Things to remember when persecuted or afflicted.
“The unfolding of Your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)
We do not know with certainty who wrote Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. But we know this writer suffered slanders, mocking, afflictions and plots against his life. He recounts his story through 22 stanzas each represented by one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each stanza has 8 lines with each line beginning with its corresponding letter. Thus 176 verses. These words reveal that trust in God’s character is all-sufficient during times of persecution or affliction.
As Christians we sometimes come across a word written to folks in the Old Testament, like the word “Law,” and quit reading or at least become less focused. We’re saved by grace! True, we are saved by grace, but we are still subject to the two commandments Jesus gave us. When they are kept we satisfy all of the Law and the Prophets. So, the next time you happen across those pesky words like “precepts,” “commands,” “statues,” “ordinances,” “judgments,” “testimony,” “Law” and “obedience” keep reading, stay focused and discover God’s reasons for them.
First, they are decrees of a Sovereign God. They are rules of order established by God out of love for His creation. He knows the consequences that can be avoided and the blessings that result when our trust is placed in His decrees. God Almighty has established the boundaries of the seas, set the course of the heavens and the paths of heavenly bodies. Is it not within His power and right to require the obedience of man?
Second, our trust in God’s word, no matter our circumstance, restores spiritual strength, leads to wisdom, a joyful heart, clearer perception, and enables everlasting obedience to the truth proclaimed by Christ our holy and righteous Lord.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:7-9)
According to the Psalmist, who suffered both persecution and affliction, he prevailed because he knew and placed his trust in God’s character. Throughout this long chapter he acknowledges that God is righteous, trustworthy, truthful, faithful, unchangeable, eternal, light, pure and love. Let us also acknowledge the same attributes to the One to whom we have committed our soul.
Some of you are going through trials now, others have recently passed through and have seen God’s provision. They are learning, as you will learn, God does not fail His children who place their trust in Him. “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith (being more precious than gold which is perishable) even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” (1 Peter 6-7)
Father, You have granted Your favor to all who beleive in You and follow Your Son, Jesus. We who once rebelled against Your righteous decrees now desire to know them. As You drew us to Your Son, may Your Spirit continue to draw us to a more pefect understanding of Your word. Inspire us. We ask this in Jesus’ name so that You might be glorified in our lives. Thank You.
“And we know that all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:28-32)