The Way of the Lord; July 8, 2020

Hosea 14:9 Who is wise? He will realize these things.
Who is discerning? He will understand them.
The ways of the Lord are right;
the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.

This verse would be a fitting postscript to any of a number of the books of the Bible. The truths of God are indeed the foundation of wisdom and discernment. The last part of the verse seems a bit more meaningful in Japanese than it does in the NIV. Rather than saying, “The ways of the Lord are right,” it says, “The ways of the Lord are flat,” that is, easy to walk on. That points up the irony of rebellious people stumbling in trying to follow God. If you are committed to obedience, then following God isn’t difficult. If you are rebellious and resentful, then following God seems laden with pitfalls. You can say that attitude is everything. Many people have noted that it doesn’t matter what happens to you that determines your life, it’s how you respond to what happens to you. That’s why the devil works so hard to promote the victim mentality. Some people can be severely victimized but still overcome it all to rise to great success and happiness, but others can be in much less difficult circumstances and essentially throw their life away. In recent months I’ve been coming to realize more and more the depth of Jesus’ seemingly simple instructions to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) That applies to every detail of life, because it requires a focus on God rather than on yourself. A “pity party” has never done anyone any good! When we are focused on “Why me,” we can’t recognize the good that God has hidden in the circumstances that are so painful.

This applies to me as much as it does to anyone else. We have just had some rain for the record books, causing landslides and some flooding. Yesterday someone in their 20s asked me if I’d ever experienced anything this bad, and I had to say, yes. 38 years ago we had the Nagasaki Flood, that killed 299 people and caused massive damage. The past few days have been inconvenient, perhaps, but there were no reports of injury in Nagasaki (though Kumamoto has had over 50 deaths). When we are focused on God and His kingdom, we will recognize what He wants us to do and we will be blessed in doing it. Looking back, I can see that the way of the Lord for me has indeed been flat, even though at times it felt very rough and nearly vertical. God plans good for His children, and the more we focus on Him the more we will experience it as that.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that the rain has lifted now, and I will be able to go walking this morning. I pray that my response to everything, “good” or “bad,” would give You full opportunity to work in and through me, pointing and drawing those around me to You, 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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