Psalm 119:67-71 says” Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your words. You are good and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees…
When we think of affliction we think it’s the worst thing that can happen to a person. And you know what you are probably right. But there is one thing that you and I should keep in mind and that is the lessons that we learn from it. No one wants to feel agony, anguish, distress, and misery but the brighter side of the coin is maturity.
The word affliction means to be physically or mentally suffering, the condition of being sick: illness, disorder and indisposition. Something hard to bear physically or emotionally, burden trail, a cause of suffering or harm.
Here in Psalm 119:71 the Psalmist is saying it was good for him to suffer, so that he might learn God’s statues. His suffering taught him the ways of God. It is good for him that he had been afflicted is what he was saying to God. See when we don’t look pass the affliction we won’t see the growth, the affliction is for your better good. That is why we must have affliction in our lives.
Many times when God brings us out of our afflictions we soon forget, it’s not that God want you and I to remember our pain but He want you and I to remember that it was Him who got you through, this way no one can become so self-righteous within himself.
When the psalmist said that I might learn your statues what he was saying is that I know you by the experiences, which is our God experiences. It’s one thing to say “ all things work together for good…” but it’s quite another to experience it!
We have to understand affliction comes when we become spiritually dry. If you notice in verse 67 it talks about before the affliction came he went astray which means he walked away from God. And when you and I walk away we too will be afflicted.
His sufferings reveal his spiritual need. Before I was afflicted I went astray…” Here was a man who was enjoying life the way he wanted to. His life was full and satisfying so he thought but what he did not see was that his natural prosperity was disguising his spiritually bankruptcy. This man’s affliction revealed his own spiritual needs. Not all suffering is intended as a warning against spiritual decline, but there are times when this is the case. God’s mercy is seen in that He does not allow us to continue to drift away, He sent chastisement to wake us up!