WORD STUDY – THE TUNING FORK טוב
Psalms 25:8: “Good and upright [is] the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.”
There was a time some years ago we had a “God is good” explosion. All over Christian television you kept hearing “God is good,” It seemed in every church and church service we were singing that chorus “God is so good He is so good to me.” I don’t know about you but when I hear that someone is good, I think of someone who is kind, moral, and deceit. You know, sort of average. Even in our English language we have good, better best with good being the lowest on the totem pole. When I was in grammar school our grading system ran U = Unsatisfactory, F =Fair, G = Good, E = Excellent and S = Superior. Good was average, somewhere between Superior and Unsatisfactory.
I recall hearing over and over Proverbs 18:22: “[Whoso] findeth a wife findeth a good [thing], and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” I kept thinking of my understanding of good and thought finding a wife wasn’t so bad, it was decent. Of course it was just good, not the greatest. Sort of like finding a decent used car.
But come on, when we talk of God we are not talking average, passable, deceit, we are talking of the greatest, the ultimate, the most wonderful. I hardly apply the word good to God. But that is what the Bible says: “God is just good.” He was the Good, not the Excellent, not the Superior, but at least not the Fair or Unsatisfactory.
All throughout the Old Testament everything was just good. The world was created as good, animals were good, man was good. In English, however, that means average, that there was something better out there.
So here we are once again in Psalms 25:8 confronted with the knowledge that God is just good and upright, you know average. If we look at that word good in the Hebrew lexicon what we find is that it is the word tov and your lexicon tells you it means good, pleasant, and agreeable. Again, that is pretty much average, nothing really special.
Yet, the context that the word good is always used in when you read the Bible is that it is making a reference to something really valuable, special, unique, wonderful. I don’t get that from the word good. One day I was reading in Jewish literature where a rabbi once wrote that when you take all the renderings of the word tov, which we regularly plug in the English word good, not only in Scripture but in extra Biblical literature we find that at the very core of the word tov we have the idea of something musical, something that is in tune or in harmony.
Now that will move the word tov or good out of the realm of opinion. I mean you can eat a hamburger and say it is good. Someone else may declare it excellent, another would say superior and possibly someone else would call it fair or unsatisfactory. It comes down to a matter of individual taste or opinion. But something that is out of harmony or in harmony, out of tune or in tune can be scientifically measured and it is not a matter of taste or opinion, it is usually a fact. To be sure some have a greater sensitivity to something being in tune, but we all can grasp something that is in tune or out of tune.
When we apply the words in harmony to tov rather than good we find that it will make much more sense. When God created the world he found that it was in harmony with Him. When man finds a wife he finds someone who can bring him in harmony with God. When we say God is good we say that He is the harmonizer. He is the one who brings everything thing into harmony. He is the Tuning Fork by which everything is measured.
So we learn in Psalms 25:8 that God is that great Tuning Fork and He is upright. The word upright in Hebrew is yashar which means to be straight, level,or correct. When a piano is perfectly tuned it is correct. God is not only the ultimate Tuning Fork by which all creation is measure, but if you are in tune with God then all you do and say is correct. If God is yashar upright then all He does and says is correct.
Being good and upright will not get you into heaven. Being in tune with God so you do the correct thing is what will get you into heaven for you will be another harmonious instrument in the kingdom. An orchestra has many different instruments playing at the same time. Do you ever listen to an orchestra tuning up? It is not at all in harmony and sounds horrible until they all come in tune and harmonize and then begin to play as one. If just one instrument is out of tune, it will throw the whole orchestra off and create an unpleasant sound. Heaven will be a mighty orchestra with everyone in tune with the Master Tuning Fork. This Master Tuning Fork died, shed His blood so that He could bring everyone into harmony with Him, Without that Master Tuning Fork one will be out of harmony and there is no place in the orchestra of heaven for someone who is out of tune. Only Jesus Christ can make you tov, good or in tune with Him.
Only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Master Tuning Fork, and allowing Him to tune you to be in harmony with Him can you belong in that great orchestra hall that we call heaven.