"You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word.
Teach me good discernment and knowledge,
For I believe in Your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word."
"You have dealt well" makes me think of "It is well with my soul." This has the flavor of gratefulness for the goodness of God. It is not that we have been insolated against difficulties in this life, but rather we have enjoyed the good times and note that we have had His help in those hard times. He dealt. That means He deals with His people. He does not leave us alone. God is not stand-offish.
Matthew Henry says, "God has dealt with us, we must own He has dealt well with us, better than we deserve, and all in love and with design to work for our good." Adam Clarke says, "Every servant of God can testify that God has done him nothing but good and therefore he can speak good of His name." One of my favorite verses in the Bible is James 1:17 "
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."
"Teach me good discernment and knowledge."
"Teach me a good taste (so the word signifies), a good relish, to discern things that differ, to distinguish between truth and falsehood, good and evil; for the ear tries words, as the mouth tastes meat. Many have knowledge who have little judgment. Where God has given a good heart a good head too may in faith be prayed for." (Matthew Henry)
Once my sister in law made my father a birthday cake that looked like meatloaf and mashed potatoes as a practical joke. Of course he was disappointed that it turned out to be cake. It took discernment and good taste to find out it truly was not what it appeared to be. It is important to be discerning, not to be gullible. Even knowledge without discernment or sound judgment is of no use. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
We are knee deep in so much political muck that it is hard to be discerning. No wonder the masses can be so easily led. As the circus giant P.T. Barnum said, "A fool is born every minute." There will always be those who will want to capitalize on that.
"Before I was afflicted I went astray:
but now I have kept Thy word."
"Many judge badly; for they think that affliction is a sign of God's displeasure. Let me have that good judgment that receives it as a fatherly correction from Thee." Our pastor gave the illustration this week of the sovereignty of a parent: you allow choices, but there are rewards as well as consequences, i.e. Adam and Eve in the Garden. "Prosperity is often the mother of error," whereas, "The school of the cross is the school of light." "Affliction sanctified is a great blessing; unsanctified, is an additional curse." The Psalmist acknowledges that "God's chastisements have done him good." "Many have been humbled under affliction, and taught to know themselves and humble themselves before God, that probably without this could have never been saved: after this they have been serious an faithful." (quotes from Adam Clarke)