Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Keeping His Word in Affliction

Before I was afflicted, I went astray,
but now I keep Your word.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I may learn Your statutes.
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.
(Psalm 119:67, 71, 75-76)

If God were an angry judge, you'd think those verses meant that He kept sending us troubles until we Learn Our Lessons, and shape up, and fly right. Punish-punish-punish until we get our act together and obey already.

But ... if God is a loving father ... if God desires more than anything that we cling to Him in faith ... those passages from Psalm 119 look different. When we are afflicted and troubled, we see that we have no strength within ourselves to straighten up and fly right. When we are afflicted and troubled, we recognize our need for His kindness and mercy, His "judgment" that declares us righteous for the sake of Jesus' death to atone for our sin.

We are so quick to think "keeping His word" is about what we DO, instead of about hanging onto His promises of grace to us.

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