The Blessedness of Afflictions
Thursday the 20th of Julyin Meditations I
Before we turn on the light in the middle of the night, the darkness keeps us from seeing the objects that are around us. But after the light is turned on we can see them. And we do well to bear in mind that we are in the night of sin and death, and that in that darkness we cannot see our sins as sins and realize the awfulness of their punishment.
A truth we do well to bear in mind therefore is that God must, and in His grace does, turn on the light by sending afflictions. That is right! By means of afflictions God opens our eyes to the fact that there is a curse upon this earth because of sin, and that "the wages of sin is death." That is why the psalmist writes in Psalm 119:67,68, "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy word. Thou art good and doest good; teach me Thy statutes."
That he went astray means that he went into ways of sin and death. And when God afflicted him, He also in His grace, and by His Spirit, made him see his waywardness as sin, and that he deserved God's wrath upon him. In that way God brought him back to keep His word.
After God turned on the light for him, He also caused the psalmist to write, "Thou art good and doest good." Indeed, by all our sicknesses and diseases, sorrows, and bereavements God opens our eyes to the fact of sin and guilt and to bring us to pray, as the psalmist does, that He will teach us His statutes.
No, these afflictions do not deny the fact that Christ suffered all our punishment and blotted out all our guilt. But while we are still in this sinful flesh we need afflictions, and to see afflictions upon the world around us, to make us aware of our sins and to appreciate the cross of Christ and thereby taste God's goodness. We cannot do that if we do not see ourselves as sinners.
Let us therefore with the psalmist sing:
Before my affliction I wandered,
But now Thy good word I obey;
Thou, Who art holy and gracious,
Now teach me Thy statutes, I pray.
Song for Meditation: Psalter #367
Why not sing along??
"Good works are the best ornament; these are, in the sight of God, of great price. Those that profess godliness should, in their dress, as well as other things, act as becomes their profession; instead of laying out their money on fine clothes, they must lay it out in good works of piety and charity...."Matthew Henry on I Tim.2:9-10