However, you are just in all that is brought on us; for you have done right, but we have done wickedly:
I. RIGHT AS TO WISDOM. It is of great importance for us to know, and to feel, especially when tossed on the billows and enveloped in the darkness of some heavy affliction, that God is infinitely wise, and that His wisdom can and will conduct all the circumstances of His people to a happy issue. This is absolutely necessary to the enjoyment of anything like calm security amidst such scenes. It is so in the common affairs of life. The soldier trusts in the wisdom of his general, and is calm in battle. The sailor trusts in the wisdom of his captain, and is calm in the tempest. The traveller has confidence in the wisdom of his guide, and pursues his course in peaceful security. And so, if believers would enjoy a calm and cheerful assurance in fighting the battles, braving the storms, and pursuing the pilgrimage of their present probation, they must have a settled and solid repose in the infallible wisdom of God. And they must seek this, not so much from the deductions of human reason, or the better lights of their own experience in relation to providence, as from the operations of faith in the Scripture revelations of God and His government.
II. RIGHT AS TO JUSTICE. Amidst the afflictions of life, not only must we recognise and trust the infinite wisdom of God, but we must endeavour, by the lights of revelation and experience, to reconcile the justice of God with the afflictions of the righteous, and thus justify the ways of God to men. Men who only look on the surface of things and events, and judge from that, often charge God with being rigorous, unjust, and unrighteous in the operations and issues of His providence. All temporal sufferings are the righteous consequence of original or actual sin, and are frequently merited by the best of men. None can affirm that they are free from human frailties and sinful defects, and therefore they have no right to complain of the punishment of their sins. Our afflictions, generally, fall far below the guilt which we have contracted. The time is hastening on when the wisdom and justice of providence will be convincingly evident to all.
III. RIGHT AS TO GOODNESS. "Thou art good, and doest good." Such was the testimony of the psalmist; such is the uniform testimony of revelation; and such, notwithstanding its mysteries, is the acknowledgment of universal providence. And it is very necessary for us to be convinced of this, and live under the perpetual and growing influence of it, amidst the tribulations of life. Else how can we be calm, secure, and happy?
1. Strive to understand God in your afflictions. From the absence of this intelligent view of God's providence in affliction the greatest mischief often springs. Ignorance here, as everywhere else, is ever attended by distrust, fear, dissatisfaction, and wasting anxiety; while, on the other hand, intelligence produces confidence, serenity, contentedness, and a delightful peace and repose.
2. Learn to avoid a spirit of envy and murmuring. If God acts wisely, justly, and mercifully, in often permitting the wicked to live and prosper and the righteous to fall into great afflictions, then resign yourselves to His will, be satisfied with the dispensations of His hand, envy not the condition of others, neither murmur at your own. Consider well the folly, vanity, and misery of sinful prosperity, which rather needs your pity than your envy.
3. Learn to be firm and faithful in the service and cause of God. Afflictions have driven many from Christ and His kingdom.
Parallel VersesKJV: Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly: