Psalms 66:10



Psalms 66:10-12, “For Thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”

One of the great benefits of being a child of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ is fact that God is in control of everything in your life.  Once a person turns from their sins to Jesus God becomes more involved in that persons life than He was before. After all there is a significant difference from being alienated from God and being His child. Many of the promises and plans that God has for the future of mankind are only for His children. These wonderful plans reach into eternity. A plan which includes conforming us to the image of Christ.

God is a very jealous God, a consuming fire. Once you have been bought with the price of Jesus’ blood God is not going to let you go. God is not going to forsake you. God is not going to let your flesh or the world have victory over you.

Psalms 66:11 says of God, “Thou broughtest us into the net.” There are quit a few places in the Bible which talk about how men cast nets to ensnare other men. Well, God casts nets too. In other words God works in the circumstances of our lives to bring us to the place where He wants us to be, to bring us close to Him, to guide us into the work He would have us do for Him. A net is for capturing. And God has His ways of capturing us, of capturing our attention, of putting us in situations where we can do nothing but turn to Him.

One of the greatest examples of this in the Bible is the story of Job. Job had some very great afflictions and tragedies that befell him in life. And this is what Job learned. Job 19:6 says, “Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with His net.”

The next time you find that the circumstances of your life seem to be spinning beyond your control it may very well be that it is not that your life is falling to pieces as you think it is but it may simply be that God has cast His net about you.

Psalms 66:10-12 make 4 very important statements in regards to this idea of God casting His net about us. These statements are, For Thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, Thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads.”

Bad things happen in life to people. When they do people always question why. But one thing is certain for a Christian and that is when tragedy strikes God allowed it. God is in control of our lives much more than we realize, especially in a Christians life. Once you enter into salvation you enter into a whole new realm of God’s will that you were never in before. You become part of those who are predestined to be like Jesus both in inward character and outward glory because this is God’s predestined will. You can be certain He is going to take control of your life and make this happen.

Tragedy and suffering happens to everyone in life whether you are a Christian or not. But it is much better to have the promise that all things work together for God to them who loved God to them who are the called according to His purpose than to be a lost person, wandering aimlessly in life. Afflictions happen to lost people too but what little good it often does them. More often than not afflictions harden their hearts towards God. This should not be the case with Christians. For the child of God afflictions serve a great purpose in helping the gospel of Jesus Christ to shine even brighter in your life.

The truth is that for the Christian this life is really all about the gospel. God’s greatest and most important work in this world is the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the redeeming of souls from the chains of sin, the restoration of souls from the corruption and death of sin to newness of life. This is one of the reasons why God proves us tries us casts His net upon us and lays affliction upon our loins.

Even the evil things that men do to you God let happen. “Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads.” If you are a Christian God is in much more control of your life than you probably realize. One thing that many Christians do not realize is that being conformed to the image of Christ means becoming a gospel giant, a person like Paul who was separated unto the gospel of Christ. What is the burden of the LORD? Being conformed to the image of Christ does mean one day having a glorified body like Jesus but practically speaking it means having the same character that He has, the same heart, the same love, the same wisdom, the same practical righteousness and so of course the same burden for lost souls that Jesus has you will have too. That is a great burden. It is not something that is luke-warm.

If only we could look through the eyes of God and understand the value of a human soul the way that He does. Whenever I look at the stars in the sky or think about outer space I think about t how vehemently they burn and I wonder why God created so many stars that burn so fierce. And then I try vainly to grasp with my imagination just how zealous is the Lord of Hosts. I do not think that the vehement fires of all the trillions of stars in the universe combined compares to the eternal love and zeal of God when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

         If we could have a vision of all the souls in hell suffering for eternity without the presence of the Lord justly doomed forever to suffer in those holy flames spending eternity in regret for all their sins spending eternity forever filthy and defiled, and if we could have a vision of what the child of God becomes once he is fully glorified both in body and soul through the righteousness of Christ perhaps then we would look at the lost souls of this world with a greater love and a greater desire to bring them into the light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yes we are partakers of His grace, but we are also soldiers, spiritual soldiers in a spiritual warfare. We have tasted of the good world to come but in this life it is the will of God that we also taste of the cross and its bitterness and shame: proved, tried, and afflicted.

God does not do things the way that man does. Most Christians are not in the high ends of society. Most Christians are not wealthy or powerful or successful according to the standards of the world. Here in America there is so much freedom for the gospel and there is much prosperity compared to other countries that we often forget that much of the world is not free. Many of the governments of the world are run by evil dictators who oppose and hate Christianity and have the power to cause great suffering to Christians. We in America forget sometimes just how much many of the other Christians of the world suffer, without bibles, cast into prison, or under fear of torture and death. Countries like China, Russia, North Korea, and much of the Middle East is greatly opposed to Christianity. These countries make up a large percent of the world

It is also important to look at history and remember that countries such as China and Russia were not always this way. In fact if you go to Russia you will notice there are many ancient cathedrals which were built a long time ago. They were built in a time when that country had freedom and opportunity for the gospel. Such should serve as a reminder to Americans, to Canadians, to many Europeans who still have a lot of religious freedoms, a reminder of what can happen in their countries.

It is always a battle and a struggle in a country for freedom of speech, freedom of religion and other freedoms. The primary reason is because the devil opposes and hates such freedom because he does not want the gospel to be spread. There has never been such a thing as a country in human history without these freedoms but that allowed the preaching of the gospel. This is no coincidence. This is merely evidence to the truth.  Where the gospel endures freedom endures because there is no greater freedom given by God than the freedom to accept or reject the gospel.  The more that the people of a country turn away from the Gospel the more it will turn away from freedom.

We do not think a lot about countries like North Korea. It is a small country, a country with no freedom of religion. Bibles are outlawed and Christians are jailed and executed. And the whole country by law is required to worship their leader. Of course what happens to the non Christians in that country is not good either. They are poor and starving. They live in fear of their government.

Take a good look at North Korea. Let it serve as a warning concerning the future destiny of the world. The day is coming when all the world will be like North Korea and will be ruled a power hungry vicious tyrant of a beast who demands that all men worship him. This will happen during the 7 year great tribulation under the kingdom of the anti Christ.

Proved, tried, and afflicted. Yes every Christian has a cross to bear. It can seem a lonely road at times.  The gospel road is a road that some Christians are more willing to go down than others but the truth is God wants all His children to have a gospel burden, a gospel desire, a gospel thirst. It is a road of shame and suffering with little glory in it. And God often does things in a strange way that we would not expect. Just of the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She lived her life slandered and looked down upon by those around her because of the accusations of sexual immorality. In our society this sounds like no big deal but it was a big deal to the Jews who lived in a very religious society. She bore the shame of the gospel.

We may wonder why God would cast such a shadowing shroud over her life. Yes look at the rewards that she earned both in this life and the next. Why she gave birth to the Christ. She raised the Christ as a child and spent 30 years with Him. Imagine spending 30 with Jesus when He was on this earth. The disciples only had 3 years. Mary was even there when Jesus when died on the cross. The things she must have learned and experienced and the fellowship she must have had with God we may never know.

You would think the people of her day would have revered her and treated her with some respect for bringing a child into the world, and not just any child but a child that grew into a hard working adult and one who had a great effect on society with His love and compassion, doing many great miracles when He healed the sick. Instead they lied and slandered her and treated her as an adulterous woman.

Proved, tried, and afflicted. Endure your afflictions. Endure your shame. Yes men will look down on you. No they may not understand what you suffer. They may even see your life as a failure. But just think of the opportunity to be a part of God’s gospel work in this world. Mary got to have a part, a very special par. She was the mother of Jesus. What will your part be? I do not know. But you can be certain God will prove, try, and afflict you. God will cast His net about you. When you taste the bitterness and shame of the cross I hope you will not turn back but that you will be (Hebrews 12:2), “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

In describing this process of being proved, tried, and afflicted by God Psalms 66:12 says something very interesting when it says, “We went through fire and through water.

There are some very important spiritual truths learned through thinking about fire and water. Every physical thing that God created has certain spiritual truths behind it because the physical symbolizes the spiritual. This is certainly true about the elements of fire and water. What is it about fire and water? Well there seems to be two important characteristics about fire and water. In the one they are a great contrast to one another. And in the other fire and water serve a similar function.

One of the obvious contrasts of water and fire has to do with the judgment of God. In the days of Noah God judged the world with a flood. And we know from the Bible that in the future God is going to judge the world by fire. Why this great contrast of water and fire? What is God trying to teach us?

The key characteristic about fire and water is that both are a cleansing agent. Water can wash something clean. And fire and burn away the filth. The other characteristic about fire and water is how opposite they are. One is hot and one is cool. Of course fire can evaporate water and water can quench fire. So in this sense they compliment each other.

Perhaps these differences between water and fire are meant are here to teach us something about law and grace. Law and grace are very opposite. The one is based on works. The other is based on Christ’s work. Yet even though they are so opposite the two compliment each other very well. There is righteousness in the law. There is righteousness in grace. Studying the law helps us to better understand grace and studying grace helps us to understand the law.

The best verse in the Bible on showing the difference of the contrast between law and grace is John 1:17 which says, “for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” The Old Testament is law. And the New Testament is grace. And what a difference there is between the two. The law teaches us that we are sinners. And through grace we receive the righteousness of Christ.

The age of the law ended with Christ on the cross and rising from the grave. What an amazing and graceful end to an age dictated by harshness, strictness, judgment. Strangely enough though we know that the age of grace will end with the rapture of the church. And this is a judgment on the world. Because all that is good and withstrains evil in this world will be removed. The world will be turned further into darkness and the antichrist shall arise.

Looking at it this way we can see how the age of the law ended with grace and how the age of grace is going to end with judgment. It almost seems to be an irony.

There is always more to understand about law and grace and the difference between them and especially how they come together so beautifully at the cross of Jesus Christ. Apparently God has a wonderful plan for the future which includes teaching us more about law and grace. When God has at last judged the world by fire perhaps God will allow us to look back on human history when we are in heaven and consider these two world wide judgments of water and fire and of course considering also the cross of Christ perhaps then we will truly be able to understand all the mysteries of law and grace.

We went through fire and through water. Thou hast proved us, tried us, afflicted us and cast Thy net upon us. Jesus is the great fisher of men and He is most certainly casting His net upon you to draw you out of the seas of sin in which you are sinking. If you listen carefully and honestly to your conscience you just may hear the still small voice of the Spirit of God gently whispering to you, begging with you and pleading with you with all the zeal of His eternal love. Today is the day of salvation. I hope that you will turn to Jesus today. He loves you. He died for you. And He wants to give you eternal life freely through His grace. Simply believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and Thou shalt be saved.


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