(65) You have dealt with me – I take it as a statement of gratitude. Some days, it’s a wonder God chooses to deal with us at all. (66) Teach me good judgment – who or what have I misjudged lately?
(67) Before I was afflicted I went astray – “Often trials act as a thorn hedge to keep us in good pasture; but our prosperity is a gap [in the hedge] through which we go astray.” (Charles Spurgeon).
(68) Teach me – how willing are we to learn from God? Their heart is as fat as grease – we know a fatty heart is a recipe for a medical disaster. What about our spiritual heart (pride)? (71) It is good that I was afflicted – in this case affliction led to restoration, looking back the psalmist deemed that good.
(73) Your hands made me – God knows everything about us. (75) I know your judgments are right – how much do we trust God’s judgment? (76) Comfort – God is able to help me in times of my affliction. (80) Which is more important, to be held in high esteem by man or God?
Matt Chandler’s video series on this portion of Psalm 119 highlights when we are afflicted, God is not an ambulance driver wringing his hands or trying to figure out what he is going to do. Instead he is more like a surgeon. Spiritual Surgery during affliction is God’s tool for cutting away things that may harm us in the long run. For the Christian there is a redemption (purpose) to be found in suffering.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT
Two themes rise to the surface in verses 49-56 of Psalm 119. The first theme dwells on remembrance. The psalmist is not asking for God for some new promise. He is standing on an existing one. He is not saying, “remember all I have done for you, God,” rather he is asking God to remember his promise. As Christians we need to remind ourselves of the promise of the empty grave that once held our Savior! Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection we can experience the forgiveness of sins and have the promise of eternal life.
The second theme that emerges in this section is one of comfort. Comfort comes from knowing who or what you believe in.
A worldly person clutches his wallet and proclaims, “this is my comfort.” A drunkard lifts his glass and sings, “this is my comfort.” A man of God grounded in the Word of God testifies, “this is my comfort,” for he personally knows who it is he believes in. (Charles Spurgeon)
The next section of the Psalm (57-64) opens with, “the Lord is my Portion.” As Matt Chandler puts it, “God is enough, he is BIG enough!” We don’t serve an ancient, obsolete God. He is actively at work in the world he created. Chandler provides four points that highlight why God is big enough, even in times of suffering.
God is gracious and kind
The testimonies of God are faithful
God is always available
God has given us people of God as companions
(56) Remember God – how often do your thoughts dwell on God? Weekly? Daily? Hourly? He is a God who comforts.
(57) Remind yourself at least a dozen times today, “the Lord is my portion.” (God is enough, he is BIG enough!”
Well, our little English Creme hot dog turns out to be quite a shredder. It doesn’t matter whether its a credit card receipt, an empty toilet paper roll, a newspaper, a computer power cord or my slippers. If he can get his teeth on it he will chew or shred it.
This fall, when Jake, Brody and I were able to take walks, I talked to them as we walked. Jake(r) was the baker and Brody was a toady. I guess you could say I liked to make rhymes while we ambled along.
Brody was a toad because he hopped along yanking the leash. He couldn’t stay on the sidewalk or walk in a straight line, hence the nickname. This spring he’ll need a new nickname once he becomes a good walker.