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The Scriptorium

Good, Good, Good, Good Afflictions

They must be. They're from our good God. Psalm 119.65

Psalm 119.65-72 (1)

Pray Psalm 119.65.

You have dealt well with Your servant,
O LORD, according to Your word.

Sing Psalm 119.65-67.
(Open My Eyes: Open My Eyes, That I May See)
You have dealt well with me, O Lord, just as You promised in Your Word.
Teach me good judgment, help me to know all that I need to love You so.
Let Your commandments light my way. Send sweet affliction when I stray,
that I may walk Your holy way and keep Your Word.

Read Psalm 119.65-72; meditate on verse 65.

1. How did God deal with the psalmist?

2. On what basis?

I think the psalmist particularly enjoyed writing the ט (teth) stanza. It gave him an opportunity to use the Hebrew word, ט֭וֹב (tov), which means “good” and variations of that. It’s like he’s hearing in the back of his mind the “good vibrations” of “good” that echo all the way back to God’s original purpose for the world, when He made all things exceedingly ט֭וֹב (Gen. 1.31).

Forms of ט֭וֹב appear six times in these eight verses. So this is a “feel-good” stanza, right? Well, no.

It’s about affliction. Experiencing it. Holding on during it. Getting through and over it. And realizing that all afflictions are for our ט֭וֹב. In the psalmist’s case, he was being lied about by proud men (v. 69). Slandered, libeled, worse: all afflictions are exactly in line with God’s will and “according to” His Word.

So just to be clear, the psalmist begins his stanza with his favorite word: “Good You have done with Your servant, O LORD…” Just as He said He would.

Jesus said we would know affliction (Jn. 16.33). Paul said the same (2 Tim. 3.12). How do we prepare for such afflictions? By realizing they are part of God’s ט֭וֹב plan for us, and therefore can be received with thanksgiving.

They are all good, good, good, good afflictions (v. 71).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.16.
The Catechism asks: What is the chief end of man? The answer: The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

“You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD,
according to Your word” (Ps. 119.65).

We need all the help we can get to fulfill our purpose in life.
God’s help is good. Sometimes painfully so.
But good, nonetheless.
Our joy is found in truly believing this.

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11.33).

If we understood, where would our faith be? And without that faith, it is impossible to please God. “For he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11.6).

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”
(Spafford, 1873)

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that
I would see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and
He will strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Ps. 27.13, 14)

Good. Wait. Good. By faith. Good.

For reflection
1. How many ways can you say that God has “dealt well” (done good) with you?

2. Why does God allow various afflictions, troubles, and disappointments to come our way?

3. What is our duty in the face of such adversities?

However God has dealt with us, he has dealt with us better than we deserve; and all in love, and for our good. Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

Pray Psalm 119.71, 72.
What’s troubling or burdening you today? Hold it up to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to make it a source of blessing and instruction in His good and perfect will.

Sing Psalm 119.71, 72.

(Open My Eyes: Open My Eyes, That I May See)
All my afflictions, Lord, I turn to You that I Your Law may learn.
Teach me to hold Your Word in my heart, never from its true way to part.
Your Law is better far to me than any wealth could ever be;
open my eyes and let me see more of Your Word!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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