Blessings; February 17, 2021

Jeremiah 31:14 “I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah is known as “the weeping prophet” because of various prophecies of woe as well as the whole book of Lamentations, but he also wrote some of the most gloriously hopeful prophecies in the whole Bible. Jeremiah 29:11 is justly famous, and this chapter is likewise filled with comfort and hope. I can’t read verses 12-14 without singing one or more of the songs that have been made from them. The imagery in these verses is physical, but it certainly has spiritual implications. On one level it is a linguistic coincidence of translation, but the Japanese here says, “My people will be filled with my grace.” It is true that the Japanese word for grace is often used for various blessings, but I still can’t read this without remembering what the Lord told Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) (The same terminology is used in verse 12.) God blesses us in many ways, many of them physical, but we must never forget that it is all grace, unmerited favor. The moment we start demanding stuff, thinking we’re entitled to it, it ceases to be a blessing and becomes chains, binding our hearts and blinding us to God. This verse is also significant in saying the priests get special blessings. The Hebrew says “marrow,” as in bone marrow, which we don’t think of as a particular delicacy today, but it is very rich in nutrients and can be quite tasty. Those who expend themselves as mediators between God and man are fully rewarded! However, if we focus on the physical we miss out on the greater rewards.

This verse is naturally of interest to me since I have been a minister for well over half my life. Like Paul, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13) I have never been what the world would call wealthy, but I certainly wouldn’t change places with Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos. Actually I feel sorry for them, because they strike me as spiritually bankrupt. I am to be focused and faithful, knowing that I serve an infinite, and infinitely gracious and loving, God, and my reward is more than secure in Him.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the past two days of celebrating the 52nd anniversary of Cathy’s and my 1st date. Just as You had me pray Monday morning, a number of things weren’t as I had imagined, but the blessings were real and abundant. Even as You have told me to do, help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You so that I won’t miss any of the blessings You pour out on me, whatever they might look like in the moment. 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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