Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.
May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame! -Psalm 119:73-80, ESV
-We were created by God
-Our lives can be a source of joy to other believers
-God's rules are righteous
-There are times when God does indeed afflict us-because of His faithfulness to us
-The Psalmist desires a blameless heart while apparently being mistreated
There is a difficult verse in this passage related to my last post on Psalm 119:65-72. These verses also have something to say to us about affliction and it is not what most of us want to hear. God in His faithfulness to us does at times send affliction our way. "I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me." We often struggle with the idea of God allowing difficult things, but this verse says more than that; God "allows" it, He brings it. That just does not fit into our nice little mold we often to try to fit God into and demonstrates why it is so very important for us to read our Bibles. And I recommend reading it from cover to cover. If we want to know God and be guarded from false teaching we need to know His Word.
I think it is important to put this God-given affliction in the context of what we know about God. First and foremost God created us- each individual He fashioned Himself. I am a work of His hands and if I believe what the Bible says than I have to conclude that His work of fashioning me is not done yet- He is still shaping me into the image of His Son Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18) He is the Potter I am the clay. (Isaiah 64:8) It is His right as God to continue this creative work in my life for we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) And while we are right to fear God, for it is the beginning of wisdom-His dealings with us are all based upon His character. Just from these few verses in Psalm 119 we can trust God to do as He sees fit with us because He is righteous and faithful; His love for us is unwavering, it is steadfast; He brings us comfort and is full of mercy. And yes, He is to be feared as well, but that fear should not drive us away but call us obedience. To see that even in affliction God is in control and if we yield our lives to Him then He can transform us according to the promises found in His word. Affliction, while unpleasant does not have to be our undoing and it does not need to leave us in "the pit of despair."
Perhaps our first cry in affliction is, "Why me?! Why are You doing this God?" Well, said. With reflection upon these verses the answer may very well be He afflicts us because He loves us and knows exactly what is necessary to complete the good work He began in us. Knowing that, we should not fight against what God is doing but respond like the Psalmist, running after God, seeking His Word to guide and comfort us, allowing God to be Lord of our lives, and trusting Him to be at work for our good. "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." -Philippians 1:6
It is our tendency to focus only on those things that are easy to digest about God. We love to speak of His love, of His mercy, of His kindness towards us. That is all well and good, but there is so much more to God than that. To limit God to those qualities is like saying that we know what a peacock looks like from one of those first three photos I have shared today. Even though fourth picture does not give us the whole picture of a peacock.
The same thing will happen if we pick and choose who we want God to be. In our desire to be known by God let us make an effort to really get to know Him- the whole picture, not just the easy parts, or the ones that make us rest easy.
Grace, Peace, and Mercy,
I am a woman with a Mary heart and these are my musings as I read and study God's Word
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