“Teach me good judgement and knowledge for I believe in Your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your Word. You are good and do good-teach me Your statues.
The insolent smear me with lies but with my whole heart I keep Your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat but I delight in Your Law.
It is good for me that I was afflicted that I might learn Your statutes.” Ps 119:68-71
God is giving an example through the Psalmist of the mindset of what a disciple should have: looking and speaking to the guy in the mirror. If that is the case, what is the function of affliction and what should be my reaction and response?
As I grow in the ways of the Lord I realize more and more that a “golden road” perspective of being a Christian isn’t exactly factual; nor should it be expected. In fact, the more I expect a “golden road” the farther from the Truth I roam.
It is biblical truth that God can and does bestow blessings, etc. to us. Everything I have, everything I attain, everything I become can and should be attributed to Him and His Grace alone. My greatest need He has addressed-even when I didn’t know I had such a need. I am redeemed through His decision, action, and grace and mercy alone. I am condemned: He redeemed me; He saved me from His Wrath towards sin and unholiness.
As Sovereign God, He is actively responsible for everything. Everything.
Why then am I so quick to disavow this doctrinal truth, belittle Him and His Attributes and Character, by saying that “afflictions are from the devil” or some sort of “test?” (Note: What in His holy Name would He be testing? He knows our frame, our every thought, our entire being-and that throughout our temporal life through His Eternal Omniscience. I can come up with so many thoughts, explanations, and justifications that do nothing but diminish Him and exalt me. I need to renew my mind!!)
Afflictions and what I am prone to describe as “persecutions” (including anything that detracts from that “golden road” perspective) have (according to the Scriptures) one task-point me in the way of God’s Word, his Statutes, his Law, his Precepts, and (extrapolating this thought) His Presence and knowing Him more.
So, speaking plainly, when “bad” stuff happens to me, I am supposed to draw near and pursue with utter determination God. That is the function of “bad” stuff.
When “good” stuff happens to me, I am supposed to draw near and pursue with utter determination God. That is the function of “good” stuff.
Having incorrect thoughts and attitude about affliction and being treated badly are two things that can lead us astray-they can take my eyes off Jesus and cause my focus to skew thoughts away from God and towards myself.
Father-this year is a year of You speaking and reminding me of the need to “renew my mind” like You say in Romans 12. The more I read, the more I understand that my thinking and reasoning tend to be opposed to Yours. Like the Psalmist says “Teach me good judgement and knowledge”-I want to DELIGHT in Your Law. I want to find solace and peace in Your Law. I want to find the Fruit of Your Spirit by diligently pursuing the wonderful depths of Your Word. AMEN.