September 10, 2013

Psalm 68:11 The Lord announced the word,
and great was the company of those who proclaimed it:

Sometimes I am very thankful I do my Scripture readings in two languages, and this is certainly one of those times. Two things come out in the Japanese that are invisible in any English translation I’m familiar with. The first is that the word the Lord proclaims (in the Japanese here everything is in present tense) is specifically good news. In other words, it is the Gospel. The second point that jumps out at me is that in the Japanese, the “great company” of those who proclaim this good news are specifically women. That certainly throws a money wrench into some current theology of the Church! I wonder if this verse wasn’t an inspiration to my grandfather, W. O. Carver, who was a great champion of women in ministry. At one point over half of the people under appointment by the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) were graduates of the Carver School of Missions and Social Work. Recently, some in the Southern Baptist Convention have tried to expunge my grandfather’s name from denominational history, but that doesn’t work too well. In any case, the point of this verse is that when God declares something, it behooves us to proclaim it, because it is going to be good news for all who are willing to obey it. The Gospel is not good news to those who are stubbornly set in their sin, but the minute they are willing to let go of their sin and rebellion, it becomes the best news in the world.

This verse almost makes me wish I were a woman! However, I am indeed dedicated to proclaiming the Good News the Lord has announced, and it is a joyous commission indeed. Fruit has historically not been abundant in Japan, but I have had the great joy of seeing people turn from darkness to light, death to life, and say things like, “My life was a fog before this,” and “Why on earth did it take me so long!” Hearing such testimonies and seeing their joy makes it all worth it. I’ve got to remember that this is the Good News the Lord has announced; it’s not of merely human origin. Other religions have their “holy texts,” but Christian faith is founded on the Word of the Creator. Buddhism in particular is based on the writings of a large collection of sages, but there is no underlying foundation of revelation. I’ve met someone – coincidentally a woman – who was so earnest in her search for meaning through Buddhism that she shaved her head and became a monk, only to give up some years later in despair, because she could find no foundation underlying all the nice-sounding things Buddhist sages had written. Then she encountered Christ, and now she’s a joyful, fully committed evangelist! I am never to give up proclaiming the Word, because all who do accept it find it to be true indeed, the Word of Life. (John 6:63, 68)

Father, thank You for the privilege of proclaiming Your Word. Help me be faithful, not by my own strength which is obviously inadequate, but by Your wisdom and power, so that as many as will may accept it, repent and believe, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

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