God’s Faithfulness To The Suffering
SERMON 4/5 | 28 & 29 MARCH 2020 | All Services
Rev Stanley Chua, Pastor-in-Charge
Scripture Passage: Psalm 119:67, 71, 75 (NIV)
Psalm 119:67(NIV) Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.
Psalm 119:71(NIV) It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
Psalm 119:75(NIV) I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
WATCH | SERMON (Video)
(Click on video below)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | “Afflicted” is a word that appears in each of the three verses in Psalm 119. It refers to the painful and difficult circumstances that we encounter. Afflictions seek us out as we live in a fallen world, sometimes as a result of our foolishness or even when we do right. Just as none of us would want Covid-19, such difficult situations happen. “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”(Ps. 34:19). We like the second part of the verse about deliverance but would rather not dwell on the first part regarding troubles. However, trails or troubles are about God - not that He sends these but that He teaches us through them.
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.”(Ps. 119:67) – going astray is not about a moral sin but our state of going our own way and pushing God to the edges of our lives. We live as if trouble cannot touch us. Afflictions in life is one way God uses to draw us back to Him. Do we dare pray for God to intervene to wake us up? To pray for whatever is necessary to bring us to our senses so that we run to the cross of Christ for forgiveness? As CS Lewis said, “God whispers in our pleasure but He shouts in our pain”.
“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”(Ps. 119:71) – how can it be good to be afflicted? We identify with Peter at the Transfiguration in a desire for a mountain-top experience. But while we are in this world, we still need to go down the valley into a world of suffering and pain. If our God is only the God of good times and mountain-top experiences, then He is not the God of the Bible. For God is often best seen in the darkness and His presence is most powerfully felt in times of deepest sorrow. He teaches us to know Him experientially through our afflictions. We would rather have relief from suffering and to have the difficult circumstances removed. But are our preferences better than God’s choices for us? Our personal satisfaction is not the best gauge of a trying situation. When we factor God into the equation, we discover truths about God and ourselves which we otherwise would not know. Could it be that God wants to change us, rather than our circumstances? We cannot rush God in teaching us these truths. We are to trust Him one day at a time. So instead of asking God to remove the affliction, pray that the Lord teach us through His Word and His ways. He tells us to wait, endure, and be patient (Ps.27:14; Col.1:11).
“I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.”(Ps. 119:75) – we gain tested and settled knowledge of the Lord through afflictions. We know everything God says is right, that He is faithful and is involved in every aspect of our lives. This is the type of knowledge that comes as we look back and recall how He has repeatedly helped us in times of trouble. He is in control; nothing, even horrendously bad things, happens without His permission. This is faith in its highest level – a belief that God can use all suffering for His redemptive purposes. The world has no answer to such a faith that shines brightest in the darkest of times.
Let us respond to our afflictions by:
- Immersing in His Word; as we dig deep into Scripture, let us cling to and pray over His Word;
- Having faith in God and not giving up. “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him; I will surely defend my ways to His face.”(Job 13:15);
- Giving thanks for His many blessings, even amid our afflictions. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(1 Thess. 5:18).
Let our faith shine brightly during these dark days of Covid-19.
(Sermon Notes by Angela Goh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
- According to the speaker, what are the possible reasons why people suffer?
- What have you learned in each of the 3 scripture verses expounded by the speaker (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75) about how God uses affliction to benefit us?
- What are the 3 points (or things) that God spoke through this sermon?
- What are 2 questions (or things) that I struggled with?
- What is the 1 promise (or thing) that I may act on?
PRAY | LET US PRAY:
- God will pour His cleansing Love and Grace on the worsening global situation during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The suffering will strongly sense God’s faithfulness and mercy as they continue to seek Him.
- The Holy Spirit will reveal God’s faithfulness to His Children as they persist to draw strength from Him in their time of need.
Sermons In This Series:
- Introduction : The Faithfulness Of God (Deuteronomy 7:9; Joshua 21:43-45) | 7/8 Mar 2020
- God’s Faithfulness In Every Circumstance (Genesis 50:19-20; Romans 8:28) | 14/15 Mar 2020
- God’s Faithfulness To The Defeated (Lamentations 3:22-23) | 21/22 Mar 2020
- God’s Faithfulness To The Suffering (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75) | 28/29 Mar 2020
- God’s Faithfulness To The Doubting (John 20:24-29) | 18/19 Apr 2020