Psalm 119: Heth – Lamed; I know that is a weird way of starting this blog entry, but with the 119th Psalm and its construction, I didn’t know of a better way. As we continue reading this Psalm, it is evident by the repetitious words of “statutes, Word, Testimonies, Ordinances and Precepts usage, the focus is the Law -Bible. Repeatedly, the writer makes metaphors to the Law and describes it with various similes. I want to draw attention to the fact that the writer, loves the word of God; he knows that it is “like a two-edged sword” because when he reads it, like a knife it cuts with conviction and truth.
In verses 67, 71 and 75; the word afflicted is used and the writer is pleased to have been afflicted; knowing that his affliction has brought great benefit and restoration with the Lord. This makes a point for every believer; during the good times, we can become lax in meditating and reading the Word of God. In Hebrews 12:4-6 we find that God disciplines those whom He loves. Now I grew up during the time that it was not only right, but expected to correct/punish children and adults for improper behavior. In fact if my neighbors saw me doing something that was wrong [community law] he corrected me and told my dad. Without correction and or discipline, there is a vast amount of unruly children who someday become adults that act just like children, whining and bellyaching about not getting their way. Does this sound all too familiar of our present day culture?
The Psalmist understands that to be admonished, punished, corrected and disciplined was to be loved. We all have heard the phrase – spare the rod hate the child. While there does need to be more firm discipline and correction of obvious bad behavior, the whole point of discipline is to use the correct amount of punishment to bring behaviors back into alignment. I don’t know what the Psalmist did, but whatever it was “he was afflicted by God and he knew it.” Being afflicted can be for various reasons; it may be for wrongful actions, but also may be for strengthening, as was the case for Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 12:9
Verse 75, in faithfulness you have afflicted me. In other words we will find God faithful in executing His responsibilities are our “heavenly Father.” Something I learned, being a parent doesn’t have it limitations. After the children are married and gone with children of their own, I am still just as much a parent to them. The reason for the affliction is found in verse 65 – the child had gone astray – went their own way, as an act of rebellion. The Psalmist knows the Word of God; He knows it is Truth, it is righteous and that it is eternal – it won’t change with the winds of society or culture. There are times when the only way to teach a child a lesson is to allow them to endure hurt or hardship. God does the same to us, He isn’t a tyrant or an evil Father; but there are times when like the Prodigal Son who had to be let go so he could learn just how faithful and loving His Father was. Many believers do not grasp the mercy, grace and goodness of God until they are out in the world on their own – usually in direct disobedience.
Restoration is the purpose of the affliction in this case; having drifted away, the Father “nudges” us back. Obviously there are times when the nudge, or hint doesn’t work and more drastic measures have to be employed.
The Apostle Paul endured much hardship; not for doing wrong, but for the refining of his nature. Someone once told me that is God would have healed Paul’s affliction in the flesh, He would have lost Paul. So the thorn was used to keep Paul close to the Lord in dependency. The Psalmist desired the Word of God, to meditate and to gain discernment and understanding. The Psalmist see the treatment of affliction to have as its reward – Personal revival. A renewed joy of salvation.