A Voice in the
Re: Good that I was Afflicted
"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I have kept Your Word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your Statutes. The Law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver." (Ps119:67,71-72)
Right here we see a likely cause for today's 'church' throwing out God's Word, throwing out doctrine; opting, instead, for 'worship'. Worship -feels- good. But affliction? Who wants that!
These verses are the exact opposite of what today's self-esteem psychology teaches. If a person is suffering affliction or adversity, and supposing the person's conscience is smiting them, what do their friends rush to their side to do? Oh, there there! You poor thing. This isn't your fault! Don't be blaming yourself. You are a good person. After all: God don't make no junk!
And if it is anybody's fault, well, it certainly isn't the person's, who is suffering the adversity. It is the fault of their father when they were young. It is the fault of growing-up peers who belittled and harassed them. It is the fault of an (alleged) 'abusive' spouse. The fault is -always- somebody 'else'. Not me! They never 'face reality'
"Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful..."
See? This is what we're talking about. As a child whose parents give spankings....what child 'wants' a spanking? So we look forward to the day we are deemed an "adult", and no more under the doom of parental discipline. But let's continue...
"...nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised by it." (Heb12:11)
Ah, yes! "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Pr22:6)
But... the child grows up, and is no more under parental discipline. And were not Adam and Eve 'adults' when they sinned? Those that make up today's prison population are 'adults'. Just because a person becomes an adult does not mean that bad behavior and sin suddenly stopped. So then, 'who' disciplines a wayward adult? What if they do not commit crimes worthy of fine or imprisonment, but nevertheless are in disobedience to God? Who gives that wayward adult a 'spanking'?
"And [today's church has] forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him. For whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and whips every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not discipline?" (Heb12:5-7)
Adults may not dance at the end of a paddle or strap, but God has other ways of dealing with His wayward adult children. Sometimes they become "weak and sick" (1Co11:30) In our opening passage David speaks of "affliction". When he sinned God took his child in death; and later another son Absolom was killed after mounting a coup against David, where David and his entire household were running for their lives. (2Sam15-19)
How often, when things go 'south' does the Christian become introspective before the Lord, asking, "Search me, O Mighty God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and find out if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way eternal." (Ps139:23-24)
I've certainly had a lot of failings over my lifetime. But none quite like the 'big' one when I married the unequal yoke. I've already shared on other occasions how almost immediately my eyes went bonkers. And then after several years of the marriage, another crucial step was taken when I allowed myself to be deliberately advised AWAY FROM the ministry, and back into secular professional music, my allergies were increased a thousand fold. During the time my eyes could not settle in on a prescription that would work, and during certain times my sinuses would stuff up so badly I could barely breathe, even through my mouth (and no medication seemed to phase it), it never dawned on me at the time that these 'afflictions' were from the Lord, in discipline....in the same way that Balaam's donkey collapsed under him on his way to serve Balak, who wanted to curse Israel. It was after the unequal yoke was Ezra-10'd out of my life, and my sin had been confessed and forgiven; the very first IMMEDIATE resolution was the allergies. I've always had sneezes and runny noses, and such; but the complete 'blockage' NEVER AGAIN happened. I was Ezra-10'd at the time of year where allergies typically blossom up and increase...and it was the very next day I noticed that I was never again totally blocked, as I had been during the time of discipline. And I've shared at other times...over the next couple of years I came to realize that my eyes were also being reverted to their pre-unequally yoked state. These physical afflictions that were increased in discipline, once the soul and spirit were restored to the Lord, were 'cured'. I was in disobedience, there was affliction; I confessed and was forgiven, the affliction stopped.
The Lord doesn't necessarily take a 'paddle' to the back-side, but He has ways of making His child's life -very- 'miserable'. And He sends "leanness into their soul". (Ps106:15) During those same years my soul -was- definitely 'lean'; nothing was really ever quite working out right in life. There was never a total 'contentment'.
Today's church says, God wants you to be healthy and wealthy. Well, in one sense....perhaps they are right? But if a person is in ill-health, what is their solution? What is the cause? The cause is lack of faith, and the solution is typically -praying- 'vehemently'. Stepping out in faith, Naming-and-Claiming God's promises. And if things don't improved, they -pray- 'harder' (whatever that means!) and get hands laid on them.
Thing is, they claim only the promises of blessing for obedience. But when a person is NOT being 'blessed', they don't use reverse logic and think about what might be 'causing' the adversity. They "despise" the chastening of the Lord. They reject it. It doesn't agree with their psychobabel of "self-esteem" and their licentious gospel of graaaeeesss (Ju1:4) that proclaims: God doesn't care how you live, because He accepts you "just as you are". And like George Bush after 9/11, they proclaim: Don't change a thing...continue living JUST AS YOU WERE.
Notice what the psalmist says is the result of God's affliction, when it is accepted by God's child: "now I have kept Your Word" ... "that I may learn Your Statutes"
You that lurk around the shadows of this ministry, but not quite sure you agree with what you read always, are you seeing the picture? Today's apostasy throws out God's Word, doctrine. They reject Godly discipline unto obedience. They live willfully. But a person who accepts God's discipline unto obedience, also reveres His Word, and embraces doctrine.
What about those deeds and life of disobedience? They are confessed (1Jn1:9) and Jesus' advocacy before the Father intercedes for us. (1Jn2:1-2, Rom8:34)
But they cannot be undone. That life cannot be unlived. Those years cannot be un-wasted. And depending on the person and their life, perhaps -many- 'years' are involved. A (seemingly) 'wasted' lifetime. Is such a person's life, as a result, now totally worthless? Is that cause for despair?
God's wisdom: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom8:28)
A lifetime of failure? Yes...but...
What is the result of God's affliction? We learn to 'keep' God's Word. We 'learn' His statutues. When we are restored, we learn His -love-. The woman whose sins were "many" were "forgiven" as she "loved much". "But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." (Lk7:47)
If I hadn't taken on an unequal yoke, and had forged ahead in service to the Lord, where would I be today? I don't know. I stumbled, and went wayward. God took my failure and brought me to where I am today. And I can tell you from the depths of my heart, today I am -exactly- 'where' God wants me. And yes, that unequal yoke and its aftermath was part of the 'training' for where I am today. If it had not been for that, I would not be 'exactly' where I am today. Does that mean I did 'right'? "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Let it not be!" (Rom6:1-2a) If I had not stumbled, I could have been in God's 'perfect' will; but I would not be where I am today.
You see...this is God's wisdom. He knows our frame, He knows that we are dust. (Ps103:14) He knows that we are GOING TO fail Him. But He also knows how to take that failure and make of us a vessel fit for the Master's use. (2Ti2:21) A lump of iron, just sitting there, might be honorable in its own right. But when the blacksmith puts it to the fire, and pounds it on the anvil...the more it is heated and pounded, the 'finer' the quality of sword that results. If it never went through the fire and pounding, it would never become an object of grandeur.
Thus, those today who despise God's 'chastening', by that very act of spite, proclaim that they do not wish to be an object of worth to God. They wish to be lavished with -words- of "worth", without having to endure the fire and pounding. They just want to pop out, Voila! here I am! But, ask any athlete if that's how they win the gold medal. Ask any award-winning musician if that's how they won their performance award. Or did it take hours and hours of torturous fitness training, and practice and rehearsal?
But to those who have been exercised by God's discipline, and been restored, there is a special understanding of this next psalm:
"Out of the depths have I cried out to You, O Jehovah; Lord, hear my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If You, YAH, should keep remembering iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared. I have waited for Jehovah, my soul has waited, and in His Word I have hoped. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning; yea, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in Jehovah; for with Jehovah there is mercy, and with Him redemption is greatly multiplied. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities." (Ps130:1-8)
And this comes, also, from a heart that proclaims:
"Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither have I walked in great matters, nor in things beyond my understanding." (Ps131:1)