65 You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.
68 You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
69 The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
70 their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.
71 it is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
In this passage, the Psalmist, David is recognizing what he has learned about God and from God from the afflictions he has been through. He starts out recognizing that God is good and he deals well with us. He deals well with us and He loves us because of who He is, not because of who we are. David knows that God has dealt well with him even when David did not do everything right. Aren’t we grateful that God deals well with us according to His word rather than dealing with us according to who we are? I know I am! As I have said before I recognize what a wretched woman I would be if not for the grace of God on my life!
David also recognizes that what he has learned from his afflictions is what brought him back into fellowship with God. In verse 67 he states “before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” God can and will many times use afflictions from the choices we have made to bring us back into fellowship with him. I know He has done that for me in the past. I have made choices that were not God honoring and were not the best choices I could have made. Along with those choices usually come consequences, but those consequences also usually are what prompts me to turn my heart back to the One who can help me get out of those consequences. I also know that the harder it is to get out of the consequences the deeper the lesson I receive. David recognizes here that he had gone astray, he was afflicted and now he was turning back to God. And I believe verse 68 is his cry to learn from God by hearing from here on. For me, I know that when I am going through a tough time and I am praying for deliverance from God, I also start praying for God to go ahead and teach me what it is he wants me to learn from whatever trial or hardship I am going through. That way, I will have learned the lesson and hopefully in the future, He can teach me from His word or help my mind to recount what I have learned in the past so that I won’t have to do a do-over of that particular hardship.
The next lesson is a hard one to learn here too. David had encountered people who wanted him to fail. Regardless of what he may have learned and where his heart may be at the time of this writing, there were still people who were slandering and smearing his name (v. 69 & 70) Maybe the people who wanted to smear David, kept bringing up the past, maybe they were having a hard time accepting that David had asked for forgiveness from God and/or anyone else he needed to ask forgiveness from and they were just waiting for him to fall apart again. But David had made a decision that his whole heart was in with God. He was delighting in what he had learned and in what he was learning from the scriptures (law). David knew that he couldn’t do anything about what others were going to say about him, he just had to keep his focus on God.
And because of the way God had brought him through, and because of the things he had learned David recognized that walking with God was far better than being wealthy. Walking with God is far better than any silver or gold or houses or cars or any of the wealth that the world has to offer. You can keep all the wealth of the world, just give me Jesus!