September 12, 2012
- By Ed Powell
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"Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word." Psalm 119:67
How descriptive are David's words that express the experience many have had in their lives. God in His infinite grace reached into our life, and through some heart-rending experience, brought us to an awareness of our sin, our careless independence, and drew us unto Himself. Often, God uses "affliction" to bring us to the end of "our" way, only that we might find the joy and blessing of "His Way."
The writer of Hebrews says, "No chastening is for the present seems joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby" (Hebrews 12:11). When in God's permissive will, affliction befalls us, He squeezes the grapes, as it were, and out comes the wine. Most of us only see the wine. But the "process" that God has put us through (unto those who are exercised thereby) produces the joy, strength, and peace only HE can create.
When the Spirit of God reigns supreme within our hearts, it is unconquerable! What a glorious result, when with a yielded and submissive spirit we "go through the process" of His doing! "But He knows the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).
Job spoke of his dilemma, as God allowed Satan to do what he could, except to take his life. "I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by the neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark" (Job 16:12). What a thorough cleansing God did in his heart! Job cries out..."I have heard thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee" (Job 42:5). When the scales were removed from his eyes during his affliction...HE SAW GOD IN HIS HOLINESS!
Then, he saw how vile and corrupt he was in the light of a Holy God. "I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6). His deliverance and exceeding great joy were "disguised in the process of affliction" that God allowed. Then we read, "The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first." His affliction, permitted by God, was a blessing in disguise. It was all in the providence of God.
Afflictions, testings, and trials are not joyous experiences. Look at Moses and his commitment. "By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:24-27).
The discernment God gave Moses pierced the illusory shallowness of the superficial enjoyment of sin for a season. His eyes were on Jehovah; regardless of what affliction he might have to endure. He knew God was in control and would order the events of his life. We are no less precious to God than Job, Moses, David or Paul.
When we encounter affliction, may our hearts be subject to His providential care, and find "IN" these trying times the "hidden treasures" of His plan and purpose. How glorious!
"Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept thy word."
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?row=256&date=2012-09-12
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