"It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes" [Psalm 119.71 NASB]
The recurring theme of good and positive teaching runs seamlessly through these eight consecutive verses.
Just like a head teacher, God often points out where we as His children have gone wrong, and at the same time He corrects us; and then with perfect patience, He overrides our mistakes and the path before us is once again clean and smooth.
God loves to surprise His people, and very often He does something out of the ordinary. But usually we miss the main point of His intervention. Not so with David. He was an outstanding pupil in God's school of excellence.
What did David learn that permanently changed his spiritual perspective and his ultimate purpose in life? He said, "It was good for me to be afflicted." That is, bad tasting medicine can do you good. Very often, when we submit to the will of God at a difficult time in our lives, we find that His yoke is agreeable with our circumstances and pleasant to bear.
Not only was this so, but it was through the path of affliction that God taught and revealed to David more about His laws. Now many of us can quote Scripture, but this does not necessarily signify that we have grasped their full meaning.
While we were on holiday, many years ago. In the early hours of the morning I was out walking with my youngest when I saw a man with a metal detector walking along the beach looking and listening for the evidence of money. The place where he was searching had been crowded with people on the previous day. At that time the Lord said to me, "This is like My word; there are treasures hidden just under the surface." David had been taught the divine meaning behind the season of affliction when he said, "It was in order to learn Your laws."
Finally, the phrase to notice here is, "Your laws." Why is it necessary for us to learn God's laws? They reveal God's mind and they also enable and equip us, when we put them into practice, to live godly lives and manifest the beautiful fruits of righteousness. To that end, let us agree with David and say, "It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your laws." [David McArdle]