World Missions; November 19, 2021


1 Chronicles 16:23-24 Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

We often overlook, or even forget, how remarkably unified the Bible is. God never changes, even though His interactions with mankind take different forms at different times. It stands to reason, then, that the major themes of the Bible would be found throughout. Sometimes that is in outright repetition. Verse 34 of this chapter is identical to Psalm 118:1, which is this church’s verse for the year. Much more common is repeatedly touching on important themes. This is a repeat of the general thought of yesterday’s passage from earlier in the chapter, but that just shows that this was a major theme for David. Any writer will come back again and again to themes that are important to them, and David was no exception. The thing that hits me the hardest about this iteration is clear in the Japanese but is left out of the NIV, which I think is very unfortunate. Where the NIV says, “proclaim His salvation,” the Japanese says, “proclaim the good news of His salvation. (emphasis added) In other words, “Proclaim the Gospel of His salvation!” Jesus expressly said that the fulfillment of this declaration of David would be a sign of His imminent return. (Matthew 14:14) Just before His ascension He famously commissioned believers in this very task. (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) We need to realize that this has been God’s purpose all along, and rejoice to participate.

Since I’m a missionary in Japan, I obviously have taken this to heart. It’s very much a family thing with me, since not only were my parents missionaries, one of my grandfathers founded what is currently the oldest continuing Department of Missions in the world, in Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. That said, it wasn’t inescapable for me; I’m the only one of my siblings “in the field,” as they say. However, this isn’t something to be taken on casually in any case. I think everyone should keep themselves available as a witness to Christ in their every personal encounter, but that doesn’t mean everyone is supposed to go to some far-off place to do it. I strongly desire that Japanese believers recognize their own opportunity and responsibility to share the Gospel with their own family and associates. My own efficiency in evangelism is low, because people tend so strongly to see me as “other,” since I am a Caucasian. The most effective evangelism is when the one hearing the message feels, “They are just like me, and they have something I need.” By God’s grace He has used me to communicate the “good news of His salvation,” as this passage says, with various Japanese, but revival won’t break out until the Japanese themselves catch fire and burn with the Holy Spirit to communicate the Gospel.

Father, thank You for this reminder. You know the vision, the dream You have planted in my heart, and You know even better than I do that I can’t make it happen on my own. I pray that I would be totally available to You in every way, so that the Good News of Your salvation may penetrate to every corner of this nation, and indeed of the world, 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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