Affliction and Mercy
“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher “
The mercy of God is wide and His wisdom deep. Our heavenly Father knows the intricacies of every human heart. Some of us require adversity and affliction to open our hearts to receive His instruction. Others are drawn by the overwhelming sense of His goodness. His ways are measured by His resolve to bring each of His own into a pure desire for truth; not an intellectual understanding but the truth which pierces the heart and “converts the soul” (Psalm 19:7).
“Before I was afflicted I went astray:
but NOW have I kept thy word”
There are treasures in afflictions to hearts that are open to their ministrations. Many are afflicted, many are chastened and many pass through the siftings of God, but not all glean His riches in them. God has placed rich provisions upon the king’s table* (see The Kings Table) set before us in the presence of our enemies. When the twelve spies of Israel scouted out the Land of Promise, ten beheld the enormity of the enemies that dwelt there. The other two, who “had another spirit” (Numbers 14:22), saw the enemies “as bread” to feast upon.
The affliction that David spoke of in the above verse saved him from going astray and brought him to the place of keeping God’s Word. Those whose hearts are right will come through times of affliction with greater obedience and a purified heart. Others are unchanged for they have not been exercised by His chastening (Heb. 12:11) and have not discovered the pearls of God hidden within the circumstances.
The abundant Christian life is one that has walked through the processes of God and has emerged broken, purified, single in heart, with His joy resting upon them.
“For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.”
David goes on in this Psalm to declare the capstone of his endurance of the siftings of God.
“I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will perform my vows to you…”
A single eye and a unified heart are the fruit of a life that has known the sweet mercies of God discovered in the furnace of His wisdom.
“Thou hast known my soul in adversities”
Christ our Teacher is unveiled to us if we keep our hearts open to Him in the testings He brings our way. He shows up in the fire and makes Himself known to us and we in turn, with brokenness of heart, respond to the wonders of His love and grace.