Before I Was Afflicted I Went Astray,
But Now Have I Kept Thy Word

By David J. Stewart | January 2016

Psalms 119:67 and 71, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

       The Psalmist, King David, had made some really bad decisions in his life. While stepping out on his rooftop mansion for some fresh air, he noticed a neighbour's wife named Bath-Sheba bathing naked on her roof. Bath-Sheba's husband Uriah was away, faithfully serving in the Israeli military. David took Bath-Sheba into his own home and committed adultery with her, impregnating Bath-Sheba. David called Uriah back from the battle and gave him an abundance of alcohol to get him drunk, trying to convince Uriah to comfort his wife by being intimate with her, but Uriah refused out of loyalty to the other soldiers, who were away fighting in battle. Uriah was still sober enough to stand for what he believed was right, while King David shamefully conspired to hide his sin of adultery with Bath-Sheba.

Consequently, in an act of desperation, David gave the order for Uriah to be sent to the hottest place in the battle, and for the other soldiers to draw back, leaving Uriah alone to be murdered. King David, whom the Bible calls a man after God's own heart (1st Samuel 13:14), was an adulterer and murderer! Yet, David found forgiveness from an awesome, merciful, omnipotent, all-loving, living God. Psalm chapter 51 is David's prayer of repentance to the Lord. Psalms 51:1-4, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” David acknowledged his transgressions to God, and he was immediately pardoned.

Several months had passed after Uriah's murder. Bath-Sheba was in her last month of pregnancy. The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to confront David concerning his lingering sins. David immediately confessed that he had “SINNED AGAINST THE LORD.” God instantly pardoned David, but there were still earthly consequences. 2nd Samuel 12:13-14, “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” Sin always has consequences! The Devil always pays with counterfeit money! All of Satan's apples have worms! The Devil always shows people the bright neon lights of Sin City Las Vegas; but he never shows them the prisons, morgues, hospitals, homeless and grave yards. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Every human being has three enemies: the world, the flesh and the Devil.

Adversity And Affliction Drove David Closer To The Lord

It is typical for every human being to learn the hard way. Every child learns the hard way not to touch a hot stove. It's just something that they need to learn on their own. A parent can tell a child not to touch something hot, but they won't truly grasp the warning until they get burned. You won't have to tell them again! Sadly, adults aren't much better. We all have to learn some things the hard way. It would be great if we could all learn early in life, so that we wouldn't have to learn things the hard way; but there's no possible way that we can learn everything there is to know. Unforeseen events and circumstances are a hard part of life.

If David had known the dire consequences of his sins, I guarantee that he never would have gone down that awful path. David brought much reproach upon the good name of the Lord. David lost the respect of the community. The Bible says that especially, David's neighbours were afraid to associate with him because of the stigma upon his once good name. When David's neighbours saw him, they quickly fled the other way, pretending that they hadn't seen him at all, avoiding him at all cost. What a horrible and painful thing to experience—public rejection by one's familiar neighbours. Psalms 31:11, “I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.” Oh, how sin steals, kills and destroys a person's happiness, loving-favor and good name!

The consequences of David's sins were a rude awakening for him—The rejection by his neighbours; The taking of his son's life by the Lord; The rebuke from God via Nathan the prophet; The public shame and reproach; The rejoicing of his calamity by his many enemies; The contempt from Uriah's family; The awful embarrassment; The tarnishing of David's once good name; The negative impact upon the citizen's of Israel; The displeasure and disappointment of the Lord; The knowledge that the sword would never depart from David's house because of his sins; And the lifetime stigma that would remain upon David. It was all these afflictions that opened David's eyes! Psalms 119:67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.”

David had gone astray down a path is wickedness. Dr. Bob Jones Sr. rightly said that behind every tragedy in human character is a slow process of wicked thinking! So true! Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” David had allowed sin to enter into his heart. So oftentimes in life people don't realize that they have become addicted to something wicked until it is too late. A person can become addicted to just about anything. Although David's sin of adultery was a crime of passion, the murder of Uriah was premeditated evil. One sin often begets another sin, and another, and another. Evil always begets more evil.

There is always a progressive degenerative process of one's character behind any horrible deed. When a person gets out of a Bible-preaching church, stops abiding in the Holy Scriptures (i.e., the King James Bible), stops praying, stops caring, stops listening to hard-preaching, and stops soul-winning—They have embarked on a wrong path. Add to that a lot of filthy television watching, the wrong kind of friends, drinking booze, secular philosophies, sinful bad habits and worldliness—You've got a recipe for destruction! Every Christian believer needs to live close to the Words of God. The PROMISES OF GOD in the precious King James Bible give us comfort and hope in Christ Jesus (Romans 15:4).

Psalms 119:9, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” It's as simple as that! The way to cleanse one's character of sinful behavior is to OBEY THE WORDS OF GOD!!! Of course, a person must first be born-again by faith in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Affliction, hard times and adversity are oftentimes the best thing that can happen in a person's life. For every man that has been blessed by adversity, another one hundred have been cursed by prosperity. We need another Great Depression in the United States. Americans are so sinfully arrogant, selfish and proud nowadays. Our nation has forsaken God. Same-sex marriage is perversion. Same-sex adoption of children is child abuse. Abortion is cold-blooded murder. Public nudity is shameful immorality. Hollywood is of the Devil. Oh, how our nation needs to believe the Gospel. The great need of this dark hour in America is preaching preachers who once again expose public wickedness, rebuke blatant U.S. government crimes, refute all works of darkness, take an uncompromising stand against sin, and fight against ole smut-face (the Devil) with Billy Sunday style rants. The mess in America today is the responsibility of the pulpit. We need affliction in America today! Prosperity has ruined our country! People are so unthankful to God these days, having no fear of God before their eyes. Are you at peace with your Maker friend? God loves you, so much.

Condemning Others Brings The Judgment Of God

Most people's sins are hidden, having never been made public, and so they have a puffed-up sense of pride, quick to condemn others for their sins while overlooking their own. 1st Timothy 5:24, “Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” People whose sins have never been made public are quick to point out other people's past sins and failures; but if everyone's sins were broadcast worldwide, they'd shut up lest they be self-condemned immediately. We are all woeful sinners in the eyes of a holy God. No one has a right nor grounds to throw rocks at anyone else who sins!

The internet is plagued with hateful slander, malicious gossip and hypocritical condemnation of others for their sins and alleged sins. It matters not if the gossip is true or false, it is evil to spread gossip and backbite others. The name “Satan” means “accuser.” Revelation 12:10, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” We're never more like Satan than when we accuse OTHERS of sinning. James 4:12, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

Jesus taught in Matthew 7:1-3, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” To judge doesn't mean not to preach or take a stand for God against public wickedness. It means not to condemn others for their sins on a personal level.

God Loves To Pardon Iniquity On The Basis Of The Sacrifice Of Jesus Christ

One of my favorite Bible verses is Micah 7:18, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” The Lord, our Creator, loves to pardon any person's transgressions on the basis of Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross. 2nd Peter 3:9 teaches that God is not willing for anyone to perish, but for all men to COME TO REPENTANCE unto salvation. This is the only way to be pardoned of our iniquities, that is, by BELIEVING THE GOSPEL. John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

We all make big mistakes in our life, whether it be deliberate sinful choices or other dumb decisions. I found a few secular quotes by some worldly celebrities today about making mistakes...

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” —Johnny Cash

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” —Bruce Lee

“Without pain, there would be no suffering, without suffering we would never learn from our mistakes. To make it right, pain and suffering is the key to all windows, without it, there is no way of life.” —Angelina Jolie

“Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.” —Al Franken

Here are some helpful important Bible verses, which promise us that God will forgive our sins, and help us to overcome sinful temptations through the power of Jesus Christ...

1st John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1st Corinthians 10:12-13, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

2nd Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Here's a wonderful gospel medley of “I Am Ready To Do Thy Perfect Will” and “Through It All.”

The following is the last chorus from the song, “THROUGH IT ALL”...

I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I'd never had a problem,
I wouldn't know God could solve them,
I'd never know what faith in God could do

I love those last three sentences...

For if I'd never had a problem,
I wouldn't know God could solve them,
I'd never know what faith in God could do

Amen! What problems are you facing my brother or sister? What heartaches bear heavy upon your soul? What deep pain in your soul desperately desires for the healing hand of the Savior to reach down and comfort your heart, as only God can do! What are your burdens? If you never had any problems, then you would never know that God can solve them. You would never know what faith could do! PRAY to God, getting Him involved, then claim the sweet peace that passeth all understanding in Philippians 4:6-7, knowing that you've placed your trust in God through prayer. If we pray and God doesn't seem to answer, know in your heart that God usually works in unseen (mysterious) ways. God's hand is seen, not in months or even years, but in decades!!! The Bible bears this truth out clearly in many instances; such as, the life of Joseph and Abraham.

Let Life's Bitter Hardships Make You A Sweeter Christian

If you've never been publicly afflicted because of your sins or crimes, or have suffered really hard and ugly times, or have endured harsh persecution in life (for any reason), then you've never truly experienced the depths of God's grace, love and mercy. Luke 7:47, “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” After King David sinned, was caught, reprimanded and publicly shamed, he became a much sweeter Christian. You'll never be able to truly become a SWEETER person until you've been through BITTER hardships. David became a much sweeter and loving man after his backsliding, wickedness and repentance.

David said that he went astray before he was afflicted. He said in Psalms 119:71 that it was GOOD for him that he had been afflicted, that he might learn God's statutes. This is an important truth. The lesson to be learned is that our troubles, our pain and suffering caused by sinning, and our oft problems, drive us closer to God's Word, prayer and the Lord Himself. It is very important that every Christian believer view their past sins, failures and blunders as learning lessons, and not hindrances to serving God. So many Christians let the failures of yesterday, and the fear of tomorrow, rob them of the joy of serving God today! Whatever sins you may have committed in the past, even if adultery and murder as did David (the man after God's own heart), remember that all your sins are covered by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. David didn't lose his salvation when he sinned; but rather, he lost the joy of God's salvation. Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). END

HELL FIRE (you'd better get saved before it's too late! by Pastor Danny Castle)

God Opens Doors!
When one door closes He opens another. It's not that Jesus closes doors,
but He opens other doors! When Jesus opens a door, no man can shut it! ...

Revelation 3:8, “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

Repent And Believe To Be Saved

Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”

Mark 1:15: “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me." —John 5:39

Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness! | Believe The Gospel