Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise, Thou for it's of my God and King, Thou triumphs of his grace.
This is Lisei Bradley, Jr., welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. In the ridded rock I'm resting, Safely sheltered I abide. There now falls, your songs will bless me, While within the cleft I hide. Now I'm resting, sweetly resting, In the cleft what's made for me. Jesus, blessed Mark of ages, I will hide myself in thee.
Long pursued by sin and Satan, Weary said I long for rest. Then I found this heavenly shelter, Opened in my Savior's breast. Now I'm resting, sweetly resting, In the cleft what's made for me. Jesus, blessed Mark of ages, I will hide myself in thee.
Peace which passeth understanding, Joy the world can never give. Now in Jesus I am finding, In his files of love I live. Now I'm resting, sweetly resting, In the cleft what's made for me. Jesus, blessed Mark of ages, I will hide myself in thee. In the ridded rock I'll hide me, Till the storm of life is past. All secure in this blessed refuge, In naught the fiercest blast. Now I'm resting, sweetly resting, In the cleft what's made for me.
Jesus, blessed Mark of ages, I will hide myself in thee. I want to remind you that we depend on our listeners for support. And if you can help us at this time, it'll be greatly appreciated.
You can make a donation at our website BaptistBibleHour.org. So now we continue with part two of the message, Comfort in Affliction. Over and over again, I've had people say to me, Well, I just don't see how God can be in this. I don't see how any good can come out of it.
Everything seems to be going wrong. I don't see, I don't see, I don't see. That's the point, friends. This is not a matter of seeing. This is a matter of believing. This is a matter of trusting God.
This is a matter of relying on His Word. Whoever could have said, I can see something good coming out of this event. Here's a teenage boy that is being sold into slavery.
I can see something very worthwhile coming later on. You look at that and you say, that's a tragedy. His own brothers hate him? His own brothers are the ones selling him into slavery?
We see this young man as a slave being falsely accused and he goes to prison. Can't see any good in that. No possibility. No good in that.
Can't see it. Oh, but you know the story. Behind the scenes, God was very much at work in Joseph's life. God was fulfilling a purpose that is so involved, we couldn't begin to trace all the avenues of it.
The whole scene ultimately involved the redemption of His people. Because through this lineage, ultimately Christ would be born. And everybody had to be in the right place at the right time as God's purposes unfold. But see, it's not enough for me to tell you that if I can't support it with God's Word. So let's look at what the scriptures say. Genesis chapter 45. This is Joseph talking to his brothers. Verse 7, And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither but God.
And He hath made me a father to Pharaoh and the Lord of all of His house and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Were those brothers involved? Certainly. Did they do what they wanted to do?
Yes, they did. They did it out of an evil heart and they were accountable for their actions. But Joseph said there was something going on behind the scenes that none of us could see. God is the one that sent me before you to preserve a posterity in the earth.
Again, somebody said, well that's too deep for me. I can't figure out how they were accountable and still God was orchestrating this event. There's only one thing required. You don't have to figure out all the ramifications. You don't have to say I understand that perfectly. But you do have to believe it because that's what God's Word says. Chapter 50, Genesis chapter 50 verse 19, Joseph said unto them, Fear not. This is after the death of Jacob and they're now full of anxiety as to how Joseph will react.
Maybe they think that he'll treat us differently now that our father's gone. He says, Am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me. But God meant it unto good to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Yes, your motivation was wrong, your actions were wrong, but God meant it for good. That's reassuring, isn't it? Rabbi Kushner in his interview said, Don't try to explain to people the why of anything. Just try to console them. Well, there's certainly nothing wrong at that initial moment when a person has been struck with tragedy and a great crisis has touched their life.
Simply to embrace them in love, assure them that you care, give them all of the help and encouragement necessary. But I tell you, as the days pass, that will grow pretty thin if they don't have some deeper understanding of what's going on. You see, people need to be taught, taught what God's Word says, and that's what the psalmist is telling us in this passage, that in his affliction he was learning something from the Word of God that had been extremely beneficial to him. So, affliction is for the good of God's people. Verse 71 says that he gained greater understanding. He learned things that he would never have learned otherwise.
Has that not been true in your experience? When have you learned the most? Sometimes you sit down to read the Bible and it just doesn't seem to provide any valuable information at the moment, no great comfort. But I want to tell you, when you're in that time of affliction, when you're pressed down, when you've got heartache and suffering, and you're going to the Bible and praying, Lord, I desperately need help. And then one of those precious promises seems to just jump off the page, and so I've read that many times before, but it was never like it is today.
How rich that is, how sweet that is to me, how meaningful that is, how you thank God for it. Or you gain some insight as to what God is doing in the lives of his people when affliction comes. You say, oh yeah, I've always heard about chastisement, but it never really sunk in. I see now that the purpose of chastisement is to change me. And that's worthwhile, that's good, if in my affliction I've learned to hate sin more and love righteousness and to be more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we see that he not only gained understanding, learning more of the truth, but he learned to obey it. It doesn't matter how much you've learned, you might be able to write an interesting dissertation about your experience and the time of your affliction and say, this is all I've learned.
But if you never do anything about it, it's not beneficial. But he says, before I was afflicted I went astray, now have I kept thy word. I not only learned something, I've done something. I've changed. I'm a different person than I used to be. God has humbled me. God has spoken to me. God has broken my heart. God has helped me to change my priorities. I see what his word says. I see what's expected of me. That's the way I want to live.
That's what I want to do. I want to live in the way that's going to bring glory to God. You see, that affliction is for the good of his people. In verse 75, he says, I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right. Whatever God determines in these matters, whatever God is doing, Lord, thou art right. I don't have any reason to question it.
I don't have any right to challenge it. What God does is right. And that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. God is faithful in affliction. First of all, he's faithful in sending affliction at the right time, sending us affliction that we need, and that he's faithful in supporting us in the time of it. How good to be reminded that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Back in verse 65, he says, God has dealt well with thy servant according to thy word. Verse 68, thou art good and doest good.
Teach me thy statutes. Have you ever had a conversation with somebody who said, I'm really upset with the Lord. I feel like he's let me down. Have you been tempted to say that at some point in your life? Notice, with all of the trials that this man faced, all of the adversaries even that were seeking his life, all the troubles that came, he says, thou hast dealt well with me.
Thou art good. He's not questioning the goodness of God. And then, verse 74, they that fear thee will be glad when they see me because I have hoped in thy word. Now, if you come in contact with somebody who's gone through a lot of trouble, but all they can do is complain about it, you're not particularly glad to see them, are you? You think, here we go again.
I'm going to have to hear every detail about every ache and every pain and how unfair it was and how inappropriate it was and why did all this happen to me. But if you see somebody coming and here's a person that's gone through many a trial, but you can tell that that affliction has sweetened their spirit. It's brought them into closer fellowship with God. You'd delight to see them. They that fear thee will be glad when they see me.
Why? Because I've hoped in thy word. Because I didn't allow myself to become bitter. I didn't resent God because he didn't do things exactly as I wanted him to do it. And so, since I've learned something from the Word, those that fear God delight to see me coming because I can be a blessing in their life.
I can be instrumental in giving them guidance and help along the way. Affliction is good for God's people, so we see that it certainly was good with regard to the psalmist experience, but not only so we can see it in the case of many others. Jonah chapter 2 in the second verse, Jonah prayed and said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me out of the belly of hell, cried I, and thou heardest my voice. But somebody might say, didn't Jonah get himself into this mess? Indeed he did.
He was going the wrong direction. Rather than obeying God, he bought passage on a ship to go in the opposite direction from which God had commanded him to go. But did not God send the affliction?
Absolutely. He sent the storm. The trouble was of Jonah's own making, and sometime you will be afflicted as a result of having gone astray. You've gotten yourself into the mess, but do you not desperately need the Lord in that very moment? Jonah knew at this point, I need help and only God can give it. I cried unto the Lord out of the belly of hell, I cried and he heard me.
He heard me. How wonderful when we can see the many examples in scripture where God's people under a variety of circumstances have learned to trust Him in the midst of their trials. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians chapter 1 verse 12, But I would that ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me, that is, he's now a prisoner, not able to travel and circulate the gospel as he would like, but the things that have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.
The gospel has now found its way into the palace, and many are talking about Jesus Christ. He saw that there was good in His affliction. Good is in view. We seldom can see the good at the time, but it comes back to this matter of believing God. Let's look at Jeremiah chapter 24. Who could possibly imagine that any good was going to come out of the people being disrupted, uprooted from their homeland, carried into captivity, but he says in Jeremiah 24 verse 5, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
They're going to captivity, but it's going to be for their good. For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land, and I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. God said concerning this same event that I think good thoughts toward you. The Word gives us hope in affliction. See if you just speculate, if you listen to philosophers that leave God out, that do not respect His Word, that come up with their own opinions, no matter how valid those things may appear to be on the surface, if they're not biblically correct, you want to be left in the dark.
You want to be terribly confused, but the Word gives hope. Verse 92 of Psalm 119 said, unless thy law had been my delights, I should have perished in my affliction. Unless I had turned to your law, that is turn to your Word, if it had not been my delight, I would have perished.
It would have been all over, I would have given up. Think of it, how many times you may have been near to despair and say, I just can't take anymore, but where did you find help? You go to the Word of God, you find out God's hand has touched you, you find out the reason of it. God is teaching you, God is training you, God's going to do something for you. Verse 81, my soul fainted for thy salvation, but I hope in thy Word. Where does the hope come from?
Where does the information come from that we so desperately need? Comes from his Word. The Word informs us that God is at work. Verse 75, I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness has afflicted me. So that's one of the benefits of turning to the Word, knowing God has a purpose in this, and that God will be with his people in the time of their affliction, no matter how dark the night, no matter how terrible the burden may be.
Oh, we could all think of a variety of things and say, well, if I ever had to face this trouble or that trouble, I don't think I could get through it, and certainly we would have to concede that we cannot of ourselves, but the promise that God will be with us means everything. Isaiah records the words where God says that I was afflicted when you were afflicted. In other words, when you were in your day of trouble, I was there with you.
You weren't by yourself. In all their affliction, he too was afflicted. Psalm 34, verse 19, many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. The righteous, the people of God, those who are seeking to serve him and honor him will yet have many afflictions, but he will deliver them. Maybe not in the way that you anticipate, maybe not on your timetable, but in his own way to the glory of his name and for your good and benefit, he will deliver. The Word of God proves to be extremely beneficial and gives us hope and affliction because we also can learn there that affliction is often a wake-up call.
What's he say? Before I was afflicted, I went astray. Sometimes we're going astray and we don't even recognize it.
It's like Christian and the pilgrim's progress, that when he was over on By-Path Meadow, it appeared for a little while that it was going exactly alongside the way, but soon there was a variance and it led him off in the wrong direction, where he was soon a prisoner in Doubting Castle. Sometimes we go astray and we haven't even recognized it. We've lit up on the reading of God's Word. We haven't been diligent in prayer. Our thoughts are consumed with the goals that we've set, the money we want to make, the trips we want to take, the entertainment that we want to be involved in. Gradually we've drifted. But affliction comes, trouble strikes, and what is it?
It's a wake-up call. God said, you've forgotten me. God says, you've gotten your priorities out of place. You've forgotten, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. You'll learn that from the Word. Before I was afflicted, I went astray. Now I've kept thy Word. And certainly, whatever the circumstances, whether we have been brought into this affliction as a result of our own wayward path because we have gone astray or God has appointed this time to teach us and train us, we need his mercy. And that is available to us. Verse 76, let I pray thee thy merciful kindness be for my comfort.
What's going to be your comfort? Not human speculation, but the mercy of God according unto the Word of thy servant. Lord, I realize I have failed. I've come short. What I need is mercy. Let thy tender mercies come unto me that I may live for thy law is my delight. Is God calling you today through affliction? You may be facing the greatest trial of your life.
Your trial may not be of that magnitude. Yours may be the first gentle probings by the Spirit of God to wake you up, to call you back. Are you responding to the wake-up call? Oh, how many times God may have put the chastening rod upon you and you made some temporary adjustments. How often I've seen people when the crisis was severe, they say, just tell me what's the Word of God require. I'm ready to do anything, whatever it takes to make things better.
I want to live closer to the Lord. All kinds of promises made and then the pain subsides. The situation improves and the promises are soon forgotten.
Back to the same old habits, same old way of life. How sad to have to go through the same trial again and again because you didn't listen. Are you resentful of the circumstances in which you find yourself? Or can you say with the psalmist, God is good and what he does is right? Are you resentful to the point that you're just consumed with your troubles and that occupies your attention rather than to think about God? What are you learning from God's Word during your affliction? What have you learned? David said, I learned something. I learned from the Word of God. It's made a difference in my life.
There's been a transformation, there's been a change. There may be someone here today who's never made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. And God may be dealing with you through affliction. We sometimes sing, afflictions though they seem severe, in mercy oft are sent. They stopped the prodigal's career and caused him to repent.
Although he no relenting felt till he had spent his store, his stubborn heart began to melt when famine pinched him sore. God speaks to us through our trials. Once again, I want to give you our mailing address. We'd love to hear from you. We certainly would appreciate your support. Our address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17, 037 Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Till we greet you next time, this is LaSara Bradley Jr. bidding you goodbye, and may God bless you. It is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. It is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, praising my Savior, praising my Savior all the day long.
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