April 7, 2014

Psalm 25:8-9 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.

The fact that this Psalm is an acrostic poem in Hebrew, starting each verse with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, might make some people doubt its sincerity, treating it as an intellectual exercise rather than as an expression of David’s heart. However, I studied a good bit of poetry writing in college, and was surprised to discover that some of my most heartfelt work came when I was assigned rigid forms to follow. “Free verse” has its points, but it is my observation that human beings are made for boundaries, and are actually freer with them than without them. That said, these two verses say a great deal about God’s character. In the first place, it is sinners whom God directs. Sometimes we think that we have to be perfect before we can hear God, when to a certain extent the reverse is true. Any child should be able to tell you that they are more likely to hear their parent’s voice if they are doing something wrong! However, David knew that God’s motive for correcting sinners isn’t punishment, but rather His deep mercy. We must realize that the requirement for being able to receive what God says correctly is humility, recognizing that you are poor, compared to God’s abundance. When we think we have enough wisdom and enough strength and enough resources, we don’t listen to God very well! David got into trouble when he got used to being king, and it taught him to return to the heart of the shepherd boy he had once been. That basic humility is essential for walking with God, because nothing can change the fact that He is the Creator and we are the created.

Pride has always been my worst trap, thinking I could do things on my own. The Lord has gifted me with a wide range of abilities, and I’m not to deny that, but the moment I look to the abilities instead of to the One who gave them to me, I get into trouble. I have also had to learn how much I need other people. Just because I can do something by myself doesn’t necessarily mean that I should do it alone. Delegation has long been a real weakness in me as a leader. Doing it all myself isn’t leading! I need to keep growing in involving others, developing their gifts rather than brandishing my own. Advancing age is a good tool in teaching me that! I do want to hear God consistently and accurately, because I know that is the way of greatest blessing on every level, and I know that He is more than worthy of my total obedience and devotion.

Father, thank You again for Your grace toward me. There is so much going on all around me, and I can’t possibly keep it all straight. Help me know the next step, and take it, rather than being consumed by things that might be, trusting You with my past, my present, and my future, 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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