God’s Salvation; August 30, 2019

Psalm 98:2-3 The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;

This was obviously written about the nation of Israel, perhaps after some great military victory. My first thought was that it was after the return from Babylonian captivity, but in that case reference to Judah, rather than Israel, would seem likely. Today it can be sung again, exactly as written, because again the national name is Israel. God’s dealings with Israel are indeed a demonstration of His power, His salvation if you will, to everyone on earth. Racial prejudice and animus exists in many forms across the earth, but antisemitism is in a class by itself, and the only explanation I can come up with is that it is at its core a rebellion against God, and thus a hatred for His chosen people. That has been extended, in many cases, to Christians. For example, over the past several years there has been a growing movement in India among the Dalit (the lowest caste in Hinduism) and the tribal people (who are in no caste at all) to abandon Hinduism, since it has been a source of oppression for them. I have read that Hindu fundamentalists have told them, “You can become Buddhist, or even Muslim if you like, but if you become Christian, we will kill you.” “Anti-proselytizing” laws, in India and elsewhere, are almost exclusively aimed at Christians. To me it seems obvious that the devil doesn’t care what religion you are, so long as you aren’t worshiping the Creator in spirit and in truth. It is no accident that the mullahs in Iran call Israel, Satan, and America, the Great Satan. That’s why it is so unique and precious that America has a “Judaeo-Christian heritage,” attempting to follow the God of the Bible, however imperfectly. Those within the country who are trying to tear down that heritage to “transform this nation” are doing so in direct rebellion against the God of the Bible. America’s many successes have enabled it to become the greatest missionary-sending nation in history, but recent spiritual decline has caused many previously missionary-receiving countries to take up the slack. In any case, God’s power, his salvation, is evident for all with eyes to see, and the devil hates that.

I was born as an American in Occupied Japan. Around that time, any American preaching on a street corner could gather a crowd, and probably gain a few people who wanted to become Christians. That was because it seemed evident that “the God of the Americans” was more powerful than the gods of the Japanese. After all, the Japanese had called their suicide bombers “divine wind,” invoking supernatural aid. However, the supply of missionaries, and perhaps their vision of their task, were not up to the challenge, and the period of rapid church growth was very brief. I have no illusion that America is, or ever has been, perfectly faithful to the God of the Bible, but I do know that America has attempted to follow that God more than any nation other than Israel. Today, Israel and America are both thoroughly secular, but I am convinced that to the degree they cling to their Creator, they will demonstrate the power, the salvation, of God.

Father, that was certainly unexpected! Thank You that You care about the affairs of nations, just as You care about individuals. I do pray that You would be acknowledged and Your sovereignty established on every level, from the international down to the personal, so that Your will may indeed be done as perfectly on earth as it is in heaven, for 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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