear in life, and even though good news may follow… it can be completely overshadowed by fear of the bad news still to come. I often catch myself after hearing the good news saying, “Yeah, but what is the bad news?” Honestly, it does not matter how incredible the good news might be… I will always be more concerned about the potentially bad news. Perhaps this is just how humans operate; we believe the possibility of the good news outweighing the bad is slim to none. When this happens, we degrade entirely what was meant to be good, maybe even great news! The “yeah, but…” mindset can creep into our spiritual lives if we are not vigilant.
The most intriguing and misunderstood pages in all the Bible are between Genesis and Exodus and Malachi and Matthew. The gaps of time between these books are around 400 years, and a lot can happen in that amount of time. Just for reference, the United States of America is almost 245 years old this coming July. Even though a lot has happened in that amount of time, think about all that will occur in the next 155 years till we reach our 400th anniversary. At the end of Genesis, Joseph has saved millions upon millions of lives and has prepared the Israelites to prosper for years to come. However, within the first chapter of Exodus though, God’s People are in Egyptian bondage. At the end of Malachi, there is no such thing as a Pharisee or a Sadducee, but by the time the Gospels were written, they dominate much of the narrative.
The people of God were awaiting good news in both of these examples, and God was “silent” during these periods. To our knowledge, there were no prophets, no miracles, and no communications from above. All God’s people could do was wait. Wait for God to answer their prayers, to save them from the state they were in, and to deliver them. When deliverance finally did arrive, though, both times, it was received with a “yeah, but…” attitude.
God spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:7-8, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey…” Surely after 400 years of silence from God and slavery from the Egyptians, Moses began leaping for joy, shouting glory to God, and weeping over God’s love for His people. Not even close. Moses proceeds to “yeah, but…” five times before heeding the voice of the Lord. “Yeah, but who am I (Exodus 3:11)? Yeah, but what do I tell others (Exodus 3:13)? Yeah, but what if they do not believe me (Exodus 4:1)? Yeah, but I am not a good speaker (Exodus 4:10). Yeah, but someone else would be better than me (Exodus 4:13).” This was the greatest news in the history of the Israelite people to this point, but because of the potential bad… Moses completely missed the good.
God spoke to the multitudes during the ministry of Jesus, proclaiming salvation and deliverance. The Messiah who they were waiting on was there in front of their eyes. God had come in the flesh to redeem mankind from their sins. Undisputable miracles and wonders were happening before their presence. Prophecies were being fulfilled. Surely after 400 years of silence from God and bondage during the intertestamental period, the crowds were leaping for joy, shouting glory to God, and weeping over God’s love for His people. Sadly, again… not even close. “Yeah, but He’s from Nazareth… Yeah, but He’s the carpenter’s son… Yeah, but He’s not a warrior… Yeah, but He hangs out with sinners… Yeah, but He deserves to be crucified.” Even though they could not rightfully deny this was the Son of God, they did anyway, and because of this, they rejected the greatest news in the history of mankind.
The saddest part about all of this is we are not too different than Moses or the Pharisees. We have been given the blessing of seeing the complete picture. God is not silent in our lives, “God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…” Hebrews 1:1-2a. We are not waiting to be delivered; He has already done everything possible on His end to save us from the state we are in. Even with all of that, we still respond with a “yeah, but…” mentality. “Yeah, but what if I don’t have time to assemble with the saints? Yeah, but what if I don’t want to give up this way of living? Yeah, but what if I have to miss out on all these other things? Yeah, but what if living a Christian life is just too hard?” I am afraid we miss out on the greatest news of our lifetime because of the potential for bad.
When it comes to the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ, there is no potential for bad. There is nothing but the promise of all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3), the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), salvation (2 Timothy 2:10), no condemnation (Romans 8:1), new life (2 Corinthians 5:17), and eternal life (1 John 5:11). It is because of this we can say, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16. This Good News is and always will be… GOOD!!! God is GOOD, all the time!!!
-Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism