September 18 2023
Today, Monday September 18
Peace in the Days of Adversity
Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O LORD, And teach out of Your law, That You may give him rest from the days of adversity, Until the pit is dug for the wicked. For the LORD will not cast off His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance. But judgment will return to righteousness, And all the upright in heart will follow it.
Psalm 94 is like so many of the other psalms that deal with the unjust treatment of the poor and helpless by wicked and evil people. Ever since the beginning of time we have had the universal problem and question of why do the wicked seem to get by with exploiting the righteous and good person or people. Why do the wicked seem to prosper and enjoying the “good life” while the good and upright person seem to suffer and be afflicted.
There is something inside us that is stirred to anger when we see the bully beating up the frail smaller person. When we watch a tyrannical ruler drop bombs on innocent people including women and children. When we hear of terrorist in the Middle East, or even evil people in America sexually exploiting girls and helpless women. Because we are created in the image of God, and because He is a God of righteousness and justice, even in our fallen state, we have a sense of justice and know this is wrong, and someone needs to do something to stop it.
The unknown writer of Psalm 94 gives us at least four things we can do when we have these questions, or we see these injustices in our society. In verses 1-7 we need to pray and cry out to God to take “vengeance” on these evil people. In verses 8-11, we must live and speak “the truth” to warn the wicked of the judgment they are going to face from God one day if they don’t change their ways. Now in verses 12-15, we need to look inwardly at our own hearts and make sure that we are willing to receive God’s chastening and discipline when we do wrong.
“Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O LORD, And teach out of Your law” (v. 12). The word "instruct" is sometimes translated as "discipline" or “chasten”. It means "teaching and instruction from God's law". When the psalmist wrote this he might have had Deuteronomy 8:5-6 in mind. “You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you. Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.” These were the final words of Moses to the nation of Israel before he died, and they entered the Promise Land.
The psalmist might have also remembered Solomon’s words in Proverbs 3:11-14: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold.”
The psalmist recognized the fact that the difficulties of life could help him mature in his faith. If God immediately rescued His people from their personal difficulties, they would become "spoiled brats" and never grow in faith or character. We are reminded of this same truth in the New Testament in Hebrews 12:6, "For whom the Lord loves He chastens". God uses personal difficulties to teach us new truths from His Word (Psalms 119:50; 75; 92-95).
In verses 13-14, there is coming a time of judgment ("days of adversity"), but the Lord will spare His people from it. The longer the wicked persist in their sins, the deeper is the pit they are digging for themselves and the stronger the net that will trap them (v. 13). God cannot reject His people who are bound to Him in His covenant (v. 14). This truth is found in many other passages such as: Psalm 37:28-29; Deut. 32:9; Isa. 49:14-18; and Jer. 10:16.
“But judgment will return to righteousness, And all the upright in heart will follow it.” (v. 15). It is obvious that the psalmist believed in the justice of God, the future judgment of the wicked, and the promise of a righteous kingdom for the upright in heart. If we also believe this, we can experience “rest” and peace in the midst of a troubled and disturbed world that is full of injustices.