Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Yesterday I looked at how David in this psalm sees and glorifies God because He saved David from his fears. Today, we see that God does more than save from fears; He also delivers David, and us, from true afflictions.
I learn a few things from this verse:
- It is possible for those who are God’s people to be afflicted. Many in Christianity, and in other world religions, find comfort in an assumed truth that God will never allow His chosen ones to undergo afflictions. But we must see that this assumption is contrary to fact. Consider Job who had his family, possessions and strength stripped from him, even though he was righteous. We see John the Baptist being murdered as a favor to a pretty girl at a party. We see even Jesus being afflicted more than most people, even though His righteousness surpassed all who ever lived. Therefore, followers of Christ should not be surprised when afflictions come, and in fact should expect them, as Jesus said as much.
- God’s people should be afflicted, often or heavily. If we are not in the ‘habit’ of undergoing afflictions, then we should consider why we are not. Here David says that the righteous have many afflictions. Could it be that we are not undergoing afflictions because we are giving in to a worldly way of living, rather than in a way that brings us into direct contact with hard times?
- A God follower should have an expectant attitude of hope in deliverance from God. Though afflictions are to be the common situation of those who are considered righteous by God, their attitudes are not to be afflicted. We are not like those without hope. We should not be a sign to the world around us of our lack of hope, but of the faithful one Who promises to be with us even during our afflictions. Here we see that David had in mind ahead of afflictions, and even after the afflictions, that his hope was not in his own ability to get out of the problem, or in possible counterfactual options to bypass the problem, but only in the One who leads him through the problem, Who though knowing all possible outcomes and paths, has chosen for His own reasons to bring David, like us, through the hard times. Why? Because…
- God is glorified more fully when His own suffer. There are some aspects of the attributes of God that cannot be seen as fully as when His followers suffer. Mercy, compassion, faithfulness, justice, omnipotence, omnipresence – most characteristics of God come into clear view when His beloved look at Him from their place of suffering. Granted, one can see God as being powerful outside of suffering, but there is a different aspect of glorifying His power when you’re not only appreciating His power from an objective distance, but from a place of need. This is why the pain of repentance brings the joy of salvation, as we see more clearly God’s holiness and wrath, as well as His faithfulness to fulfill the promise of salvation to those who trust His son.