“Do good to Your servant according to Your Word, O Lord.
Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in Your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your Word.
You are good, and what You do is good; teach me Your decrees.
Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep Your precepts with all my heart.
Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in Your law.
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees.
The law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”
-Psalm 119:65-72 (Teth)
God’s Word is relevant today as when the authors of Scripture wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit over two thousand years ago. Human nature has not changed and therefore we benefit from it’s truths in the 21st century as the first readers did. Particularly here, it is refreshing how the psalmist is not afraid to express emotion, showing his deep devotion to God our Father. He knows who he is in the Lord. Yahweh isn’t only his portion but his identity. He belongs to God. Even under affliction and persecution the psalmist is resolute in trusting the Lord, loving Him and following Him as he declares God’s goodness.
In your experiences of rejection, isolation or being maligned, count them as blessings in disguise. The Lord has allowed me to personally experience depression in order that I might be refined. His ways are always good even when we don’t understand. There is great joy and honor in sanctification. It means there is purpose in pain.
God our Father allowed His own Son to endure hateful rejection from others. Men and women still scoff at Christ our Savior. Yet Jesus died on a cruel cross to make a way for those who seek Him. He knows what it is like to walk this earth as a Man. He sympathizes with our struggles because Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are- yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
The result of pursuing God in adversity is in the last verse. The psalmist’s fellowship with the Lord is deepened, his love sweetened, as his Friend and Comforter becomes all the more dear to him. The writer of Psalm 119 has learned to look at his afflictions with acceptance knowing God will use it for His glory and the psalmist’s eternal good.
Grace upon grace,
Grow deeper: John 15:1-2; Isaiah 53:3; 10-12; Hebrews 4:14-16