“You have rebuked the proud, the cursed ones who go astray from Your Commands” (Psalm 119:21).
“The simple is made wise when the scorner is punished, and when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge” (Proverbs 21:11).
Taken together, these two verses show how God’s people are EDIFIED and EDUCATED when scorners and cursed ones are rebuked and punished. Believers are made wise and they receive INSTRUCTION in God’s dealings with unbelievers. They are also the recipients of edification and education in their afflictions that they might learn His statutes.
“Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I have kept Your Word…For my good [it was] for me that I was afflicted, to learn Your Statutes…I know, O Jehovah, Your judgments [are] right; and in faithfulness You afflicted me” (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75).
Scripture teaches that afflictions come for various and sundry reasons. Jesus Christ, though the sinless Son “learned obedience from what He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).
There is an obvious, clear, and MASSIVE DIFFERENCE in the senses or ways that a GOD-HATER is said to “go astray” and the way a GOD-LOVER is said to “go astray.”
“You have trampled all who go astray from Your Statutes, for their deceit [is] falsehood” (Psalm 119:118).
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant; for I do not forget Your Commandments” (Psalm 119:176).
So why do true believers remain steadfast in Him who is “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6)? Why do they not have an insidious fickleness about them? Why are they not carried about or led astray by every wind of demonic doctrine? Why are they not fazed or daunted by accusations and assertions of theological novelty? At least one answer is that although the gospel is preached by man, they KNOW “that it is not according to man” (Galatians 1:11).
“And, brothers, I make known to you the gospel preached by me, that it is not according to man. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught [it], but by a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you heard my way of life when [I was] in Judaism, that with surpassing [zeal] I persecuted the assembly of God and ravaged it. And [I] progressed in Judaism beyond many contemporaries in my race, being much more a zealot of the traditions of my ancestors. But when God was pleased, He having separated me from my mother’s belly, and having called [me] through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the nations” (Galatians 1:11-16).
“And because of this we give thanks to God without ceasing, that having received [the] Word of hearing from us, you welcomed [it as] of God, not [as] a word of men, but as it is, truly [the] Word of God, which also works in you, the [ones] believing” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
“And you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I did not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because every lie is not of the truth” (1 John 2:20-21).
“And I will cut an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do good to them. But I will put My fear in their heart, that they shall not depart from Me” (Jeremiah 32:40).
“Because this [is] the covenant which I will covenant with the house of Israel after those days, says [the] Lord, giving My Laws into their mind, and I will write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall no more teach each one their neighbor, and each one his brother, saying, Know the Lord; because all shall know Me, from the least of them to their great ones. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and I will not at all remember their sins and their lawless deeds” (Hebrews 8:10-12).
“Then Jesus answered and said to them, Do not murmur with one another. No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. It has been written in the Prophets, They shall all be taught of God. So then everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me; not that anyone has seen the Father, except the [One] being from God, He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, The [one] believing into Me has everlasting life. I am the Bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and died. This is the Bread coming down out of Heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the Living Bread that came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he will live forever. And indeed the bread which I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:43-51).
“And I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give to you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do [them]” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).