True Goodness Consists in Learning the Rules of God: A Meditation on Psalm 119:65-72

“Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word” (Psalm 119:65).

What is good for you? For instance, is it good for you to miss a flight?  Most of us would say no; but what if the plane then goes down?  Within a larger picture, small afflictions often appear good.

This insight must be grasped: The plane called Earth is going down, and few are finding the path of life (Matthew 7:13-14).  Most are oblivious to the danger, even though death surrounds us daily, and threatens to claim us all.  Instead of learning to prepare, we lull ourselves until forced to learn in the School of Affliction.  And yet how do we often consider affliction?  That it is an evil to be avoided, rather than a good to be welcomed.

Listen to the psalmist acknowledge that God did him good in affliction:

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (v. 67).
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted: that I might learn thy statutes” (v. 71).

To him, true goodness consisted in learning the rules of God, by means of the “good judgment and knowledge” gained in the School of Affliction (v. 66).  Despite appearances, he acknowledged that God is good and does good, even in affliction (v. 68; cf. Romans 8:28).  He even believed in the commands of God, that goodness is found in obedience (v. 66).

Similarly, listen to the testimonies of Christians today.  Is it not true that often an affliction led them to Christ?  Was it good, then, or was it evil, for them to be afflicted?  Only the larger picture can tell.

Too often we resemble the self-sufficient of this world, who smear our character with falsehood, while their own understanding is loaded with fat (vv. 69-70).  To them, God’s law holds no interest and yields no insight.  They do not need Him–or so they think.  But to the desperate, schooled in affliction, God’s law is better than bullion, and is the object of their recreation (vv. 72, 70).  Instead of falling asleep in church, or skipping altogether, they look forward to sporting in Scripture, for affliction has made them wise–by the grace and goodness of God.

Are you enrolled?  Are you currently in the School of Affliction? “Count it all joy,” says James, when your faith is tested, knowing that such testing, through perseverance, makes you mature in Christ and gives you wisdom unto salvation (James 1:2-5; cf. 3:13-18).  You will miss your flight, but the plane is definitely going down.


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