Greetings Fredonia Hill Family,
I pray you have been as blessed as I have in the reading of Psalm 119. Each day has been significant as the Holy Spirit has highlighted the Psalmists absolute love for the Lord and his commandments.
I have certainly been challenged as it seems like in each section the Psalmists is speaking of how much he loves being obedient to God’s law. His constant request is to know God in a deeper way in order to live by His commandments more fully.
I was particularly struck by the reading from October 20. Take a look at Psalm 119:67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” Look also at Psalm 119: 71-72, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”
Let’s start off by clarifying what he is NOT saying. He is NOT saying that affliction is better than times when we aren’t being afflicted. He’s not recommending, as some may say, that we are to be constantly afflicted as that is the only way to truly walk after Christ. However, he is making a statement about affliction and the power it has to draw us near to the Lord if we so allow.
Take another look at verse 71. “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” What could possibly be good about affliction? The short answer is nothing. There is nothing about being afflicted that is better or worse than not being afflicted. The key in understanding this passage is understanding the goodness of a God who would allow affliction that we might know Him more.
A verse that I lean on heavily comes out of Romans 8:28. It says, “all things work together for the good of those who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” From this passage and from the story of Job we know that nothing can come into our lives without first passing through the approval of God and His goodness. For the believer, all things are allowed by His goodness and He never allows anything in our lives which we cannot, by His power, withstand.
So what we read from the Psalmist is his recognition of the goodness of God in the midst of his affliction. The Psalmist knows the goodness of the affliction comes from the God who allowed it into his life.
It is in these seasons of momentary affliction that we find out where our true substance lies. It’s in these moments that we know what things we hold the most dear. If you’re enduring a season of affliction right now, my prayer is that you would find peace in the one who allowed it. It has not come because you have done something wrong or because God is mad at you. It has come because of quite the opposite - He loves you. It’s in His great love and goodness that He allows circumstances to occur which stretch and pull us. His desire is that in those moments we might know Him in a deeper and more intimate way. This is the gift of affliction. At the end, we realize how deeply rewarding it is to know Him more.
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