My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.
In our previous post, I supplied an introduction to this psalm that may be beneficial for review if you have not read it. Psalms for Psome – Ps 34 – A
Lets continue with Psalm 34:19-22
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.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
In our last post on this precious psalm, we spoke of the eyes and ears being towards the righteous. We spoke of the action of the eyes and ears of the Lord. The activity of the Lord towards the righteous one.
This portion of the psalm describes a specific instance where the Lord looks and listens toward the righteous one.
The Lord is active in the righteous ones life, whether by conviction or by comfort, and as we walk and obey, He is active in looking out for us us, and looking towards us. Specifically this psalm defines the action of the Lord in relation to the afflictions of the righteous. He is near the righteous one that is experiencing afflictions
This psalm, more importantly speaks of one Righteous One, the Messiah.
As I have read through the Psalms, I sometimes consider how the Messiah might have related to the prophecies and promises written of Him. Lets remember that the Word of God is about the Messiah and for the Messiah. He is the all and end of every passage.
This particular psalm includes information that is an obvious reference to the passion of the Christ, to the very crucifixion of the Son of God. I am of course, referring to the prophecy of His bones not broken in verse 20. What a highly specific prophecy pointing the lost to find the truth and the saved to find encouragement!
This prophecy speaks not of an affliction, but in the limits of His suffering. Therefore the psalmist must be thinking of afflictions that do not refer to His bones. Join me as I consider a few of the afflictions of the Righteous One.
This passage speaks of the “many afflictions” of the Righteous One. When I think of the physical afflictions of the Son of Man, I think of the crucifixion, and of the torturous physical pain of the cruel cross. The cross was the culmination of His passion and opened the most Holy Place for us to enter into.
And yet, He suffered physically prior to the crucifixion, a suffering that makes me shudder.
By his wounds you have been healed.
The scourging of the Master is a horrendous physical torture, and has been described by Eusebius as follows
“For they say that the bystanders were struck with amazement when they saw them lacerated with scourges even to the innermost veins and arteries, so that the hidden inward parts of the body, both their bowels and their members, were exposed to view” (Ecclesiastical History, Book 4, chap. 15).
Peter describes the result of His scourging in his first epistle, as our healing. Of course this represents our healing from sin, and not the temporal healing from a sickness. This is obvious for two reasons.
- Peter reaches back to Isaiah 53:5 in relating to this healing, and throughout the book of Isaiah, healing was always associated with the curse of sin.
- Physical sickness may be cured based on the mercy of God in a specific instance, and not a blanket promise that applies to physical sickness. This promise refers to the healing of the sin curse upon humanity.
The term “wound” in the Greek specifically refers to a bruise, wale or wound the trickles with blood. How understated!
As we have spoken previously, the entire Old Testament is a description of the Lord Jesus and of His mission. One passage in the Old Testament, when considering the sufferings of the Lamb of God may speak of this wounding of the Son of Man.
Then he shall kill the bull before the LORD, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting.
Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces, – Leviticus 1:5-6
When Moses refers to “the flaying” of the burnt sacrifice, I understand this is after the death of the Levitical offering. I also understand that this term is usually used of the stripping of clothes.
And yet He was the Lamb of God, and the sacrifice of His life was an offering beyond my comprehension. This is offered to the reader for their consideration and meditation
Let us look to two aspects of His emotional life for this present post.
His emotional life was littered with affliction, including the affliction of sorrow. He was referred to as a Man of sorrow, acquainted with grief.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”
He experienced fear, for He begged for the crucifixion to be removed from Him, His prayers always focused on the will of the Father, yet the struggle of His coming suffering struck fear and loathing in His heart. How could it not. He was a man of like passions as us and His life was coming to a violent death, full of pain and suffering.
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Consider the reality of those last hours in the garden, of the terror He experienced, of the loneliness of His time, with His disciples falling asleep.
I can’t imagine a time when any of us will experience this type of emotional trauma.
How can any of us imagine or comprehend the spiritual affliction of the Son of Man being forsaken by the Father in heaven, who had been in communion with the Son of Man constantly and continually. At no time had sin drove a wedge between the Father and the Son until the cross, where Jesus had been left utterly and completely alone, without any comfort, open to the taunts of His enemies and the apparent success of darkness and spiritual wickedness.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Mark 15:34
He was forsaken on the cross. The spiritual affliction was the one affliction that Jesus questioned. He questioned the Father. He had pleased the Father constantly in His life, through all His actions and attitudes. Yet abandoned in His greatest time of need.
Victory in Affliction
Lets return to the psalm we were discussing, and remember the tone of our passage we are looking at today is one of deliverance.
- vs 17 ..the Lord hears and delivers them out of all thier troubles
- vs 19 ..the Lord delivers Him out of them all
- vs 22 ..The Lord redeems the life of His servants
Deliverance of the Righteous One resulted in His resurrection, His deliverance from a life that experienced afflictions. How this must have buoyed up the Master in the midst of His trials, in the midst of His afflictions.
As the Master meditated on these passages, His purpose and mission became clearer and clearer, though full of affliction. He saw His way through it for the sake of the will of the Father, and to provide life for us.
Let us consider the Masters afflictions and understand that the Word provided Him, not only the promise of afflictions, many as they were to be for His life, but also the promise of deliverance.
As followers, we can enter into these promises.
For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:3-4
Today, many of us shall encounter various degrees for affliction. These afflictions are opportunities to follow Him in them. These are gifts from the Father and are provided for our training as we grow up into His likeness.
May Jesus become greater in all our lives! Praise Him for His loving sacrifice!
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.