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DAY 9.

Now we come to a wonderful truth that many find very hard to understand, the 'afflictions' that we face today as Christian disciples.

'Afflictions' are given to bring us to heel, to bring us to the feet of the Lord and not to drive us away from Him or indeed to make obstacles between us.

There is a distinct difference between the enemy and our afflictions, the enemy involves the world, the flesh and the devil clear cut opposition to the Living God and righteous living.

The 'afflictions' are the incidents that cause us grief and anguish and lead us to grieve in painful sorrow as a result of there presence with us.

The flesh life dies hard in Christian discipleship and it feels the effect of being squeezed out of our deliberations on the spiritual front.

We still hold on like grim death to those petty earthly things like material pleasures as much as physical pleasure rather than let them go so as to gain the promises of our spiritual inheritance.

The knife has to be put in so that these earthly ambitions and pleasures are cut of enabling us to become partakers of the inheritance in Christ.

We need to learn and learn quickly that we 'cannot serve God and Mammon' Matthew 6 v 24, we will 'love the one but hate the other' says the Lord Jesus to us.

Now fellow disciples where do we stand on this issue, are we desiring the flesh life or the spiritual life, are we willing to sacrifice the old nature so as to gain the fullness of the new one?

Our heavenly Father allows 'afflictions' to bring out the faith that is in us, to prove that we are genuine in our reaching out to Him.

Our 'afflictions' can be in the nature of our being tormented by folk especially regarding our holy walk, we can know physical and mental suffering from the way people mis treat us.

'Afflictions' can come through hardship due to the pressure of circumstances, folk will turn away from us not wanting to contact us or wanting undue time in our company.

'Afflictions' can come through ill treatment of the believer, where pressure is put on them to do tasks that no one else will do or undertake.

David had 'afflictions' but he learned the lesson of life that the Lord will uphold all going through afflictions in a precious loving way.

His word brings light into the suffering, we can expect afflictions just as the Lord Jesus did so that He understands the sorrows caused by our afflictions.

'He was afflicted, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, He bore our sorrows in His death on Calvary and He came through triumphantly so that we can conquer also.

We also note that David was prone to stray from the right road, going into cul de sac's of his own ways until the Lord graciously brought him back.

What a heavenly Father we have, He sees and knows the dilemma we get into so often and rather than cut us off He gently and tenderly deals with us through His word.

The fact that it is always practical speaks loudly of His compassion on folk like us who are so prone to wander rather than to look carefully where we are going.

What an understatement we find in v 68 'Thou art good' as it brings out all the benevolent characteristics that only our Father displays.

The fact that it is used here points to the practical range of goodness physically, materially and spiritually, in other words His goodness effects every part of our being.

His 'goodness' is sent to bring cheer, comfort and consolation to those going through hardships and affliction of any kind.

Right at the heart of our trials and tragedies we find the goodness of God operating bring relief to the beleaguered spirit, soul and mind

It is in the heart of the storm that we find the eye, the centre where perfect rest is found even though it is chaotic all around us.

There is a deep joy to be found in the storm, there is a deep contentment to be found resting in the Lord and there is valuable lessons to be learnt in the storms of life that we could not find anywhere else.

Then in v 66 we find two more pieces of treasure 'judgement' and 'knowledge' that are found in the afflictions that we are called to go through, they ate not negative but positive.

'Judgement' literally means discernment to do good and right rather than take the inferior and wrong way in life: judgement brings us to the right conclusion.

Human nature has limits in its perception of things but the person yielded to God has the added spiritual dimension to see things from Gods view point.

The teaching of our Father helps us to understand the reason why the afflictions are allowed but how to deal with them as well for our own benefit.

'Knowledge' then is the receiving of Gods word so as to bring us into the deeper understanding of the issues that surround us and then to lead us out of them.

'Knowledge' is insight and intelligence gained through the senses but it reveals the deeper wisdom of God through them so that we are walking with spiritual knowledge and not merely with human knowledge.

Oh the wonder of all of these thoughts, that little you and me, poor in spirit, troubled by oppressions, suffering through afflictions can know the deep things of the Living God who sustains us through them all.

The enemy is battling away seeking to throw us in any way that they can, even inventing lies and malpractices v 69 they do their hardest only for us to find that it brings out the best of our heavenly Father.

The lies and inventions are only found in time but the reward is eternal, the perpetrators will get their reward on the Judgement Day and the gates of hell are opened for them to go through.

The soul of the saints will pass through into the eternal presence of our Heavenly Father and there to enjoy all the benefits of our inheritance in Christ Jesus.

In this life the oppressor of the Christian believer seems to get away with so much sinful practices but that is the human view, the soul learning from their divine Tutor learns the truth.

Every word and statement is brought to the fore for every other person that walked the earth to see the truth that was committed by them and their reward is earned by their actions.

In that moment of judgement we will look up to our beloved Lord Jesus to praise and magnify His name because He has brought us through those trials and tribulations with glorious victory.

He turned the earthly trials into gems, those desperate tragedies into beautiful garments, He took the effort to lift us up when we were bowed down and there we stand as victors in eternity.

Listen to a victor viewing the battle ground scene but from a victors point of view v 71 'it was good for me that I have been afflicted' what a difference from vs.28 and 51 and 61.

The transformation comes through resting on the promises of Gods word and that is the key for us going through similar circumstances to follow for victory.

The way to triumph is through trials, we tend to shy away from facing difficult problems that have been allowed to come our way to prove the genuineness of our faith.

These problems and pressures take various forms but ultimately they are brought to bear upon us to see what we do with them.

The vast majority of us wrestle with them and come to breaking point under them when we could and should be sharing them with our Lord Jesus.

He waits to come to our aid and to help us over the obstacles of life with the sole intention of drawing us closer to Him, it is not that He is aloof from us rather we are standing away from Him.

David could say 'it was good' because it brought him into closer relationship to the Living God who provided the way out by producing the remedy as David sought it out from Him.

'That I might learn' said David and what a pregnant thought that is, we should be ever willing to learn and take every opportunity to seek the Lord for our education.

The truth is, the knowledge gained by waiting upon the Lord for our education is of greater value than much silver and gold and certainly of eternal value as we shall find out when we see Him.

The promise is that the Lord will open our eyes to behold the wondrous things contained in His word v 18 and there are many folk who testify to this truth because they claimed the promise themselves.

Those great and precious promises have brought thousands of folk out of their difficult human poverty into spiritual prosperity as they came into that deeper relationship with the Lord as a result of their afflictions.