67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.
68 You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees.
69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
I keep your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
but I delight in your law.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.
Psalm 119:67-72 NIV
When studying the Bible, it always good to compare Bible verses that talk about the same topic. Let’s take a look at other parts of the Bible that address the subject of discipline.
LORD, happy is the man You discipline and teach from Your law. Psalm 94:12 CSB
Do not despise the LORD’s instructions my son, and do not loathe His discipline; For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:11-12 CSB
My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly, or faint when you are reproved by Him; for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives. Endure it as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline–which all receive–then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:5-11 CSB
God’s discipline seems very painful to endure, but it is useful. After experiencing the consequences of our disobedience, we are more likely to obey in the future. During pain, we often grow closer to God and become more like Him.
Immediately after the writer talks about the discipline of God in verse 67, he speaks of the goodness of God in verse 68. We often think of the goodness of God being incompatible with His discipline, but the two parts fit together. Because God loves us, He disciplines us. It is evidence of His love.
So often we want only mercy from God, but it is discipline that will often bring about needed changes in our lives. (Of course, God is a merciful God who wants to show us compassion, but there are times when discipline is more compassionate than mercy.)
Our attitude towards God’s discipline is very important. In order for us to grow and become more like Christ, we need to exhibit a positive attitude during the times when God is using discipline to bring about the fruit of peace and righteousness in our lives. The process of discipline may be quite painful, but the result is a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father.