Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.
Believe it or not, Psalm 119:65-72 is my favorite scripture from the Old Testament. When I first became a Christian in 1977, this passage had a wonderful affect on me and I have never forgotten what it meant for my life.
I was sitting on the top of a double decker bus at the front seat. It was my favorite position on the bus because I always enjoyed the view it gave me of the city of Glasgow. As I journeyed into work, which took about 25 minutes, I sometimes read from my Gideon’s pocket edition of the Bible. These used to be given out to 5th grade classes in elementary school to every student before the days of political correctness and atheistic militantism.
Anyway, I was reading through the psalms consecutively and reached Psalm 119. I didn’t know that it had all those verses in it, so I read it slowly section by section. When I reached verses 65-72, I felt as though God was speaking to my spirit, especially verse 67: Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.
You see, I knew that I had gone astray in my teenage life and had rejected God. It was only when He afflicted my soul and constantly pestered me spiritually that my life began to turn around completely. When I read those words for the first time, I wanted to weep and laugh out loud at the same time, but being on a bus full of Glaswegians during the morning rush hour stopped me in my tracks. Instead, I underlined those verses in my Bible and have kept them written in my heart ever since.
We all wander from God at times and wonder how we’ll ever get back to being in a daily relationship with Him. God may afflict our conscience or our spirit relentlessly until we have no choice but to totally surrender to Him. From experience, let me tell you that it is both humbling and wonderful to finally let God be God in life. He changed mine in absolutely amazing ways; if you let Him, I know that He can do the same for you.
Prayer: O Lord, there are times when we wander from Your words and allow ourselves to be sinfully led astray from Your Son. We seem to separate our souls from Your Presence and distance our spirits from Your influence. But You relentlessly pursue us and afflict us constantly with Your loving, patient ways. Grant us the courage and the will to turn back to Your Son and be restored to Your everlasting love. In Christ’s Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, or if you have questions, please send John an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest drawings called “Broadway Lights.” It depicts a busy night-time scene from New York City. You can view a larger version of the drawing here:
(John has a limited number(25) of signed and matted prints of this drawing available. The cost is only $20, plus shipping. If you would like one, please email him at the same address as above)