When the Righteous are Afflicted
Today’s reading: Psalm 34-35; Acts 22
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Psalm 34:19-20
22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” Acts 22:22
Righteousness does not exempt a person from afflictions, as the Psalmist’s words and Paul’s experience both affirm. Furthermore, the only perfect Righteous One, the Lord Jesus Christ, sustained the greatest afflictions ever known, that all His elect people would be saved and delivered forever from affliction.
Nowhere in Scripture does God promise a life free from trials for His people. He does promise to be with His own and to deliver them out of all their adversities. No time schedule is laid out. It could be soon or it could be after death. The specific promise of verse 20, we learn from the Apostle John (John 19:36), was made to Jesus and fulfilled at His crucifixion.
Paul’s life became increasingly difficult. In Jerusalem, he faced angry mobs of Jews, and nervous Roman authorities who wanted to maintain order. God was not displeased with Paul, His servant and messenger to the Gentiles, yet God assigned him some very great afflictions which Paul accepted and used as a platform from which to preach the good news of life in Christ.
It may seem illogical that the righteous suffer many afflictions. Why wouldn’t life be better by living in a godly way? Why wouldn’t God see that those who honor Him the most suffer the least? Job certainly asked this question and was never given an answer. He didn’t know what the Bible tells us about his suffering, that it was to vindicate the name and glory of God before Satan. Job had no complaints in the end. He stopped questioning God, prayed for his friends, and had all his losses restored doubly.
Believing reader, are you facing hard times which seem to have no relationship to any failure, foolishness, or sin in your life? Take rest in God who promises to be near to the brokenhearted and to save the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). He will deliver you in His time because Jesus Christ has purchased your redemption and promised to take you to be with Him forever.