Blog Post by Rev. Zach Lysdahl 
First United Presbyterian, Collinsville, Illinois

The word “good” is of biblical importance. God, the creator of heaven and earth, uses the word good seven times in Genesis chapter one to describe that which God has made. When something in the Bible is repeated over and over again, it is usually worth paying attention to and is likely to be meaningful and significant. The word good appears many times throughout the Bible and a large cluster of them appear right at the beginning. Clearly, the act of naming things as good is of great significance to God. I’d like to spend a little time with you exploring the word good and the biblical precedent of naming what is good at the end of the day.

The Hebrew word used to express what God communicates about creation in Genesis chapter one is בוֹ֑ט . The word is transliterated as towb. Its meaning is quite simple: beautiful, agreeable, and pleasant.1 As it goes in Genesis chapter one, God would look over what had been created and saw it as good, or as towb. Throughout the creation narrative, at dusk, God would look upon creation and find it agreeable, beautiful, and pleasant. In short, what God created pleased God.

God’s daily naming of the good shows us an essential practice for all Christians. As part of God’s creation, made to be ambassadors and caretakers of creation, participating in God’s loving reign and rule over creation, we name the good we see. To look with gratitude, to gaze with thanksgiving, to survey and mark out all that is beautiful, agreeable, and pleasant.

We, however, must be careful not to confuse the things we do, which we think are good, with the good things God is doing. The distinction might seem inconsequential, but we are prone to conflating our actions with God’s work. If and when we do, we misname a great deal of things as good when they are actually marred by our sin. But the good news is the good has not been totally obliterated, because God remained merciful, forgiving, and loving, upholding everything God has made. In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we, and all of creation are being re-created. God, in Jesus, is making us and everything in the universe good again – agreeable, pleasant, and beautiful to God.

God has set for us the example and that practice has become our charge. We are to name the good God is creating in the world. Notice, in the first chapter of Genesis, how God was short and sweet in describing creation? God used just one word – good. That offers us the freedom to be short and sweet. When you name the good at the close of each day you don’t have to sputter on and on. You call it like God sees it – good.2

Naming the good, the beautiful, the agreeable, and the pleasant is biblical. It is very important to God and how God ended each day. Which means it is important for us too. So, what good are you going to name before you turn in for the night?

Rev. Zach Lysdahl
First United Presbyterian Church
Collinsville, Illinois





2 Philippians 4.8

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