Brad Libolt speaking on Psalm 119:65-72. He spoke on knowing God through our pain. Remembering that God is exalted in our suffering and despite our affliction he is good.
We know we will go through pain and suffering, but God is good and he does good, so we continue to pursue him and his word. God is glorified in our affliction, our pain and suffering. Despite the affliction of the psalmist, God’s goodness shines through. We usually think afflictions are really bad, but in this passage the psalmist sees the affliction as a blessing.
v. 65 “You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word.”
What is good for our life is up to God, not us. Dealing well with him includes affliction. Sometimes God’s blessing includes suffering.
v. 66 “Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.”We don’t have good judgment or knowledge and we need God to teach us. We believe that God’s commandments are good and right, but can’t do them on our own.
1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
We have the mind of Christ that gives us the ability to understand and achieve the judgement and knowledge of the Lord, and therefore obey his commandments. Not only does God give us commandments to obey, but He gives us the mind of Christ necessary to obey them.
v. 67 “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”
Affliction means pain and suffering, so the psalmist experienced some sort of affliction that brought him back to God. Often times suffering will bring us closer to God
Romans 5:3-5 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
We suffer when we lose something, but those things are material and fleeting. We can never lose Christ, so our loss of worldly things points us to the steadfastness of Christ. Suffering shows us what we are lacking, causing us to depend even more on God’s word.
v. 68 “You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.”
God is good, and he does good, and even through pain and suffering God is good. God is in control and ordains suffering in our life, and even that is good. After the suffering and realization that God is still good, the psalmist wants to seek him and his goodness.
v. 69 “The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;”
Insolent means arrogant, a lack of respect, or thinking you are better than everyone else. Even when we are faced with lies by arrogant people we continue to obey God and keep his precepts with our whole heart. If your heart is captivated by God, the lies of the people around you can’t affect you.
v. 70 “their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.”
Their hearts are callous and unfeeling; they aren’t affected by God’s law. In contrast, our hearts should be soft, tender, and feeling, allowing us to delight in God’s law. We can’t soften our own hearts, God has to do that. He softens our hearts so we can see the beauty of his law.
v. 71 “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”
It was good that he was afflicted and went through that pain and suffering. It was good because through that he learned more about who God was. Learning about who God is is good, and often times affliction will allow us to learn more about who God is. We need to be willing to do whatever it takes for us to see more of who God is, even if that means we suffer.
v. 72 “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”
The psalmist realized that knowing God is better than being rich. We don’t necessarily see thousands of gold and silver pieces now, but this would have been incredibly valuable then. Think of all the riches in the world, the most valuable earthly possession, and God is better than that. God’s law is better than anything this world has to offer.