If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction. (Psalm 119:92 ESV)
Several time the psalmist speaks of an affliction that he endures. It is an affliction from the Lord and accomplishes its intended purpose, which is to bring the psalmist back to his first love-the Lord. In view of the sovereignty of God you can certainly see that all affliction that falls upon a believer is meant as discipline, to bring the believer back and turn him from errant ways. This is the purpose of any discipline. When I discipline my children this is the purpose. But it doesn’t always work, at least not at first. Sometimes, there is a hardening under the discipline and it seems to push them away. I think this must happen with the Lord too, at times. The good news is that there are a couple of observations that we can make:
- God’s discipline, in the end, will always accomplish its purpose. For those that are truly believers, affliction will draw them to the Lord and not push them away, though there might be a period of backsliding first.
- As the psalmist writes here, it is his delight in the law that is key to his endurance. When we read this psalm, which speaks so favorably of the law, we must not read law keeping in terms of works. This is the pen of one who is already part of God’s kingdom. Instead, we must read it as the key to walking with God – in fellowship with God. The law of God reveals the character and nature of God. As God’s people, we are called to conform to God’s character. Thus, the law is the key to understanding how to do that.
How do you respond to affliction and/or punishment?
Ask the Lord for such a view of the law as the psalmist, that you might truly delight in practicing righteousness.
McCheyne’s reading plan: 2 Ch 11-12, Re 2, Ze 3, Ps 119:73-96