Grace to Sustain Us
Category : General
Psalm 34: 19 (KJV)
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
It has been observed that the Psalmist here anticipates the thought which often arises in the mind, “How can it be that God has a care about the righteous, who are continually harassed with so many calamities and trials? for what purpose does the protection of God serve, unless those who are peaceably inclined enjoy peace and repose? and what is more unreasonable, than that those who cause trouble to no one should themselves be tormented and afflicted in all variety of ways?”
Further conclusion has been drawn, that, therefore, the temptations by which we are continually assailed may not shake our belief in the providence of God, but we ought to remember this lesson of instruction, that although God governs the righteous, and provides for their safety, they are yet subject and exposed to many miseries, that, being tested by such trials, they may give evidence of their invincible constancy, and experience so much the more that God is their deliverer. If they were exempted from every kind of trial, their faith would languish, they would cease to call upon God, and their piety would remain hidden and unknown. It is, therefore, necessary that they should be exercised with various trials, and especially for this end, that they may acknowledge that they have been wonderfully preserved by God amidst numberless deaths. If this should seldom happen, it might appear to be fortuitous, or the result of chance; but when innumerable and interminable evils come upon them in succession, the grace of God cannot be unknown, when he always stretches forth his hand to them.
Let us remember that the intention here is not to affirm that the afflictions of the righteous are more numerous or more severe than the afflictions of the ungodly, but that they are subjected to much suffering, and to many trials. We are to be caution that religion does not exempt us from suffering, but it sustains us in it. It does not deliver us from all trials in this life, but it supports us in our trials, which it teaches us to consider as a preparation for the life to come. Such was the case with Job. The many afflictions of the righteous show at once how imperfect man’s righteousness is, which needs such corrective discipline, and how great is the grace of God in not only delivering His people out of afflictions but even turning their troubles into instruments of mercy. There are, indeed, sorrows which are special to the righteous, or which come upon them in virtue of their religion, as the trials of persecution; but there are sorrows, also, that are special to the wicked – such as are the effects of intemperance, dishonesty, crime. The latter are more numerous by far than the former; so that it is still true that the wicked suffer more than the righteous in this life.
Have a Great and God filled Day