Several Points About Trials

By Hamilton Smith (adapted)

In Psalm 118:5-21 the Holy Spirit used the experiences of a delivered individual as representative of God’s way of intervention on behalf of the nation of Israel. A godly man called upon the LORD in his distress, and the LORD answered and brought him into a large place, which speaks of much blessing. He thus learned in his distress that the LORD was on his side, and the LORD being for him who could be against him? (Rom. 8:31). He asked, “What can man do unto me?” (Ps. 118:6 NKJV). The man learned moreover that it is better to trust in the LORD than in man or the great people of the earth.
The psalmist then wrote about the trials through which he had passed and the LORD‘s dealings to bring about his deliverance. First, all the nations had surrounded him, but in the name of the LORD they were destroyed (vv.10-12).

Second, the enemy of his soul, the Devil, was the one who had energized the nations (Rev. 12:15-17) and pushed him violently; but the LORD intervened to his help and had become his “strength,” “song” and “salvation” (Ps. 118:13-14). As a result, the song was heard in the dwelling of the righteous, the strength was seen in the right hand of the LORD and the salvation in deliverance from death (vv.15-17).

Third, behind the opposition of the nations and the power of Satan there was, in these trials, the chastening, or disciplining, from the LORD. The enemy had sought his fall (v.13), but in those struggles the LORD had chastened him “severely” for his good (v.18). The enemy would oppose him to bring him into death; the LORD chastened him to save him from death. The LORD chastened only to remove all that was contrary to Himself, in order to open a righteous way into His presence to be there for His praise.

The Devil is behind the outward enemies of God’s people, but the Lord is above the power of the Devil, and there is no one above the Lord. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (v.1).