October 4, 2013

Psalm 149:4 For the LORD takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with salvation.

Once again we have an interesting difference in translation. Where the NIV says “takes delight in,” the Japanese simply says “loves.” Thinking about it, those are indeed two very closely related things. The important thing then, is that God feels that way about His people. What an amazing thought! The second half of the verse expresses what God does because of His feelings toward us. Again the NIV and the Japanese use different but related terms. Where the NIV says “humble,” the Japanese says “poor.” Either way, this calls to mind the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) God’s salvation is available to all, but they have to recognize their need for it, their poverty, before they can receive it. That’s why Jesus said it’s so hard for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:23-24) That should give people pause who are trying to get rich, but sadly, it seldom does. That’s because it’s a matter of heart attitude in the first place, rather than bank accounts. Someone who is fixated on material wealth isn’t going to be seeking God and His kingdom. This is a note we hear sounded throughout the Bible, with Moses stressing it in Deuteronomy and other writers taking it up all the way to the last books of the New Testament. Everyone is completely dependent on the grace of God, but unless we recognize that and give Him the love, praise, and obedience He deserves, we aren’t going to end up with the salvation that is worth more than everything else put together.

This is something I haven’t had to worry much about on the financial level for most of my life, but I have had problems with remembering that everything I have, including talents and abilities, is on loan to me from God, and is to be used accordingly. Just this year I have started receiving my pension from the Japanese government (that I’ve been paying into for the past 32 years). I’ve got to remember that this is simply a method God is using to supply financial need, and not the government itself that is doing it. That’s something most governments would just as soon you not remember! My fundamental need for God’s grace and support has not changed in the least, nor has my responsibility as a steward of what God puts in my hands. My focus must be on God, His kingdom and His righteousness, just as Jesus said. (Matthew 6:33)

Father, thank You for Your provision in every area, in all the different ways You supply it. Thank You most of all for Your love that caused You to send Your Son to supply salvation. (John 3:16-17) May I respond as You desire to Your love, sharing it freely with those around me so that as many as will may accept it for themselves, 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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