God's Chastening Hand
Psalm 30:1-12
I will extol you, O LORD; for you have lifted me up, and have not made my foes to rejoice over me.…

It is written, "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Hebrews 12:11). This psalm teaches how we may reap much good from the chastening of sickness.

I. The first thing is to ACKNOWLEDGE GOD'S HAND. The heathen may be in doubt; they may question whether it is "a chance' or the doing of God when great evil comes (1 Samuel 6:9); but it ought not to be so with us. Behind the things seen, and all the causes we can trace, we should see the hand of God. "Thou hast lifted me up." What a blessed change this thought effects! It is like light breaking in on the darkness, and the sense of a loving presence bringing hope to our hearts in trouble.

II. Again, we should CONFESS GOD'S MERCY. However bad our case may he, it might be worse. "Wherefore doth a living man complain - a man for the punishment of his sins?" (Lamentations 3:39; cf. Micah 7:9). Besides, there are alleviations. We meet with kindness and sympathy; we are cheered by the ministry of loving friends; we have the teaching and experiences of other sufferers open to us in books; above all, we have the consolations of our holy religion.

III. Again, it is meet that we should SEEK TO KNOW GOD'S WILL. He does not act from passion or caprice. He has a purpose, and his purpose must be worthy of himself, as well as benign and gracious toward us. We know as a general truth that "the will of God is our sanctification" (1 Thessalonians 4:3). But we should inquire, besides, as to what special end God may have in view in the particular trial that has come to us. It may be he wishes to teach us the brevity of life. "Work, therefore, while it is called to-day" (John 9:4). Or his object may be to humble our hearts and to quicken our sympathies with others. "Look not, therefore, on your own things, but look also on the things of others" (Philippians 2:4). Or his purpose may be to loosen us from earthly things, and to bind us more closely to himself as our Saviour and our God. "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 John 5:21). In any case, like Job, let us say, "That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more" (Job 34:32; cf. Joshua 7:6).

IV. Again, we should pray that we may be able to SURRENDER OURSELVES WHOLLY TO GOD. "The hardest, the severest, the last lesson which man has to learn upon this earth is submission to the will of God. It is the hardest lesson, because to our blinded eyesight it often seems a cruel will. It is the severest, because it can be only taught by the blighting of much that has been most dear; it is the last lesson, because when a man has learned that, he is fit to be transplanted from a world of wilfulness to a world in which one will alone is loved and done. All that saintly experience ever had to teach resolves itself into this - the lesson how to say affectionately, "Not as I will, but as thou wilt" (F. W. Robertson). When we have learned this lesson, then we are able to see with thankfulness and joy that God's holiness and love are one (ver. 4). Besides, we have reached a height which, looking before and after, we recognize the gracious dealings of God with us all through, and are able to say that it was good for us to have been afflicted (vers. 6-12). Perhaps, like the psalmist, we may have been falling into carnal security. We have said to ourselves, "I shall never be moved." Our presumption has brought upon us chastisement. We presumed upon our health, and God sent sickness; we presumed upon our friends and lovers, and God has put them far from us; we presumed upon our reputation and worldly comforts, and God has brought us low; we presumed upon our religious faith and privileges, and God has hid his face from us, and taught us that we must rely only on himself. Our trials have moved us to prayer (vers. 8-10); our prayer has brought us help and comfort from God (ver. 11), and now with renewed hope and joy we can sing God's praise (ver. 12). - W.F.

Parallel Verses
KJV: {A Psalm and Song at the dedication of the house of David.} I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.

WEB: I will extol you, Yahweh, for you have raised me up, and have not made my foes to rejoice over me.

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