Encouraging Devotions Blog

“Overcoming All Affliction.”

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“If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” Psalm 119:92

We don’t often hear of a man delighting in the law. Investigating into the intricacies of a code of law would be considered a chore by most rather than a pleasure.

But the law of God is different. The psalmist here delights in the word of God, derives great pleasure from investigating what God has commanded, so much so that the joy resulting has saved him from perishing in his affliction. Mixed with the praise for the word of God through the 176 verses that make Psalm 119 the longest chapter in the Bible, the psalmist also laments.

Psalm 119:25
“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to Your word.”

Psalm 119:28
“My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word.”

One wonders what trials the psalmist faces. A short survey of the troubles he faced tells us much:

Psalm 119:23
“Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on Your statutes.”
Psalm 119:53
“Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake Your law.”

Psalm 119:69
“The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I delight in Your law.”

Psalm 119:85
“The insolent have dug pits for me, they do not live according to Your law.”

Psalm 119:86
“They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken Your precepts.”

The insolent, wicked, and powerful (princes from vs. 23) enemies of the psalmist are plotting, setting traps, smearing him with lies, and forsaking the law of God. Amidst their attacks, he has committed himself to keep the word of God and finds comfort in doing so.

Whether you are dealing with human enemies or not, we all face an offensive from an invisible and powerful threat. COVID-19 has thrown our lives upside down, halted economies, and day by day ends more life. In the face of such an enemy, we are powerless to stop, what are we to do? How are we to avoid spiritually and mentally “perishing in our affliction”?

The same antidote that saved the psalmist thousands of years ago can save us too.
Delight in the word of God (Psalm 119:103).

Delight in the investigation of the riches and wisdom the Almighty God has given you for life and godliness (Proverbs 2:1-6; 2 Peter 1:2-3).

Think upon His commandments and praise Him for His righteousness (Psalm 119:129;137).

Meditate upon the goodness of your God and His promise to work out all things for your good (Psalm 119:12; Romans 8:28).

Thank Him for the salvation He has given, and magnify Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (1 Peter 1:3-5; Deuteronomy 6:5).

Delight on these and all the promises, commands, and realities of God waiting for us in the scriptures. And so find a joy that endures and overcomes all affliction.

"Wither-Proof Believers!”

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I remember hearing stories of missionaries going to reach remote tribes in Africa. For the first time, people were hearing the gospel message of Jesus Christ; people were getting saved! The missionaries would then encourage the new believers to read the Bibles that they would leave behind. Often, as they were leaving the villages, the missionaries would say, “Eat up God’s Word, so that you can know God more intimately.”

The missionaries would return to these villages to later find out that there wasn’t anyone in the village that could read. The people wanted to know God and wanted to take literally what the missionaries were challenging them to do. They would take pages of the Bible, tear them out, add them to their soup, and eat God’s Word!

Strangely enough, the Bible tells us, as believers, we should be doing the same thing… Well, we should be eating God’s Word, but perhaps not in our soup!

Jeremiah 15:16
Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

Eating the Word of the Lord means that we are devouring every word that has been written, internalizing it, and allowing its meaning to become a reality in our lives.

Doing this brings inner joy. Joy can be defined as “the inner attitude of rejoicing in one’s salvation, regardless of outward circumstances.” There is no more significant time than now that we need to be reminded of this. Our outward circumstances may not look so great; our outward circumstances may bring us grief and sorrow; our outward circumstances can press us to the point of us giving in to the temptation to lose hope. But our inward joy tells us that because God loved us, He gave us His Word, and because we have His Word, we can be reminded of the joy of our salvation, regardless of our outward circumstances.

An excellent example of this would be looking at the life of Job. Though Job didn’t handle his circumstances perfectly, he never departed from what God had told him about Himself.

Job 23:12 says:
“I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

Regardless of Job’s outward circumstances, he was reminded of the inner joy that God’s Word brought him. Job treasured the words of God more than his necessary food. In other words, before even feeding himself physically, he feasted on the truth of Scripture.

Psalm 119:103
How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Oh, how sweet the Scriptures are to us!

In the middle of bleak outward circumstances, in the middle of hardships, in the middle of pain, in the middle of sickness, in the middle of struggles, God’s Word is sweeter than honey on our lips. This is what brings us delight, as Jeremiah and the psalmist found and ate the Word of God, it became their joy and the delight of their hearts.

Is God’s Word your joy? Do you look forward to the times of refreshing that come from studying your Bible?

Do you hunger and thirst for God’s Word more than necessary food or drink, or has it become for you like a dessert after the world feeds you everything it has for you?

Does the Word of God have second place in your heart, or is it the delight of your heart? This word delight means - glee, exceeding gladness, or rejoicing.

Is this what defines your time in feasting on God’s Word? If this is the case, my friends, look forward to the blessings that come as we meditate on the truth of Scripture The psalmist wrote:

Psalm 1:1–3
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Notice what happens to those who delight themselves in the law of God. Those who meditate or take pleasure in or ponder God’s Word day and night become deeply rooted and, in due season, produce fruit.

Nothing can shake the Christian that meditates and eats up God’s Word daily. The enemy can throw a hurricane at us, and we will NOT move because we are firmly planted.

Perhaps the sweetest promise in it all is that our leaf will not wither. What this means is that our spiritual life is no longer subject to unbelief but is characterized by continuous inner renewal. A believer who is firmly planted in the Scriptures is wither-proof. Charles Hodges says this about the renewal that comes when we eat God’s Word.

“In opposition... to all the suggestions of the devil, the sole, simple ,and sufficient answer is the Word of God. This puts to flight all the powers of darkness. The Christian finds this to be true in his individual experience. It dissipates his doubts; it drives away his fears; it delivers him from the power of Satan.”

Friends, let us ask the Lord to increase our appetites for His Word and make us faithful consumers of it so that we may be firmly planted, wither-proof believers!

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