A HEALTHY VIEW OF AFFLICTIONS FOR WE CHRISTIANS
Scripture: Psalm 119:67, 71-72
Main Theme: In the times we live in, many view afflictions through the eyes of the world. However, as a Christian, we must view all things through the eyes of God, not the world. Therefore, let us look at what God is telling us in these simple verses.
- AFFLICTIONS HUMBLE US Psalm 119:67
- “Before I was afflicted”
- As we look at the preceding verses, we see that the psalmist speaks of how God has dealt well with him, and how he desires for God to teach him “good judgment and knowledge:” which reveals the desire in the heart of the psalmist. Having said that, he knows reveals how God has done to him exactly what he has asked, and it is through the avenue of afflictions.
- Notice that he says in verse sixty-seven, “Before I was afflicted”, which reveals that prior to what he says next, he was not afflicted. Now he is being afflicted, and he now tells us why. “I went astray:”, being the cause of his afflictions. As we continue to read in a few moments, we will see how God taught him what he had asked God to do, but first let us think about the fact that he says he “went astray:”, which means he fell into sin.
- Many of us do the same as the psalmist, at times when it seems that all goes well, we sometimes get so busy in life that we fall into sin because we have not spent time alone with God, in prayer and in His Word.
- Also keep in mind that the psalmist says “I” went astray, meaning that it was his own personal decision to go astray. We can never say that God was the one causing us to go astray, and the psalmist knew this as well. Take time to read Psalm 51:3-4, and you will see that King David blames no person for his fall but himself. The main problem in society today is that people play the “blame game”, but don’t think it originatied with you, it started in the garden of Eden, as Adam blamed Eve, then Eve blamed the serpent for their fall. However, it is necessary that we as Christians acknowledge that the reason for our going astray will stare at us in the mirror if we only take time to reflect on our situation.
- AFFLICTIONS TEACH US Psalm 119:71
- Why I need afflictions?
- Notice in verse seventy-one that the psalmist says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes.” Did you notice carefully what he is saying? He is glad for the afflictions because it taught him lessons about God’s Word that he would not have learned in any other way.
- Sometimes in life, we pray, and God grants our prayers, but at other times His purpose in granting our prayer is that He wants to teach us a valuable lesson. Sometimes our prayers are not really based on the will of God, but on our own personal will. In Proverbs 3:5-7 we are told, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” I think it important to note here that if we are not following God’s divine will, and completely trusting Him, then we are going to do things which are evil, being sinful.
- Whenever we choose to do evil, to sin, that sin is against God (Psalm 51:4), and if you are one of His children, then He is going to discipline us (Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:6-8), but His discipline is for the purpose of correcting us. This is why the psalmist said that it “is good for me that I have been afflicted;” because then he learned that the Word of God is always best, and that during the course of affliction, he had learned this most valuable lesson. And so it should be for us. The sooner we learn the lesson, the sooner the affliction can end, at least for what we have been guilty of at that time. There is not a one of us who are perfect and without sin, that will at some time fall again. That fall may not be as great, but until we as Christians are with Jesus in heaven, we are going to have those times. But because of the purpose of afflictions, we will be less likely to fall in the same manner because we, or at least I don’t, forget those times of chastisement from God.
- Therefore keep in mind that afflictions are to both teach us lessons, and bring us back into fellowship with God.
- AFFLICTIONS REMIND US Psalm 119:72
- We are reminded of how precious God’s Word is
- The psalmist finally says, “The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” In other words, he is saying that the Word of God is priceless to him, because of the lessons it teaches him. Following the Word of God is the true way one can have a truly rewarding life. Things in this life may not always be mountaintop experiences, but because of afflictions, those times in the valley, those mountaintop experiences are even more joyful.
- One last verse of Scripture in closing, being from this same Psalm, found in verse fifty. Read carefully what the psalmist says, “This is my comfort in my affliction: for Thy Word hath quickened me.” Why is this such an important verse? In my personal experience, when I have found myself in the valley of sin, everything seemed to take from my life, making me feel awful. However, as the psalmist reveals here, God uses His Word to Quicken us, to make us feel alive again, to revive us, knowing that by following His Word, obeying His commands, our life is going to change for the better, in our fellowship between Himself and us. His Words are commands because He does not give us “suggestions” to choose what to follow, or the right to not follow certain commands.
- A FINAL WORD
- One final note on the subject of afflictions. We are all going to go through afflictions. While in the midst of afflictions, most of us have seldom ever in the past considered what God has shown me, as I have now just shared with you, how we are to view afflictions. Having now saw afflictions from a Biblical perspective, we now have the opportunity to rejoice regardless of what may happen to us in this life. Three other Scriptures that I encourage you to read are found in 2 Corinthians 8:2, 2 Corinthians 11:23-43, and finally 2 Corinthians 12:5-12. These verses will serve as words of encouragement to us one and all. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, just remember that one day our afflictions and struggles will be over in this life and that we will be in the presence of The One True and Only God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel), forever and ever. If we will always keep this in mind, and if need be, from time to time look over this message as a reminder of God’s purpose in afflictions, and read the Scriptures you find mentioned in this message, then you will see that your life will be the better for it. May God Bless you one and all to whom God calls His children.