1 O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. 2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. 3 Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? 4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? 5 They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. 7 Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. 8 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? 9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? 10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? 11 The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. 12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law; 13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. 14 For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. 15 But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it. 16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? 17 Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. 18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. 19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. 20 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. 22 But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. 23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.
Are you suffering affliction today? Are you overwhelmed? As there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), you are not alone! The Psalmist’s words indicate that he was experiencing those same feelings! He was surrounded by conflict and searched desperately to know why. I see a progression in the his writing, don’t you? He complains of his lot (verses 1-8), he finds God because of this affliction (verses 9-23), and then David has an epiphany (verse 12).
As David complains to God and searches for answers, he realizes that his God knows him better than anyone. This same God is his Creator and knows all about him – every detail – every thought. David comes to a realization in verse 12 that his sin has resulted in chastening from God and, therefore, he is experiencing hard times. But in my opinion, David’s epiphany is not so much that he is suffering because of his sin but that the Lord loves him – He is teaching David how to deal with this circumstances through the Word – and God will give him rest through this affliction.
Not all hard times and trials in our lives are a direct result of a chastening from God. Once you’ve discovered whether or not your affliction is chastisement from God, take action and move forward. How do you know? If you have sinned, confess your sin before God and forsake it. If you have not sin, then move forward. Allow the Lord to guide you, encourage you, and teach you through His Word! Healing and encouragement come within the pages of the Word of God. One cannot wallow in self pity when he is being fed by the Creator through the Word. A “self-consumed” person won’t glean from the Word. A self-consumed person won’t be able to hear the Holy Spirit as He tries to encourage and uplift you. The thought of the day for the self consumed is “Woe is me! Why does everything have to happen to me!” When we make our hearts and minds still – when we make our hearts and minds open – we are able to hear and be comforted by the Master Comforter!
As we are fed by the Word of God, the hope that may have been lost prior to our trial begins to gain strength. I liken it to lighting a candle. At first, the flame is tiny as it settles into the wick. As the wick becomes consumed by the fire and becomes a full flame, it flickers and moves with each draft that comes it way. The flame doesn’t move when everything is still, only when it is fanned by something in its environment. But notice what happens when a breeze comes along. The flame shines brighter – the flame grows a bit bigger! The bigger the “wind,” the bigger the flame. Our faith is similar to this candle. Our faith (the flame) grows when the winds of adversity blow into our lives. The Light of the World, Jesus Christ, grows and grows in our lives as we drown our sorrows and griefs in His Word. Our faith grows and shines brighter for all the world to see. As our faith grows, our hope and strength in the Lord also grows.
Christian, take your trial and use it for the glory of God! God will bless you with peace and strength! Then your flame will burn bright for the Lord as you go through your trial! You will be able to be a testimony, a witness and an encouragement to someone else who is going through the same thing!
~Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.