Psalm 119:65-72

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GOOD MORNING! The ninth section of Psalm 119 testifies to the gracious purpose of the chastening from the LORD. The passage begins with a statement that magnifies the grace of God: "Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver." [1]

Earlier, the Psalmist petitions, "Teach me thy statutes." We may be sure of this, there is heavenly wisdom brought to all who earnestly read and meditate upon the Scriptures.

The learning we must have is not acquired by the intellect, it is received by the heart. We do not learn spiritual truth by emulation, nor by ambition, nor by pride; spiritual learning is the gift of God to those who "walk in the light, as he is in the light." [2]

Sometimes we weary of the lesson. Sometimes we even absent ourselves from the classroom. Yet the LORD loves us too well to be indulgent with us, to spoil our development by overlooking that which is difficult, and has been, for the moment, an unattractive lesson.

The Psalmist in Psalm 103, directed by the Holy Spirit, writes: "Like as a father pitieth his children; so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knowth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." [3]

Sometimes the lesson must be held over, sometimes the hand of correction must be applied to bend the stubborn will. Hear the Psalmist testify, "before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept thy word. … Good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn thy statutes."

Affliction to the obedient and trusting child is always beneficial. It may be that a child of the eternal God will cry: "O that it were with me as in those summer days before tribulation came."

However, we need to learn that such a complaint is unwise and unfaithful on our part, and may, in the grace of God, foreshadow additional courses of study, for the lesson has not been completed.

The apostle wrote by instruction, "…we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." [4]

Where there is no spiritual life, affliction works no spiritual benefit. But where the heart is a "new heart," tribulation awakens the conscience, backsliding is confessed, and the life becomes again absorbed in affection for the God of all grace.

Hear the Psalmist testify that the medicine of affliction works a positive change, that once more his life was committed to the school of discipleship. Even though affliction comes to us from a bad source, it is overruled by God for a good end.

Romans 8:28 is God's truth declared: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." The saint's worst is better than the natural man's best; for a thousand benefits have come to God’s people through the trials, tribulations and grief of this earth life. It is by these things that we have learned the blessed commandments of the LORD.

This portion of the 119th Psalm begins with a statement of conviction: "Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word;" and the whole portion is flavored with the goodness of the LORD to men and women of faith, so that the very oppression of the worldly-minded has wrought good in their lives.

Finally, the law of the LORD is tested in experience, and is better than the best of earthly treasures: "The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver."

Earthly pleasures vainly call me;
I would be like JESUS;
Nothing worldly shall enthrall me;
I would be like JESUS.
He has broken every fetter,
I would be like JESUS;
That my soul may serve Him better,
I would be like JESUS.[5]


[1] Psalm 119:65-72
[2] 1 John 1:7
[3] Psalm 103:13-14
[4] Romans 5:3-5
[5] From "I Would Be Like Jesus" by James Rowe

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