READ : Psalm 119:73-80
May those who fear you rejoice . . . may the arrogant be put to shame. (vv. 74, 78 NIV)
Today’s reading, like yesterday’s, is about an “afflicted” believer. Here the word itself appears only once, but the whole section turns on the question of affliction, and why bad things happen to God’s people.
In these verses the psalmist reflects further on both the cause and the effect of such experiences. The first “why” means “What caused this affliction?” Verse 75 gives a bold, and perhaps disturbing, answer. It was the Lord who not only let it happen but actually made it happen. As God says in Isaiah 45:7, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things” (NIV).
Why would he do such a thing? This second “why” means “With what purpose?” The psalmist has come to see that trials and tribulations come his way not just for his own benefit, as in the teth verses, but also for the sake of those around him. Can he demonstrate in himself the miraculous way in which God’s Spirit enables a believer to cope with affliction? If so, the effect will be “the encouragement of the godly,” as one of the old commentators puts it, “and the confusion of the proud.”
Lord, may my life be an encouragement to others.