“You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord, according to Your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, For I believe Your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word. You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me, But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease, But I delight in Your law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of coins of gold and silver. Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, Because I have hoped in Your word. I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, According to Your word to Your servant. Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.”
Psalms 119:65-77 NKJV
According to Your word
We are in a time of sliding values. What is right today, is wrong tomorrow, and what is appropriate to be taught to children is up for grabs. This morning, I heard of a lawsuit being heard this week by the the Supreme Court regarding a lone football coach who liked to pray at center field after football games. One of those who brought suit against him, thought it was inappropriate for children to have the faith of adults impressed upon them.
While this is going on, the Florida governor is under fire for signing into law a bill that forbids teachers from impressing their private adult, sexual practices on the children in their classrooms.
Because of the fluidity of the morality of these times, it is difficult for one to discern what is right and what is wrong. Sadly, this has also entered the church, as more and more congregations have jettisoned the word of God, in favor of the values of the times. Those who fill the pews, purported to be citizens of heaven, are all too often indiscernible from the dwellers of the earth.
Before I came to Jesus, I struggled with knowing what was right and what was wrong, for all values that affected my life were in flux. When I came to Jesus, I spent time struggling, as the world, the flesh and devil, did combat with word of God for my soul. It is in affliction that the Lord got the upper hand, and has won the war, though there are still skirmishes.
Reading Psalm one hundred nineteen this morning, and rejoicing the Lord offered such a great chapter for our instruction. God has used affliction to great measure in my life, as it has taken away distractions, causing me to focus only on Him.
By His word, I have been able to discern what is right and what is wrong, and have been able to experience the consequences of making the wrong choices, while enjoying the eternal security found only in Christ.
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.”
Psalms 139:1-6 NKJV
In the uncertainty of trial, I found comfort in knowing that my God knew me, and understood me. Because He knew me, He also knew what I could handle, and where I needed His supernatural support. The affliction that He ordained into my life, was specific and addressed the areas of disobedience. The affliction was as if done by a very precisely placed chisel, where the Lord, the ultimate sculptor, aimed carefully, rendering from each blow the perfect result.
In the pain, I learned obedience, I gained endurance, and I could see the glory of God, as His word became more clear to me. The more I read it, the more I could discern what were His values, and what values of the world I need to avoid.
Brothers and sisters, you may be one under affliction right now, and you might be in a position where you are calling out to God to take it away. It is better in these seasons to seek the mind of God, to open your bibles and see if there is anything there that speaks to your situation. I can assure you that you will!
You will grow in your understanding of the Lord and it will be easier to endure all that is happening. I remember the day I went off to the hospital with a tumor on my spine, and question mark where my future used to be. I grabbed my bible and clutched to me. I knew by instinct that I was going need the wisdom of Jesus to get through what was to come.
You might be one who is in a trial, and you know already that the Lord is faithful. The word is rich in you. It is upon you to go and tell those in and out of the household of God of the great things the Lord has done. We who have believed are of the “great cloud of witnesses”, who have known the Father and His great love.
Let us go out and proclaim that the Lord is true and life is at is best when lived according to His word.
Have a glorious Sunday! Happy Easter to the church in Ukraine!