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Comfort In Affliction - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
August 1, 2022 12:00 am

Comfort In Affliction - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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August 1, 2022 12:00 am

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes” (Psalm 119:71).

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Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise, The worries of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace.

This is Lecerre Bradley Jr. welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. Worthy of praise is Christ our Redeemer, Worthy of glory, honor, and power, Worthy of all our souls adoration, Worthy our power, worthy our power, Worthy of riches, blessings, and honor, Worthy of wisdom, glory, and power, Worthy of birth and heaven's thanksgiving, Worthy of love, worthy of love. Lift up the voice in praise and devotion, Saints of all earth before him should bow, Angels in heaven worship him saying, Worthy of love, worthy of love, Worthy of riches, blessings, and honor, Worthy of wisdom, glory, and power, Worthy of birth and heaven's thanksgiving, Worthy of love, worthy of love. Lord, may we come before thee with singing, Filled with thy spirit, wisdom, and power, May we ascribe thee glory and honor, Worthy of power, worthy of power, Worthy of riches, blessings, and honor, Worthy of wisdom, glory, and power, Worthy of birth and heaven's thanksgiving, Worthy of love, worthy of love. As we continue our study in Psalm 119, we come to a section we've entitled, Comfort in Affliction. Certainly there are many people that have gone through a variety of sufferings over the past few years, and we're thankful to come to this part that brings comfort that we find in the Word of God. If the message is a blessing to you, we'd like to hear from you.

Mention the call letters of the station over which you hear the broadcast and address your letter to the Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. As we continue our study in the Psalms, we're looking at Psalm 119, and we'll read that segment from verse 65 to 72. We previously looked at a couple of verses here, but let's begin reading with verse 65. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according unto thy word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I have believed thy commandments. Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now have I kept thy word.

Thou art good and doest good. Teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me, but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease, but I delight in thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.

The law of thy mouth is better than thousands of gold and silver. In this section of Psalm 119, and to some degree a couple of the sections following, see that the emphasis is on affliction. What does it mean when God's people suffer?

How should they respond? What hope and encouragement do they have? The whole issue of suffering is one that is often misunderstood. There has been much controversy about it among various religious leaders. But we need to find our answers in the Word of God, not according to our own speculation, not according to how we may personally feel about a particular issue, but what does God's Word say? The Scriptures abound with information on this topic. And of course, in the Psalms, we see in intricate detail the depth of the struggle through which God's people may pass when they're suffering physically, or suffering because of the attacks of enemies, which is something that David deals with frequently, or if they're suffering some great adversity that they simply cannot understand, they don't know why it has come, why it's come at this time, or suffering from spiritual struggles in doubt, fear, struggling in an attempt to pray and finding it difficult even to approach God and wondering if the Lord has clean gone forever, as one expressed it. So with a repeated emphasis on this subject matter in the Psalms, and of course in the writings of the Apostles in the New Testament, we know that this is a vital subject.

It's important that God's people understand what the Scriptures say about it. Our subject is comfort in affliction. First thing we note in looking at this passage is that God is involved in our afflictions. It's not just a matter of chance.

Somebody said, well, I'm sure an unlucky person. Just everywhere I turn, something bad seems to be happening. No, it's clear that God is involved. Verse 71, it says, It is good for me that I had been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes. Verse 67, before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now have I kept thy word. God is involved. Now, afflictions come for a variety of reasons.

Some obviously come for correction, as verse 67 indicates. I'd gone astray, but now affliction has drawn me back. Now I've been obedient.

Now I have kept thy word. As God may send afflictions our way, for the purpose of correcting us, bringing about a change in us, we want to be very sensitive to His work. As He touches us, let us pray that we'll be able to clearly understand where we have erred, what changes need to be made, be brought quickly to repentance, humble ourselves at His feet, acknowledging that we have no grounds for complaint, but asking that His name will be honored in this time of our trouble.

Hebrews chapter 12 deals with this at length. Hebrews chapter 12, reading in the fifth verse, And ye have forgotten the agitation which speaketh unto you as unto children. My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him. This indicates that the chastening may be severe, because you perhaps will feel like you're going to faint in the process. I feel the route of correction upon me.

I see that God's hand has touched me. He indeed is dealing with me, and I don't know that I can hold out much longer. I feel like I'm going to collapse.

I feel like I must give up. But He says, Do not despise the chastening. For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.

This chastisement is an evidence of God's love, an evidence that He cares for you. You know, there's been a strange notion prevalent in our culture over the last years that parents really ought to be very gentle in the way they approach their children, and certainly they ought to be kind and loving and gracious, but carried to such an extreme that a child should never really be corrected or the rod be applied. Many parents seem to think that it's their role to be a buddy to their children, and they don't want to be telling them no, because it may cause the child not to like them. As far-fetched as that seems, I've talked to parents that had that philosophy. I'm afraid, somebody says, to take that stand.

I want my children to like me. Well, it's interesting how these trends go for a while, and then finally people wake up to the fact that it's not working. There was an article in U.S. News and World Report this week about several organizations that have now been developed for the purpose of helping parents learn how to say no. Now, isn't it remarkable that it would take several websites and several organizations to give parents the courage to say no?

No is a vital word, because many times children want what is not good for them. And you may have observed that they sometimes want to test you and see just how many times they can ask and you will still say no. They may have learned over a period of time just how long it takes to wear you down.

And you finally say, oh okay, go on then, I'm tired of hearing from you, just go ahead and do it. And all that's done is disrupt the whole program of child rearing and you're failing to train them and give them the guidance that they need. Now God loves His children so much that He will say no. God loves them so much that He will correct them with a rod. God loves them so much that He will inflict pain upon them in a variety of ways to get their attention and to bring about a change in their life. Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of His people. So when you suffer, it's not that you're paying for your sin, sometimes you are reaping the consequences of your action, but when the Lord chastises you, it's for the purpose of changing you.

He's going to make something out of you. If you be without chastisement, where of all the partakers, then your bastards are not sons. Furthermore, we've had fathers of our flesh which corrected us. It's just an assumption here that the fathers of the flesh would correct their children.

The idea of being unable to say no, the idea of never being able to take a firm stand and correct a child is foreign to the teaching of the Bible. We gave them reverence, shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live, for they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure. That is according to the way they saw best, they weren't always perfect, they didn't always do it exactly right, but at the same time it was for, but He, that is our Heavenly Father, for our prophet that we might be partakers of His holiness. That's the end in view, to turn us from sin, to conform us to the image of Christ, to make us a partaker of His holiness. Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous but grievous, nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth a peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

That's the benefit. So some affliction comes to bring about correction. We've gone astray and it's God's purpose to bring us back.

Some comes for instruction. Does it mean that you've strayed? Does it mean that you have disobeyed and turned aside from the Word of God, but God's going to teach you something? That certainly was the case with the Apostle Paul. Here was a faithful, dedicated servant of God, a man that had had a variety of unique experiences, a man who had a great work before him, God intended to use him in a mighty way. And we might conclude that if God's going to use this man, He will protect him, shield him from every conceivable interruption, any suffering, any problem that might get in his way. But to the contrary, the Lord gives him a thorn in the flesh for the purpose of keeping him humble.

He prayed that God would remove it. But in 2 Corinthians 12, 9, God says, My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities and reproaches and necessities and persecutions and distresses for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then am I strong. This affliction, this thorn in the flesh, whatever it was, was for the purpose of letting this great servant of God know continually that he was weak. After being caught up into the third heaven and having special revelations, it would have been very easy for him to be exalted. And God's not going to use one who is exalted in himself. Whether it's a minister of the gospel, whether it's any one of God's children in His kingdom, whatever place of service you have, you will have to walk humbly before Him to be effectively used. So God sent this trial to the apostle that he might know his own weakness.

This is for the purpose then of instructing him. Some suffering comes simply because it is the purpose of God to get glory from it. This is the one where so many people have real trouble, have a hard time just taking what the Bible says about it. I have not heard people say, oh well now if God is a loving God, I just cannot believe that He would allow somebody to go on perpetually in suffering.

He's either lacking in power to do something about it or in love because He doesn't care. But let's look at what Jesus said in the Gospel of John chapter 9. Verse 1 says, And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? This is always the thinking of human beings apart from divine revelation. This man has done something wrong, his parents have done something wrong.

What's involved here? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. Now Jesus healed that blind man. Obviously Jesus doesn't heal all who are blind. But let me tell you about his divine sovereignty, he's involved in the matter. The purpose as to why this man suffered blindness was for the glory of God.

God was going to be glorified in him. Now is that not a sufficient reason for any of us, whatever our suffering or affliction may be, to bow and say, Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight. Affliction is a heavy burden, the pain often is intense, the trouble of my heart often is disturbing, but Lord, if you're going to get glory from it, you have a purpose in this.

I must not murmur, I must not complain. Sometimes affliction comes because it's God's purpose to display the faith of his people. That was certainly true in the case of Job. You remember that Satan appeared before God. Job chapter 1 verse 8, And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect man, an upright man, one that feareth God and is heweth evil? Now this is God's own testimony about Job.

God says that he's an upright man, he's one that fears God. And of course Satan's response is, Why sure, he worships you because you've prospered him. It's like you put a hedge about him, nothing can touch him, everything he touches turns to gold.

He's a rich man, he's a man that's highly esteemed, he's got a great family, everything's going his way. God says we can take all that away from him and see what happens. His wealth is gone, his family's gone. Satan makes another try, well, let me touch his body and see what happens. Now his health is gone.

What's he say? The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord. And what does God say about it all? As he inspires the writing of the New Testament, he says to consider his servant Job, look at his experience, look at his endurance, see what he went through. Here is a testimony as clear as one could possibly be, that this man would worship God not because of what he was given, not because he was attempting to receive more, but he would worship God because God was worthy to be worshiped, and when it was all gone he'd still say, though he slay me, yet will I trust him. Certainly he had some difficult days. He had some very dark times, he struggled with a lot of questions, but he's a marvelous example of God's work in one's life so that the result of faith is, I'll trust God no matter what. It's comforting then to know in whatever affliction that may come our way, God's hand is in it.

When attempts to explain suffering always miss the mark, logic, human reasoning, speculation all comes terribly short. Rabbi Kushner wrote a book a few years ago, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, and in that, he said something like this, God often would like to give you a smoother path, a better life, but he just can't pull it off. When the bridge collapsed recently in Minneapolis, he appeared on public radio for an hour's interview and in the process he said, God is just not all-powerful. He couldn't have done anything about that collapse because he just doesn't have all power. John Piper, whose church was just a mile from that bridge, said God wouldn't have had to be all-powerful to do something about it. He could have just caused a little tremble as those workers were at that time working on the bridge and frightened them enough to get off and to tell everybody else to stop. Wouldn't have had to hold the bridge up.

He could have just shaken it a little bit and that would have been enough. But obviously it was not the design of God to intervene and hold up the bridge or warn people in advance. Oh, I know the wheels start turning and the questions start rising. How can this be? But friends, we are living in an imperfect world. We're living in a world that's under the curse of sin and God has not promised to protect us from every potential trouble, all of the many disasters that may confront us. Rabbi Kushner went on to say that God just does not control the laws of nature. They're independent.

They operate on their own. What comfort could possibly be given to anybody to suggest that what you have encountered, the sorrow that you're presently having to endure, was just by chance, it's just one of those things. There could be no purpose behind it, nothing to be learned, nothing that could possibly be beneficial, no good that could come out of it.

But recognizing God's hand gives us comfort, though we don't understand. The psalmist said, Psalm 39 in the ninth verse, I was dumb because thou ditched it. I closed my mouth. I did not speak. I did not complain. I did not reply.

Why? Because thou ditched it. I recognized the hand of God. Job said in Job 19, verse 21, the hand of God hath touched me. Some present day thinkers suggest that God didn't have anything to do with what was going on in Job's life. It was all Satan.

How did Job get involved to start with? God brought up his name. You think God didn't know what was going to transpire? Was this all a surprise to God? God said, look at my servant Job. And Job says, the hand of God hath touched me. What a difference when we recognize God's hand. God's sovereignty in our trials, in our troubles, gives us an entirely different outlook. Isaiah chapter 48, says in verse 10, Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver. I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

Here was a purpose of affliction. I'm refining you. I'm consuming the dross.

You're going to come out as gold. I'm going to make something out of you that's beneficial. I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction. That's purpose.

That's my design. That's God's purpose for His people. In the furnace of affliction, it is there that you're going to be taught.

You see, God is working, though we cannot see it. I'm glad you've been with us today. I hope you'll come back at this same time tomorrow for the second part of the message entitled comfort in affliction. If you would like to help with the support of the program, you can do so by going to our website at baptispiblehour.org. Till we greet you next time, this is LeSaire 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. This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, praising my Savior, all the day long.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-27 21:03:13 / 2022-11-27 21:11:55 / 9

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