It seems that many will not truly understand God’s goodness unless they experience affliction.
When we live with abundance and prosperity, then it is easy to take for granted our many benefits and blessings. If we experience no real difficulties, then our heart can become proud and demanding.
This is the problem of our human nature. When all our needs and wants are satisfied, we easily become puffed up with our own self-importance.
It is only by God’s goodness that we have any of our needs and wants fulfilled. But there is a danger hidden within our prosperity. If we are not of a humble and thankful spirit, then the prideful tendency of our human nature will cause us to become indifferent and rebellious to God’s ways.
We see from the Scriptures that God designed afflictions, corrections, and disciplines for our good:
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept Your Word. … 71) It is good for me that I have been afflicted (humbled); that I might learn Your Statutes (Psalms 119:67,71)
Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, whom You teach him out of Your law [Torah]. (Psalms 94:12)
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. … 13) Then will I teach transgressors Your ways; and sinners shall be converted unto You. (see all of Psalms 51)
Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects: therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. (Job 5:17)
For even hereunto were you called: because Messiah [Christ] also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. (1Peter 2:21)
Though He were a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)
In the above Scriptures we see that it is by our afflictions — the chastening of the Almighty — that we learn 1) to yield to God’s ways; 2) to follow His Word; and 3) to have a right spirit renewed within us. Messiah Himself left us His example — that it is by our afflictions (our sufferings) that we should learn obedience to God’s will.
Messiah was a man of sorrow and was well acquainted with grief. This was part of the suffering He endured for our sake. As followers of Messiah… will we learn to follow His example by enduring sorrow, afflictions and chastisements? We can learn such endurance IF we are tender-hearted, if we are of a humble and contrite (sorrowful, repentant) spirit (Isaiah 57:15).
As we saw in No Discipline Seems Pleasant, chastisement, correction, rebuke — all of these are painful experiences for every one of us. It is especially painful to our pride! However, all of Father’s children need correction at times. Correction, chastisement — these are sorrowful experiences! But without Father’s loving corrections, we would not be able to mature and learn the power and truth of God’s ways. This is why the Scripture says: It is good for me that I have been afflicted (humbled); that I might learn Your Statutes. (Psalms 119:71)
Therefore in times of afflictions, trials, chastisement, we need to humble ourselves and draw near to God. Trials are meant to open our eyes to see our entanglements with worldly traps and thus begin to seek the mercy of our Father God, Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God]. We need to earnestly seek to learn the lessons that our heavenly Father wants to teach us.
Whom Yahuwah Loves He Corrects
By His great mercy, our heavenly Father is constantly dealing with each one of us through His Holy Spirit, prodding us to maintain our humility and our obedience to His written Word (James 4:8-10). However, there comes a time when God’s merciful patience must give way to His loving chastisement:
My child, do not despise the chastening of Yahuwah [the LORD], nor faint or become weary when you are rebuked by Him. For whom Yahuwah loves, He corrects; even as a Father, the son in whom He delights. (Proverbs 3:11-12; see also Hebrews 12:5-6)
Those of us who are members of Yahuwah’s family, who have entered His Kingdom through His Son, must ask ourselves these questions:
- “What is the goal that God has in mind for me at this time?”
- “Will I seek what is God’s plan of action for me?”
Queen Esther was someone who was in the midst of a tremendous affliction. Her affliction was great indeed, for she was facing the total destruction of her entire people! But she set her heart on the Mighty One of Israel, trusting in Him to help her, and bring deliverance to her people (Deuteronomy 33:26-27). And just as Queen Esther was strategically placed in the king’s palace, so we too are here on this earth during a crucial time in history, ‘for such a time as this!‘ (Esther 4:14).
So, what should we do at this time? What does God expect of His children at this moment? He has told us!
If My People
If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2Chronicles 7:14)
Many of God’s people are familiar with the above Scripture. But have we seriously done God’s four requirements that are necessary for receiving God’s forgiveness and the healing of our land? This is certainly a time in history when God’s people need to earnestly seek Him for forgiveness and healing! I have written about these four requirements in the following articles:
- Humble ourselves – Receiving God’s Mercy: Step 1
- Pray – When You Pray
- Seek His face – Preparing Our Heart to Seek God
- Turn from our wicked ways – The Way of the Wicked: A Warning
We might know what it means to humble ourselves. We might know what it means to spend quality, heart-searching time in secret prayer, and to seek God’s face by reading, studying, and obeying His Word. But let us briefly consider… what are the ways of ‘the wicked’? – what are we to turn away from?
Simply put, when any of us, at any time, reject God’s Word and His instructions, then that is wickedness! Psalms 50:16-17 is a good description of what ‘the wicked’ do.
But unto the wicked God says, What is it to you, to declare My Statutes, and to take up My Covenant in your mouth? 17) Seeing you hate instruction, and cast My Words behind you. (Psalms 50:16-17)
The ‘wicked’ hate God’s written instruction [correction, discipline]. They turn their back on Him, by casting God’s Words away.
We can find much instruction regarding afflictions from Psalms 107.
It is from this Psalm that we learn that spiritual darkness and afflictions come because of rebelling against the Word of God, and from despising the counsel of the Most High. It is from this Psalm that we learn that afflictions come because of our transgressions and iniquities:
Those who sit in the darkness and in the shadow of death, being chained in affliction and iron, 11) because they rebelled against the Words of God, and despised the advice of the Most High. … 17) Fools because of their transgression and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. (Psalms 107:10-11,17)
And, it is from this Psalm that we learn at least two things for what to do in our times of affliction.
First of all, it is stated three times, we are to cry out to Yahuwah in our trouble:
- Then they cried unto Yahuwah [the LORD] in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. (Psalms 107:13)
- Then they cry unto Yahuwah [the LORD] in their trouble, and He saves them out of their distresses. (Psalms 107:19)
- Then they cry unto Yahuwah [the LORD] in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. (Psalms 107:28)
Then second, it is stated three times, we are to praise Yahuwah for His goodness to us:
- Oh that men would praise Yahuwah [the LORD] for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:15)
- Oh that men would praise Yahuwah [the LORD] for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:21)
- Oh that men would praise Yahuwah [the LORD] for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:31)
This Psalm teaches us to cry out to Yahuwah, and to praise Him and be thankful to Him, whenever we are going through our afflictions. His merciful lovingkindness is evident by the many times He saves us out of our distresses! Those who have called on the heavenly Father in their moments of need know of His wonderful, awesome works — that Yahuwah is indeed the Living, Eternal God of tender mercies (Psalms 51:1; Psalms 145:9).
Psalm 107 ends with a very significant instruction:
Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of Yahuwah [the LORD]. (Psalms 107:43)
The High and Lofty One Who Inhabits Eternity
The whole world is suffering through many afflictions of turmoil and violent disturbance. This certainly is a time to fervently seek God and shelter under the shadow of the Almighty. Will we truly seek Him, and yield our heart and our actions to His ways? His ways are truly merciful if we will only yield to Him and follow Him with all our heart! His lovingkindness has always been abundant toward us, even before we were ever aware of Him (Romans 5:8)!
Let us remember, that whom Yahuwah loves, He corrects! Chastisements are from our loving heavenly Father! They are part of Father’s refining process, to transform us into His image. But without afflictions and corrections, we will not humble ourselves, we will not judge ourselves, and we will not turn away from our wicked ways (1Corinthians 11:31-32).
If there is no chastisement, then there will be no maturing, and no learning the truth of God’s ways: It is good for me that I have been afflicted (humbled); that I might learn Your Statutes (Psalms 119:71) (James 1:2-4)
Only by the power of the High and Lofty One, Yahuwah Elohim, can we be delivered from affliction. But He has promised us that if we, His people, will humble ourselves, cry out to Him, seek Him, and turn from our wicked ways, then He will save us, and bring us out of our distresses!
Let us be as King David who said: “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now . . . I have kept Your Word.”
- 7 Tips For Enduring Trials
- God’s Faithful Warning Signals: Learning Our Lessons
- Enlightening the Eyes of Our Understanding: 5 Steps
- Lead Me In Your Truth: Part 1 – The Basics
- Whom Father Loves, He Corrects
- The Way of the Cross
- The Royal Way
- Acquiring a Teachable Heart
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