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The Scriptorium

Cure for Affliction

There's only one sure one. Psalm 119.107

Psalm 119.105-112 (3)

Pray Psalm 119.107.
I am afflicted very much;
Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.

Sing Psalm 119.107, 108.
(Slane: Be Thou My Vision)
I am afflicted and sorely distressed;
O Lord, revive me that I may be blessed.
Teach me Your Word, Lord, my thanks I proclaim;
off’rings of praise I declare to Your Name!

Read Psalm 119.105-112; meditate on verse 107.

Preparation
1. What was wrong with the psalmist?

2. What did that lead him to do?

Meditation
When afflictions come, as they surely will – trials, setbacks, injuries, insults, disappointments, unjust attacks, sleights, gossip, and so on – we need to know what our options are, because, if we don’t, we’ll surely make matters worse.

I say “options” but there’s really only one true option, and our psalmist knew what it was: Call on the Lord to restore you to life and vitality according to the commandments and promises of His Word. Only God can lift us out of our trials and renew us in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. But He will only do that according to His plan and purpose for us, which He has revealed in His Law and all His Word.

None of our “quick fix” attempts to extricate ourselves from trials ever work out as we hope. Feeling sorry for ourselves, getting angry, getting back, holding grudges, backbiting, sulking, breaking friends – these may all sound viable in the moment, but they’ll only make matters worse. If you find yourself there, you need to redirect your steps (Ps. 119.59, 60).

So what do we do when trials come? First, recognize negative and unreliable responses and set them all aside. Then, seek the Lord, just like our psalmist. Remember His promises and pray them back to Him. Return to His commandments in renewed vows and commitments (v. 106). Continue looking to Him, for He will bear long with your supplications (Lk. 18.1-7). Afflict God with your prayers as much as you have been afflicted by your trial, or, as Isaiah put it, “do not keep silent, and give Him no rest” as you importune Him for revival (Is. 62.6, 7).

It’s a sure-fire cure for trials. Oh, the trials may continue for a time, but the joy, peace, hope, and strength to endure that come from seeking the Lord according to His Word will enable you to rise above them all.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Affliction is an attention-grabber. When we are afflicted, our focus is fine-tuned. We notice it, and of course we would, because the thing or person that afflicts us is a cause of persistent pain or distress.

As we recall from previous verses, the psalmist has spoken on this topic, and has always seemed to find some good in it. Verse 67 says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” Yes, I learned something good from this affliction and now I keep God’s word. And then in verse 71 he wrote, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” Okay. Once again, I’m going to learn more of God’s statutes because of this affliction. But now is verse 107 he opines, “I am afflicted very much; revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.” Wow. I’m getting tired of this. Please Lord, revive me because I’ve just about had enough.

The apostle Paul had special personal afflictions, and general afflictions from a variety of sources; yet he persevered in the power of the Holy Spirit. When he pleaded with the Lord about a particular thorn in the flesh that he wanted to be removed, Jesus told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12.9). The thorn was left in place as a permanent affliction, but he was made stronger because of it. Then on another occasion he wrote, “…I was delivered out of the mouth of a lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever” (2 Tim. 4.17, 18). Paul understood what Solomon meant when he wrote, “Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart” (Prov. 20.30). Paul’s goal was always to become more like Jesus, and so whatever affliction happened in his life was an affliction moving him closer to that ultimate desire. Paul’s goal is ours to imitate. (1 Cor. 11.1)

Take heart, dear friends, because when we are in the throes of affliction we can pray these comforting words:
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
against the wrath of my enemies, and
Your right hand will save me.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
do not forsake the works of Your hands” (Ps. 138.7, 8).

He is the sure cure for our affliction.

For reflection
1. Affliction can bring out the worst in you. Explain.

2. Affliction can bring out the best in you. Explain.

3. How can you help another believer who is going through a season of affliction?

We must also observe attentively the last part of the clause, according to thy word. We will pray coldly, or rather we will not pray at all, if God's promise does not inspire us with courage in our sorrow and distress. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.107

Pray Psalm 119.111, 112.
Pray that God would more deeply embed His Law in Your heart, and you will, like Jeremiah (Jer. 15.16), find the Word to be a source of great nourishment and joy.

Sing Psalm 119.111, 112.
(Slane: Be Thou My Vision)
I take Your Word as the joy of my heart,
my trust, my heritage, my special part.
I bend my heart to perform all Your Word,
always, forever, to serve You, O Lord.


T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, 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.

The winds of false doctrine are exceedingly strong in our day. If we don’t recognize them, we may become swept up in them and blown off course in our walk with Lord. Our ReVision study on “Winds of Doctrine” can help you keep the sails of your soul in the wind of God’s Spirit. You can download all the studies in this series by clicking 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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