by Francis Bourdillon
“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75
“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right.” God orders all things! His “judgments” here mean His general orderings, decisions, dealings–not afflictions only, though including them.
And when the Psalmist says, “Your judgments,” he means especially God’s judgments towards him, God’s dealings with him, and thus all that had happened to him or would happen to him. For in the Psalmist’s creed, there was no such thing as chance. God ordered all that befell him, and he delighted to think so. He expresses a sure and happy confidence in all that God did and would do, with regard to him. He trusted fully in God’s wisdom, God’s power, and God’s love.
“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right”–quite right, right in every way, perfectly wise and good–without one single point that might have been better. David shows the firmest persuasion of this. “I know,” he says; not merely “I think.” But these very words, “I know,” clearly show that this was a matter of faith, not of sight. For he does not say, “I can see that your judgments are right”–but “I know.” The meaning plainly is, “Though I cannot see all–though there are some things in Your dealings which I cannot fully understand–yet, I believe, I am persuaded, and thus I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right.”
“Your judgments.” Not some of them–but ALL. He takes into view all God’s dealings with him and says of them without exception, “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right.”
When the things that happen to us are plainly for our comfort and good, as many of them are–then we thankfully receive what God thus sends to us, and own Him as the Giver of all, and bless Him for His gracious dealing; and this is right. But all the faith required for this, is to own God as dealing with us, instead of thanklessly receiving the gifts with no thought of the Giver. It is a far higher degree of faith, that says of ALL God’s dealings, even when seemingly not for our happiness, “I know that Your judgments are right!”
Yet this is the meaning here, or certainly the chief meaning. For though the word “judgments” does mean God’s dealings of every kind–yet here the words which follow, make it apply especially to God’s afflictive dealings–that is, to those dealings of His that do not seem to be for our happiness, “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that You in faithfulness have afflicted me.”
The judgments which the Psalmist chiefly had in view, and which he felt so sure were right, were not joys–but sorrows; not things bestowed–but things taken away; those blessings in disguise; those veiled mercies; those gifts clad in the garb of mourning–which God so often sends to His children. The Psalmist knew, and knew against all appearance to the contrary, that these judgments were “right.” Whatever they might be–losses, bereavements, disappointments, pain, sickness–they were right, perfectly right; so right that they could not have been better; just what were best–and all because they were God’s judgments.
That one thing satisfied the Psalmist’s mind, and set every doubt at rest. The dealings in themselves, he might have doubted–but not Him whose dealings they were. “Your judgments.” That settled all.
“And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” This means that, in appointing trouble as his lot, God had dealt with him in faithfulness to His word, in faithfulness to His purposes of mercy, and in faithful love. God had sent him just what was most for his good, though not always what was most pleasing; and in this He had shown Himself faithful. Gently and lovingly does the Lord deal with His children. He gives no unnecessary pain; but that which is needful, He will not withhold.
by Francis Bourdillon