Blessed is the man whom you chasten, O LORD, and teach him out of your law;
I. WHY GOD CHASTISES MEN IN ORDER TO TEACH THEM OUT OF HIS WORD. The general reason is because they disregard milder modes of teaching. If men would regard the still small voice of God in His works, and read His character therein displayed, they would fly to His Word for light and instruction, without needing or feeling His chastising hand. But they will not open their eyes to see Him, nor their ears to hear Him, until they are constrained to do it by the rod of correction.
II. HOW GOD EMPLOYS CHASTISEMENTS TO TEACH MEN OUT OF HIS WORD. He makes them feel the necessity of reading, hearing, understanding and embracing the Gospel, and then opens their hearts to embrace it. He causes them to know the rod, and who has appointed it; and the happy fruit is the taking away of their sins. Thus He often afflicts men for the purpose of giving them saving instruction.
III. THE HAPPINESS OF THOSE WHOM GOD EFFECTUALLY TEACHES THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WORD, BY MEANS OF THE AFFLICTIVE DISPENSATIONS OF HIS PROVIDENCE.
1. The knowledge men are taught through this medium affords them real comfort and consolation, though their afflictions continue. They feel a joyful confidence in the rectitude, wisdom and goodness of all His dispensations. They choose that His will should be done rather than their own; and that His glory should be promoted, rather than their own personal good should be regarded.
2. They are happy when their peculiar troubles and trials are removed. Divine instruction in adversity teaches them how to feel and act in prosperity.
3. They shall be happy for ever.
1. If God sometimes chastens men in order to teach them out of His Word, because milder means will not produce that desirable effect, then we must conclude that they are very unwilling to receive Divine instruction.
2. If it be owing to Divine-instruction that Divine chastenings do men good, then we may conclude that Divine chastenings alone will do them no good. The natural tendency of Divine chastenings is to stir up whatever moral corruption lies in the heart; and they will produce no other effect unless God Himself teaches them to profit.
3. If God improves the time of affliction as a favourable opportunity of instructing men out of His Word in the knowledge of Divine things, then the friends of God ought to improve the same favourable season for giving religious instruction to the afflicted.
4. If God employs chastenings as the most powerful means of instructing men in the knowledge of spiritual and Divine things, then those who refuse instruction under His correcting hand have reason to fear He will say concerning them, "Let them alone," that they may perish in their ignorance. He has said, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man."
5. Since God oftener instructs men in a time of adversity than in a time of prosperity, they have more reason to fear prosperity than adversity.
6. Let what has been said lead all to inquire whether they have ever derived any spiritual benefit from adversity.
(N. Emmons, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;