These songs of ascent were written to help us make sense out of life and to encourage us along the way. As Christians, we need a song to help us with affliction. Suffering comes in a variety of forms: hardships, setbacks, accidents, illnesses...etc.
The affliction in Psalm 129 is the kind that comes from someone bringing you harm on purpose. It involves being hated and the harm that results from that hate.
There’s much talk about “hate” these days.
- White supremacy groups, racists; Charlottesville; anti-fa groups (blatant)
- Not agreeing with an opinion (misnamed)
- “Resist Hate”signs (ambiguous)
The Bible addresses being hated:
- Jesus told disciples that Christians would be hated like he was hated.
- A Christian’s new heart is equipped to love God and love what he loves and hates what he hates.
- Our witness depends on: 1). Our love for one another and 2). Our love for our enemies
When God brings affliction into our lives, we have 2 choices:
- We can either turn to or away from God; cooperate with the sanctification or become bitter and hardened.
- Our response to affliction reveals the choice we’re making
- What’s meant to perfect us can also destroy us
- The same sun that melts wax, hardens clay
We need a Psalm for our affliction. This song tells us to do 2 things in affliction:
1. Entrust Your Affliction to God
God brought us out of affliction and uses this to show us his power and his love.
This psalm is about Israel’s corporate and historical affliction - God formed his people Israel out of affliction.
“Whereas most nations tend to look back on what they have achieved, Israel reflects here on what she has survived.” Derek Kidner.
“This Psalm teaches, in the first place, that God subjects his Church to divers troubles and affections, to the end he may the better prove himself her deliverer and defender. The Psalmist, therefore, recalls to the memory of the faithful how sadly God’s people had been persecuted in all ages, and how wonderfully they had been preserved, in order by such examples to fortify their hope in reference to the future.” Calvin
God preserves his people in affliction
- Moses, Israel, David, Jesus
2. Entrust your enemies to God.
- Because God promises to right all wrongs
- Imprecatory Psalms - what are they? Can we pray them?
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Keep in mind that it was the patience of God that allowed us to see his grace.
- Keep in mind that there are things that God hates. (Prov. 6:16)
- Keep in mind that there are only 2 ways to live: slaves to sin or righteousness
- Pray for God to right the wrongs w/o trying to avenge yourself
WALK IT OUT
- What's an "affliction" situation that you are facing right now?
- How are you responding? How is God calling you to respond?
- In what ways are you tempted to take vengence?
- What steps can you take to "entrust your affliction to God?"
- What steps can you take to "entrust your enemies to God?"