A major theme of the Psalms is the affliction of the saints. This theme begins in Psalm 3:1 and re-appears frequently through Psalm 143. This reminds us that this present life is a “vale of tears” and is filled with suffering. The Psalms contain endless practical lessons on this important subject.
The theme is not merely affliction; it is how to live for God and trust God in affliction.
David’s psalms are filled with afflictions. The trouble continues in psalm after psalm. David had trouble that he might show the redeemed of all ages how to face trouble in God’s will. By his example, we learn to expect trouble and not to be surprised at it. David teaches us how to pray and seek God’s face in every situation, how to trust God, how to be patient in trials, how to confess our sins, how to praise God in happy times and in sorrowful times.
Following are a few examples of David’s troubles as expressed in the Psalms:
“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me” (Ps. 3:1).
“I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies” (Ps. 6:6-7).
“O LORD, my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me” (Ps. 7:1).
“Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Ps. 10:1).
“Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men” (Ps. 12:1).
“How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?” (Ps. 13:1-2).
“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about” (Ps. 17:8-9).
“The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me” (Ps. 18:4-5).
“The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred” (Ps. 25:17-19).
“Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty” (Ps. 27:12).
“Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. 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. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel. For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life” (Ps. 31:9-13).
“My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? ... I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?” (Ps. 42:3, 9-11).
“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Mt. 10:38).
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt. 16:24).
“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (Joh. 12:25-26).
“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Ac. 14:22).
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Ro. 8:17).
“For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know” (1 Th. 3:4).
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Ti. 1:8).
“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Ti. 2:11-12).
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Ti. 3:12).
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (Jas. 1:2-4).
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Pe. 1:6-7).
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Pe. 2:21).
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1 Pe. 4:12-14).
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