Daily Readings and Thought for January 17th. “MANY ARE THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE RIGHTEOUS”


Our heading may appear to some to be a rather negative quote from today’s Psalm 34.  This Psalm is a wonderful “mine” of sayings from the pen of David, ideal to inspire those who aim to serve God.  We need to put the above words within the context of these other sayings.

David wrote, “I sought the LORD and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” [v.4]  And again, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them” [v.7]  Further still, “The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ear toward their cry … and delivers them out of all their troubles.” [v.15,17]

We need to weigh up all these encouraging sayings, recognising what they are (and are not) telling us.  There is, unfortunately, an attitude in some Christian circles that if you serve God and His Son you will get more and more blessings and prosperity.  This is NOT what the Bible reveals, although it is true of the ultimate picture, but it is not true of this life. Men like Solomon are the exception. Life in serving the LORD is a learning curve.  David discovered this after he had slain Goliath, look at his life story!  This understanding surely lies behind his most challenging statement in today’s Psalm, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him (also her) out of them all.” [v.19]

As we are seeing in our Genesis reading, it was the lesson that Jacob also learnt in all the traumas of his life in his relationship with his brother and with Laban.  It is summed up in what he says at the end of his life when he meets up with Pharaoh, as we will read next week (Gen. 48 v. 15,16) Jacob speaks of “the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day; the angel who has redeemed me from all evil.”  Coming back to Psalm 34, note what it says in v.12!  “What man (or woman) is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?”  Surely that is the desire of us all! Now note the answer he gives to this question in the verses which follow recognizing that with the “many days” will come times of affliction and the angel of the LORD will be there to deliver as the LORD sees the need. 

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