You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Psalm 119:65–72, ESV
When I was a teenager, I believed that if you did good by going to church, being involved in the faith, and helping others and the community, God would make everything go well in your life. I don’t believe that this belief is uncommon. It was and is a dangerous way to believe. It can cause a person to stumble and fall away when the challenges of life confront them. This was true with me when my grandfather had a heart attack that eventually took his life. I struggled because I had prayed to God, I was very involved in the life of my church, and I had been involved in a variety of service projects in the community. I knew I wasn’t perfect, but I thought I was pretty good overall. So, his passing crushed me and caused me to struggle with my faith, and, for a time, I fell away from Christianity altogether. God, thankfully, led me back home, but many don’t. When we learn the whole word of God, we find that our Lord often strengthens His people through afflictions. As they stray from His will, He will use these things to guide them to His Word and ultimately back to Himself. God wants us to understand His heart and how the things we do contrary to Him wound Him. Jesus taught us this often in His parables. Yet, the desire is for us to know His Law and understand His will, not so we can be legalistic and curse others, but so we may seek to live out our lives faithfully and with an understanding of His grace as we are aware of our shortcomings. Unlike the Pharisees who were quick to judge the failures of others while excusing their own shortcomings, our Lord desires for us to be fully enveloped in the knowledge of our Lord and how truly good His Law is and His desire for us is to lead us into the fullness of life in Him.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.