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The Scriptorium

Hurts So Good

It's in there, really. Psalm 119.71, 72

Psalm 119.65-72 (6)

Pray Psalm 119.71, 72.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.

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!

Read Psalm 119.65-72; meditate on verses 71, 72.


1. What did the psalmist consider to be “good”?

2. How much did he value the Law of God?

It takes discipline to say with the psalmist, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted”. Since God is good and always does good, and since nothing that comes to us does not ultimately come from His hand, being afflicted is good because God sends or allows it. It may hurt sometimes, but it’s good for us. We just need to keep that in mind, so that we respond as we should – with thanksgiving – whenever affliction comes (Phil. 4.6, 7).

Further, affliction is good because it helps us to learn the statutes, Law, and Word of God (v. 71). Affliction should drive us to the Word, to discover God’s good purposes and promises, so that we cling to them rather than to the dust of this changeable world (cf. Ps. 119.25, 31). When affliction comes, take it as a prompt from the Lord to seek Him in His Word, and to keep seeking until you find a good word to cling to in your time of need. Think of Jesus, as He was hanging on the cross, running through and praying all those psalms that had to do with His crucifixion and the promise of glory to which that would lead (Pss. 22, 34, 69, etc.). That’s the example we should follow when affliction comes.

Then, as we follow this path, clinging to God’s good Word, we will discover just how rich and beautiful and reliable and true the Word of God is, and we will value it more than any material wealth or wellbeing (v. 72). And that will help to prepare us for whatever affliction may be ramping up toward us next. Affliction can be a cycle of upward growth, but we must keep to the path of God’s Law for all our hurts to do their good work in us.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“That I may learn Your statutes…and Your Law…that is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.” (Ps. 119. 71, 71) And what is it that will happen to put us on this pathway?  Afflictions.

The first thing we see this affliction accomplishing is to allow us to better keep some of the commandments; for if we are more satisfied with learning God’s statutes and His Law than in wanting things, we will not need to steal (Ex. 20.15); we will not need to lie (Ex. 20.16); nor will we need to covet (Ex. 20.17). If we desire God more than anything of a material nature, that will automatically keep us from committing the sins that have to do with wanting more stuff. Plain and simple. A first positive step!

Peter used this very example to minister to a man lame from his birth. The man asked them for money, thinking that was the best thing that could possibly happen to him, but Peter said to him, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3.6). Well of course, he would prefer to walk than to have money, but he didn’t even imagine that was in the range of possibilities. However, we know that walking in Jesus is a possibility. So why would we ever ask for money instead of asking to be more like Him? Our afflictions should point us post haste to Jesus.

Paul wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8.28). Are we called to His purpose? Do we love God? Then we know for certain that afflictions, although painful and horrible, work together for our good. Not that the afflictions are good, but that they will serve a good purpose in our life if we love God and are called by Him.

And Job. In all his afflictions he stated: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13.15). His faith was so strong that he was able to go on and say, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19.25-27).

This is where our afflictions must lead us to heighten our love for God and for His Law. And through this victory we will be blessed and will be a blessing to those in our Personal Mission Field.

Hurt that brings good.

For reflection
1. How can afflictions, trials, setbacks, and disappointments be good?

2. How can they provoke us to a greater love for and trust in God’s Word?

3. How can you support your fellow believers when they are going through afflictions?

He here confirms the sentiment which we have previously considered ― that it was profitable to him to be subdued by God's chastisements, that he might more and more be brought back and softened to obedience. John Calvin (1509-1564). Commentary on Psalm 119.71

Pray Psalm 119.68-70.
Spend some time in prayer enumerating all the various ways God is good to you. Don’t forget the afflictions, great or small.

Sing Psalm 119.68-70.
(Open My Eyes: Open My Eyes, That I May See)
Lord, You are good, and good You do; teach me that I may do good, too.
Wicked men my true pathway distort: I keep Your Word with all my heart.
Their heart is dark with sin’s cruel blight, but in Your Law is my delight.
Let me not turn from Your sweet Light, nor from Your Word.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Psalm 119 by clicking here.

What is the Law of God and how should we learn and obey it? Two books can help. The Law of God arranges the statutes and precepts of God’s Law under their appropriate number of the Ten Commandments. This book is an excellent tool for meditating on God’s Law and thinking about its application in our time. The Ground for Christian Ethics, on the other hand, explains why the Law matters and how we are to use it. You can order free copies of each of these
here and here.

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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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