Praising God; August 23, 2019


Psalm 89:15-16 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.
They rejoice in your name all day long;
they exult in your righteousness.

Some of this Psalm makes it seem like Ethan the Ezrahite was a bit shaky in his monotheism, but that doesn’t make this passage any less true. As is often the case, the Japanese has a different slant from the NIV. Verse 15 says that those who “know the shout of joy” (praising God, obviously) walk in the light of the face of God, rather than saying that walking that way is a source of blessing (though it certainly is). Then in verse 16, instead of “they exult in your righteousness,” the Japanese says, “They are raised high because of Your righteousness.” Those are perhaps minor differences, but they pound home the awareness that anything we read of the Bible in other than the original languages is a translation, and thus is subject to the interpretations and opinions of the translators. That’s why reading the Bible in multiple translations is very enriching to our understanding of what God is actually saying. Of course, we always need the help of the Holy Spirit, because He’s the one who inspired the words in the first place! All of that aside, it is clear that Ethan the Ezrahite had learned the joy and blessing of praising God. Reading to the end of the Psalm (it’s 52 verses long) makes it clear that he was writing at a time when it seemed possible that God’s promises would fail, so he is laying hold of what God has said and done in the past. That’s not a bad plan of action! When things look bleak for us, we do well to remind ourselves of all that God has done in the past, and trust Him to carry His good plans through in the future as well, and praise Him for it even ahead of time.

I’ve had a few moments when the road ahead looked quite dark, but I have certainly experienced the faithfulness of God. I have learned to praise Him, and that is a blessed thing indeed. From my perspective there are many unknowns about my life – indeed, most of it is unknown – but as Paul said, I know whom I have believed. (2 Timothy 1:12) Today we will be going to the brain surgery/neurology department of the national medical center close to here to try to track down the source of the stabbing pain my wife sometimes has in her left eye. Then, on Tuesday I will go to the general surgery department of the same hospital to be tested and discuss schedules for dealing with my bilateral hernia that’s recently been diagnosed. On top of that, my wife has Parkinson’s Disease, which is certainly progressive, and I have already lived seven years longer than my father did. We don’t know the future, but we know our Lord, and that really is enough. We are to walk in peace and praise, whatever is going on, keeping ourselves available to Him for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. It’s not surprising, when our medical situation is so much in our awareness. Help us be more aware of You than we are of anything else, including our own bodies, so that we may defeat every attack of the enemy and walk in all that You have for us, for the blessing of many and 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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