“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.”
Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75
One of the most important lessons in the Christian life is learning to relate to the tests, adversities, and difficulties of life. We are taught by the Scripture that when our Heavenly Father permits trials in our lives, they are not without value or purpose. Sometimes trials are a test of our faith. Sometimes they can be attributed to spiritual warfare. Trials can also be the result of unwise decisions we have made, as we are reaping what we have sown. However, in all cases, God is able to use our trials to benefit us and glorify Himself.
In this text, we see that David saw his being “afflicted” as part of God’s correction. He confessed he “went astray,” and acknowledged that the afflictions that God allowed in his life helped correct this wayward inclination. In the great hymn, “Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing,” the songwriter penned these words in the third stanza: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.” We all need correction because it helps keep us from going astray, just as loving instruction and proper correction helps our children avoid going astray. When we realize that problems are sometimes warnings of reproof to lead us back to God, we see the benefits of those difficulties.
Most of us could testify that we have learned valuable lessons in times of affliction. David was no exception to this. He stated that it was good for him that he had been corrected. Correction is good for us. Proverbs 3:11, 12 tells us, ” My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” God corrects us because He loves us. Sometimes as parents, we may be inconsistent in our correction, but God is faithful to discipline His children.
It is for our benefit, both in this life and in eternity, that we obey the Lord and keep His Word. David said the benefits of his afflictions were “that I might learn thy statutes.” It is wise for us to realize and accept the fact that God’s way is best. When we fail to walk in obedience to His Word, our Heavenly Father sometimes uses afflictions to direct us back into the right path.