Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.
This week we continue our series dealing with the topic, The Problem of Pain and Suffering.
The messages come from the heart of one who has experienced suffering in those dear to Him.
Today we are talking about Affliction.
Psalm 25:18 AMP
18 Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.
Psalm 25:16:22 AMP
16 Turn to me [Lord] and be gracious to me,
For I am alone and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are multiplied;
Bring me out of my distresses.
18 Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.
19 Look upon my enemies, for they are many;
They hate me with cruel and violent hatred.
20 Guard my soul and rescue me;
Do not let me be ashamed or disappointed,
For I have taken refuge in You.
21 Let integrity and uprightness protect me,
For I wait [expectantly] for You.
22 O God, redeem Israel,
Out of all his troubles.
In Jesus name we pray.
Since human departure from God in the garden of Eden, suffering and affliction have been people’s common lot in every age.
People have had to labour for their bread and women have had to bear children in pain.
Jesus said in John 16:33, I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]
- Affliction comes because it is the common lot of humanity.
Many people are ignorant and superstitious concerning affliction.
Often after loss of possessions, illness, or death, someone will ask, “Why did God do this to me?”
Or “What have I done, or failed to do, that God should punish me in this way?”
Some people never realise that loss of possessions, heartache, pain, death, and grief are common to all.
The good and the bad, the just and the unjust, the believer and the unbeliever are afflicted.
We should not blame God or accuse Him of these things.
Decay, disintegration, and death belong to all living matter, and there is no escape.
Why do God’s children suffer?
Let’s make some observations.
Many suffer as the result of storms, floods, fires, disease, poverty, and war.
Many afflictions arise out of the near or distant past, for heredity can be merciful of merciless.
2. Affliction comes because of wrong choices.
Much suffering is self imposed through wrong choices, knowingly or ignorantly made.
Many people are afflicted because of their disobedience and rebellion.
This is especially true of God’s people.
Jesus said in Luke 12:47, And that servant who knew his master’s will, and yet did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will be beaten with many lashes [of the whip],
And James wrote in James 4:17, “So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.”
3. Affliction comes as a matter of discipline because of sins.
The Bible teaches that God does impose disciplinary measures on His people because of their sins.
It is for our good, and we should seek to know the purpose and design of such correction.
You will recall that God, by the hand of Moses, liberated Israel from bondage.
God instructed Moses to lead the people into the promised land.
For about forty years they milled around in the wilderness, rebelling against God and Moses, until God’s patience was spent.
He decreed that not one of them, except Joshua and Caleb, should ever set foot on the soil of Canaan.
God had led the Israelites with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
He fed them with manna and gave them water to drink.
He sought to teach them to depend on Him, but they were lacking in gratitude, and God let them die in the wilderness.
The people of Israel did not learn their lesson.
God’s efforts to correct and teach His people to depend on Him were futile.
There was nothing left for Him to do but punish them.
4. Affliction comes so that God’s work can be displayed in our lives.
You will recall that Jesus healed a man who was blind from his birth.
The disciples asked in John 9:2-3, His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi (Teacher), who [a]sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but it was so that the works of God might be displayed and illustrated in him.
Jewish theology of that time interpreted all suffering and affliction as a direct penalty for a specific sin.
But here was a baffling case.
Neither the blind man nor his parents had done anything to cause his handicap.
Affliction should never be a matter of doubt, debate, or controversy.
It should be a means of glorifying God.
The blind man’s affliction became a means of displaying God’s work in his life.
The benefits of affliction are many.
Listen to God’s Word!
Job said, Job 23:10, “But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it].
When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous].
Hebrews 12:11 says, For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems sad and painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [right standing with God and a lifestyle and attitude that seeks conformity to God’s will and purpose].
Job 5:17-18, “Behold, how happy and fortunate is the man whom God reproves,
So do not despise or reject the discipline of the Almighty [subjecting you to trial and suffering].
“For He inflicts pain, but He binds up and gives relief;
He wounds, but His hands also heal.
David wrote in Psalm 119.67, Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep and honor Your word [with loving obedience].
Solomon Said, Proverbs 3:11-12, My son, do not reject or take lightly the discipline of the Lord [learn from your mistakes and the testing that comes from His correction through discipline];
Nor despise His rebuke,
For those whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
Our attitude toward the discipline of our heavenly Father should not be rebellious, sour, bitter, or complaining.
If we cannot understand our affliction, then let us believe Romans 8:28, And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.
Until next time
Stay in the Blessings
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.
When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.
Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
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