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The Purpose of Affliction

May 22, 2019
By Martin Luther

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.

PSALM 37:25

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The Purpose of Affliction

The godly, too, are afflicted, just as Isaac endured want and famine in his time. . .. The purpose of these afflictions should be carefully noted. Although public misfortunes affect the saints and the prophets, this does not happen as a punishment or because of anger, as in the case of the godless and the ungrateful; it happens for their salvation and to test and prove their faith, love, and patience, in order that the godly may learn to bear the hand of God in the management of their household. For God has promised that He wants to support them in the time of famine, as it is written (Psalm 37:25): "I have not seen the righteous forsaken." Likewise (Psalm 37:19): "In the days of famine they have abundance." God confirms these promises with such examples of the saints, and by means of this tribulation in the household He instructs the godly in the Word, in faith, in humility of spirit, in love, and in other virtues.

From Lectures on Genesis (Luther's Works 5:12)

May 22

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