Testifying; June 18, 2021

Psalm 40:10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.

At first glance this might seem to conflict with another famous verse from Psalms: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) However, in Japanese there’s no conflict, because the Psalm 119 passage says, “I have stored up your Word in my heart.” The point here is acknowledging blessings. Frankly, we do that far too little, because we feel entitled to all we have. Much is made of “entitled young people,” and that is indeed a major problem, but it certainly isn’t limited to the young. As has come up in my readings recently, parents who shield their children from any possible hurt or even disappointment are doing them no favors. We can’t appreciate good stuff until we understand that bad stuff exists. This Psalm is well known and loved, with the first four verses having been set to music multiple times. Verse six and verse eight are both quoted in the New Testament as referring to Jesus. However, from verse 12 on, David is speaking of his current dire circumstances. We gain much more understanding of David when we realize that he wrote some beautiful songs of praise while he was in pretty bad situations. In other words, he was not hiding God’s abundant goodness to him simply because the current moment didn’t seem so good. Testifying to God’s character is always a good idea! The fact of the matter is, as Jesus told us, in this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) The more we focus on God, remembering how incredibly good and gracious He has been to us, the better we will be able to rejoice in Him regardless of what is going on around us. On top of that, the more we do that openly and vocally, as this verse talks about, the more those around us will be led into a right relationship with their gracious Creator.

I think one thing that inhibits me from testifying of God’s blessings is that I’m afraid of being seen as bragging. There really is the danger it would turn into that, but the far greater danger is of my failing to give Him the thanks and praise He deserves. Sometimes I get the response, “Of course God’s good to you. You’re a missionary.” I’m a missionary not to get God’s blessings, but in response to them! I seek to teach others not only to recognize God’s grace to them but also to be vocal about it. That’s really difficult in Japan, where people tend to be very private and bragging is strongly discouraged. My concerns about being seen as bragging myself come from that. I need God’s wisdom all the way around. However, the difficulty should not keep me from the attempt, either of testifying myself or of getting others to testify.

Father, Your grace and blessings are indeed without number, and even I fail to recognize the vast majority of them. I ask You to open my eyes to see You more and more, and to use me in opening the eyes of others to do likewise, to that we will be the grateful, obedient children that You desire, 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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