Badly Treated by a Good God? (Part 1)

Michael Wilcock

READ : Psalm 119:65-72

You are good, and what you do is good. (v. 68 NIV)

The key word of these verses is “good” (the Hebrew word begins with the letter teth). See how many “good” things there are here!

But we are only three verses into this section when we find a darker thread woven into the fabric. The psalmist has suffered at the hands of arrogant, callous, unfeeling people. How does he cope with affliction? How do his bad experiences square with what he has been taught about the goodness of God? This is one of the big questions of the whole book, and the main theme of Psalm 73, right at the heart
of it.

A difficult question prompts some difficult answers. But the one given here will be readily recognized by many of God’s people. It is that when things go wrong it may well be his method of bringing back the straying sheep. When all goes well it is easy to wander from God’s ways (v. 67); affliction can drive the wanderer back to them (v. 71).

So “Good you are, and good you do,” says the psalmist to the Lord (v. 68), even when things are being made hard for him; “the law from your mouth,” that is, the Scripture, which puts me right and keeps me right, is precious – there is the word for “good” yet again, to round off these eight verses.

PRAYER

Lord, I confess with the psalmist: Good you are and good you do.