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(First Draft)

Introduction:
A. In v. 65, Psalmist says
You have dealt well with you servant.
Literally, you have done good to your servant.
B. What was the good?
1. It is not wealth, because he states that God’s law is greater than silver & gold. v. 72.
2. It is not friendship, because the stanza only contains “the insolent”.
3. There is no mention of comfort, ease, et cetera.
4. In v. 71 he specifically identifes “good to me” as affliction.
Doctrine 1: When we are afflicted, we must see that God has brought our affliction.
Doctrine 2: God uses affliction to do us good.

Doctrine 1: When we are afflicted, we must see that God has brought our affliction.

A. The Psalmist specifically identifies God as the ultimate agent of his affliction.
1. v. 65 You have done this good thing
2. v. 71: the good this is affliction
2. v. 75b, God is specifically identified as the agent of affliction

B. Scripture teaches this principle elsewhere
1. Lamentations 3:37-38
2. Isaiah 45:7
3. Amos 3:5-6

C. We have a specific example of God afflicting “his servant”.
1. Jesus is the type of Servant. Isaiah 52:13
2. In Isaiah 53:1-9, the affliction is set forth. In Isaiah 52:10, Isaiah states it was the will of The Lord to afflict the servant.

D. We must not diminish this as real affliction.
1. We tend to respond to affliction (in our culture) by
a. Denying the reality of the affliction.
b. Supressing or ignoring the affliction.
c. The Psalmist identifies such a response as precisely the function of the wicked adversaries: 70a.
d. These are inhuman responses because they deny the reality of our suffering
2. The text specifically identifies this as suffering/affliction
a. The underlying event was to be encrusted with lies. v. 69
b. vv. 67 & 71 both specifically refer to “suffering”.
c. The pain was sufficient to cause a change in direction. 67
3. Jesus as the type of sufferer (Isaiah 53:1-10) would mean the anti-types must likewise be real suffering.
4. Scripture elsewhere teaches affliction as coming, ultimately, from God.
a. Job 1-2
b. 2 Corinthians 12:7. Harris has it “a gift from God & a messenger from Satan”
(5. How does God afflict us?
a. environment/circumstances
b. other humans
c. our body
d. our conscience
6. Affliction is always for our good, but it is not always the result of a particular sin.)

Doctrine 2: God uses affliction to do us good.

A. Psalm 119:67 & 71
1. The affliction stopped him from going astray
2. The affliction caused him to learn God’s statutes.

B. It is taught elsewhere
1. Romans 5:1-5
2. Romans 8:18-30
3. James 1:2-4
4. Genesis 50:20.

C. How does being afflicted result in us learning from God?
1. If God’s law were merely a matter of knowing a set of facts in the abstract, then being afflicted could not possibly help one to learn about God. If you were studying for a history examine, stealing your car would not help you prepare.
2. The knowledge here is not merely the proposition itself. The Psalmist almost certainly knew the specific words at issue. The real difficulty comes because we do not know what such things mean in our situation & in our lives.
a. Knowledge of God’s law is never merely a knowledge about the law. It is knowledge of God: it is personal, covenantal knowledge.
b. We have a tendency to make God’s covenant something merely abstract, as if God could even be thought of by us apart from this covenant — or that his covenant could be reduced to a set of moral teaching.
i. Deut. 7:12-13. In obeying God will love us.
ii. John 15:7-11: obedience is abiding in the love of God
iii. John 15:12, the commandment is a commandment of love. Romans 13:10.
iv. Someone who is perfectly outwardly obedient but who is not known by God is outside: Matthew 7:21-23
3. Suffering trains us to relationship
a. Our great trouble is autonomy. Genesis 3:5. Sin results in the absolute fragmentation and isolation of the human. Genesis 3:15-19. Most especially division between humans & God. Genesis 3:23. The law of God has been set up to show us our insurpassable guilt. Romans 3:19-20.
b. We respond to our trouble by stupidity, Psalm 119:70, and suprression Romans 1:18. It is a dangerous thing to live stupid & unaware of God’s power. Amos 6:1
c. Suffering checks us in our wandering (think of Cain, Genesis 4:12). Psalm 119:67, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray”.
d. God intends suffering to check us and turn us to him. Amos 4:6-12.
e. Suffering blocks up our way and leaves us no choice but return to our God. Hosea 2:6-7
f. Suffering forces out of self-reliance and onto God as a means of bringing us to him in faith. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
g. Suffering conforms us to the image of Christ. Romans 8:29 — we made to conform to the family in which we have been adopted.
h. Suffering is thus a gift of God. Philippians 1:29
i. That is why the working out of our salvation is said to be done in fear & trembling. Philippians 2:12.

Use. 1 To be aware of our suffering as a good gift of God. In suffering the pain can come so quickly and be of such power as to direct all of our attention and resources onto the pain. This is precisely the wrong move. In times of trial & suffering, we must flee to the only true rock & Savior. Psalm 18:1-6. To stay reliant upon our own resources is precisely the trouble which suffering seeks to cure.

Use 2. To be aware of the suffering of others and move into relationship with them in their suffering.
a. Jesus will count such work as work done to him, personally. Matthew 25:40
b. In times of suffering, we are threatened to become embittered. Therefore, surrounding believers must actively live with, exhorting, encouraging to protect against the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3
c. A rebuke to those who claim Christ and fail to exercise mercy to those in need. Matthew 25:45-46

(Idea for further development: Frame on the situational & existence perspectives of Scripture — as opposed to the solely normative.)