Deliverance of the Afflicted

Psalms 107:8-15
Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, [being] bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and [there was] none to help. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

There are many reasons we go through trials, tribulation, sicknesses and afflictions in life. One of the things Jesus told us was that in the world we would have tribulation, but to be of good cheer for He overcame the world. Our trials and afflictions are not the more pleasant part of our life, but they can serve a valuable purpose.
Throughout the Old Testament we see the Israelites often suffering affliction due to sin or disregard for God’s order and way of doing things. There are times we see the Lord being pretty severe and exacting in His requirements Affliction and trials can do one of two things, either it causes us to seek and pursue God harder or we turn away from Him altogether.
What we are looking at here is a principle and reason why God deals with us at times through afflictions and trials. This is not about bringing condemnation on anyone because they are in this place. There are various reasons we go through trails and afflictions, our willfulness and rebellion is one of those. Let each of us search and judge their own heart in regards to what is shared here. One of the things I found in my own walk as I look back at perhaps specific times and circumstances where I went through an affliction that I felt like was a correction from the Lord. It was to deal with me in areas that I was in willful disobedience to Him. It is like the shepherd who has a lamb that keeps wandering off from the flock. Despite many warnings, exhortations and scolding it continues to venture off doing its own thing. The shepherd knows that this lamb, left to its own self-willed ways, is venturing into areas that it can become a victim and prey of the enemy of the beasts that look for weakness and separation in the flock and one they can single out for destruction. So out of loving concern for this lamb the shepherd does a harsh thing, he breaks the little lamb’s leg. Then he binds it up, anoints it and carries that lamb with him in his arms everywhere he goes. In that place of affliction that lamb learns about a place of intimacy and relationship with the Shepherd that it had never known or had before. There it learns the true character and nature of its Shepherd who cares for it, loves it, and personally tends to it during its time of healing.
Haven’t we all gone astray, each of seeking our own will and way in life? Many of us can relate with this little lamb and are perhaps in that place where we are despising God’s way as we pursue our own. In that place of trials and affliction that pain focuses our attention. Hebrews 12:5-8 brings this point of correction home to us as it says, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” I shutter to think where I would be today if the Lord hadn’t loved me enough to discipline and correct me so that He might put my feet back on a right path. Yes, there are times when my Shepherd has had to break my leg because of sin and rebellion, but thank God He loved me enough to do it. God often brings us to that place where our soul is lean and hungry, where we feel the bands of affliction and iron upon us. When we finally are willing to acknowledge our state, our weakness, our desperate need for our Savior and begin to cry out in our affliction, He hears our cry. It is in the place of true repentance He is able to bring us ‘out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!’
Are you in that place of affliction today? The Lord is present, not to condemn you, but to restore you to righteousness. You are His own and He loves you dearly. There are none more precious in His sight. Jesus would leave the other ninety-nine sheep just to find the one that is lost. That affliction may be your call to come home, to find that safe, warm place again in the arms of Jesus who has loved you unto death. ” Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!”

Blessings,
kent

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