It Is God Who Brings Down And God Who Restores
19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
20 Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
21 You will increase my honor
and comfort me once more.
David has the foresight to recognize and desire to see that the righteousness of God is to be made known to all. Earlier in this Psalm, David writes:
13 May my accusers perish in shame;
may those who want to harm me
be covered with scorn and disgrace.
14 As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long-
though I know not how to relate them all.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
As God’s children, we should greatly desire that the glory and righteousness of God be magnified among men. Not only should we be displaying the righteousness of God in our everyday lives, but we must also speak the truth about His righteousness to others. Faith comes through hearing the word of God.
It has always been known by the enemies of God that faith comes through hearing. That is one of the reasons why there is such a great effort placed on muzzling the voice of truth in society. They know that if people hear the truth, and believe the truth, the truth will set them free. Only by silencing the truth and then speaking lies are the enemies of God able to continue to exert their control over people.
There is an old nursery rhyme that exemplifies this truth:
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.
This is a bald-faced lie told to children to help them cope with the emotional trauma of the power of the spoken word. Words DO hurt. And words CAN help. When we pretend that what we say has no effect upon others, we deceive ourselves and lay the groundwork for all manner of mischief. After all, if spoken lies have no power, then lying must be OK, because it doesn’t hurt anyone. But Jesus addressed this very poignantly:
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
When we lie, we murder the truth.
God is sovereign. We know this in our minds, but question it in our hearts when terrible things happen to people – murder, rape, theft, disease, and all other manner of difficulty and trials. The understanding that God is sovereign and is responsible for allowing difficulty into our lives is characterized well in the life of Job. Job recognizes the sovereignty of God, and tells his wife after his afflictions:
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job’s relatives, after Job had gone through his trials, acknowledged the responsibility and sovereignty of God in their actions and words to Job:
10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.
We would do well to remember that God has not forgotten us in our trials, but rather has sovereignly allowed them into our lives to bring about change in us and glory to Him. And after those trials are over, God restores us. We must also remember that God does not do evil, but may allow evil to come into our lives through our circumstances for His purposes and our sanctification.
Rescued in Resurrection
Not everyone is restored in this life after trials. Job and many listed in the annals of the righteous in Hebrews were restored while they lived on the Earth. Jesus was not restored on the Earth. He passed into glory to fulfill what God has intended for our benefit and His glory. Many who endure great trials will not be redeemed until the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can take heart and have peace, knowing that our pain and suffering will not last forever. God will rescue us from all our troubles, even if it is not on this side of life.
David recognizes this and records it for us to give us the opportunity to soberly consider these things. And just because God does not redeem a person during their life certainly does not mean that He will not redeem them going forward. We must always have our eyes fixed upon the cross of Christ and the future glory that awaits as we will patiently wait for God to act.
Pleased in Peace
David consoles himself knowing that God will restore and increase his honor at a later time. He knows that God will comfort him at a future time, in God’s time, for God’s purposes, to bring about the maximum glory to God. We can rest as well in the knowledge that God will comfort us in our afflictions, for He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Using our intellect, we must direct our will to force our emotions into line with the truth. Otherwise, we will be led by our emotions, and that can have disastrous consequences. Everything has its proper place and purpose. Let us reassure ourselves in the character, power and sovereignty of God when all seems bleak.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: What comes out of our mouth when we face trials of various kinds?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, Your glory is over the Earth. You are to be magnified and glorified. My lips should be singing praises to You, and revealing Your great and mighty deeds to those who will listen. Give me the courage to stand strong when people seek to silence the truth. Help me to remember Your goodness and mercy and grace as You allow me to suffer through my trials. Help me to overcome, and to speak of Your deliverance to your people so that they would be encouraged. Help me to speak to strangers and those who do not know You that they may know that the Living God loves them and desires to be in relationship with them. Prepare the hearts of the people, Lord God, and direct me to them that You would be magnified and glorified. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?