(This is a repost from the Kiln blog; original.)
We celebrate here the Path of Discipline. The key line in this octet refers to going astray and receiving correction.
However, observing proper feudal protocol, the psalmist begins by affirming that God has treated him quite well, and consistent with revelation. This is a strong statement that God’s purpose and intentions are inherently in his own best interest. Further, it was always consistent with God’s promises. The second verse starts literally: “Goad me into having good taste and clear perception.” He sees how God has fostered a sense of trust and dependence in him.
Without some sense of sorrow and the experience of God’s wrath, it’s hard to drag our fallen nature into faithfulness. As a master, God defines what it means to be good, so keep goading us, Lord.
The wicked are always trying to stick some nasty label on us because we reject their imaginary morals. But it won’t stick because we serve God from the heart, not some human reason. By comparison, their hearts are loaded up with moral junk that only looks good, but their conscience is insensitive. By contrast, we gorge our hearts on the Law of God.
So it’s all good to walk through some affliction, because that’s how we discipline the flesh to obey the spirit. Even in His most challenging demands of us, the demands of God are more precious than all the wealth in the world.