The Grace of God; December 14, 2021

Psalm 107:43 Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the Lord.

Here we have the reason for this Psalm to be written: to make people think, and grasp the character of the Lord. Here, as in many places in the Old Testament, where the English says “love,” the Japanese says “grace.” Part of that is because love is not such a freely-used term in Japanese culture. Couples, even husband and wife, seldom use the term to or in relation to each other, instead saying “like.” That makes the New Testament’s extensive use of the word all the more shocking to Japanese. However here, I think there are advantages to the term being “grace.” In none of the examples cited in the Psalm is God obligated to be good to those in distress, but He does it because of who He is. At the same time, ignoring Him and turning against Him has disastrous consequences. The last line of this verse has far more punch in Japanese than in English: “Let that wise person hide these things in their heart, and be enlightened.” That “be enlightened” is a command! It is a deep understanding, so deep that the Buddhists use it in talking about a “higher plane of consciousness,” which in noun form is “satori.” Using a different literary style, this verse could be expressed as, “Hey buddy! You think you’re smart? You’d better grasp the grace of God!”

I’ve run into all sorts of mental gymnastics that people do to try to justify themselves and their actions. I’ve done a few myself! The devil loves to train us in such gymnastics, and it’s important to recognize and reject them. We need to be both honest and humble before God, allowing Him to be the arbiter of right and wrong, and not applying the world’s standards – or our own excuses – to such things. That’s a major reason “political correctness” is such an abomination: it replaces God’s standards with human (actually demonic) ones that sound nice but spit in God’s face. I am not to offend needlessly, but I am never to let the world dictate what is right or wrong, but rather cling to God and His Word. It sets my teeth on edge to hear well-meaning people talk about “your truth,” as though there were no absolutes. That is a major push the devil has been making over the past century or so, and it reeks of the Pit. I am not to be proud, but I am not to be a pushover! I am to be a purveyor of grace, but grace is meaningless if there are no absolute standards by which to measure it. I am to seek to grasp what God reveals to me, knowing that He will never speak into my heart something that is in violation of His Word. I am to share what He reveals to me, speaking the truth in love, so that as many as will receive it may be set free from the lying traps of the devil (John 8:32)

Father, thank You for this reminder. I have several formal opportunities to share the Gospel over the next several days. Help me make full use of each one in all humility, so that Your Word through me may accomplish that for which You send it, for the salvation of many and 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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