October 11, 2012

Psalm 31:5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.

Psalm 31 is another of David’s Psalms that Jesus quoted from the cross, and as such it is particularly worth studying in its entirety. The interesting thing about this is that most people tend to take, “Into Your hands I commit my spirit,” as Jesus giving up, when the Psalm as a whole ends on a very upbeat note, from verse 19 on. The whole point seems to be that righteous people can experience serious trouble, but if they will indeed commit themselves to God, then the outcome will always be good. We tend to hear Jesus’ words as, “God, I’m going to die now,” but they were far more than that. They were an affirmation of perfect faith, based on experience. What Jesus was wanting his disciples, and by extension us, to remember was perhaps verse 24: “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Incidentally, there is again an interesting difference between the NIV and the Japanese. Where the NIV frames the second half of the verse as a request, in Japanese it is a statement: “You have redeemed me.” That seems to be much more of an affirmation of faith in the middle of suffering.

I have never been crucified, or even put in a situation where I thought I was about to die, but I have been given many opportunities to commit myself to God. The statement, “Into Your hands I commit my spirit,” has two elements. The first is the awareness that physical circumstances aren’t the final answer, because we are spiritual beings who belong to a spiritual God. This is something I’ve known in my head for a long time, but it is still working its way into my heart. We are so easily consumed by the physical! That’s not to say that the physical is inherently bad, because it is God’s creation and He said it was good, but it isn’t the “be all and end all” of our existence. The second element is the active operation of the will in trusting God. This is also of vital importance, because trust is indeed a choice, and many have stumbled terribly on it. I’ve got to choose to trust God each moment, whatever my circumstances look like, remembering that He has redeemed me with the blood of His Son, and that outweighs everything else. This is a truth I try to convey to others, but with varying success. When we really grasp it, it brings an unshakable peace and joy that can be had no other way.

Father, thank You for Your grace toward me and toward all mankind. Help me communicate that grace more and more effectively, even as I walk in it more and more fully myself, so that all of Your purposes may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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