Power; December 20, 2021

Psalm 147:10-11 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of a man;
the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.

The Japanese here just cleared up something I have thought for a very long time was odd about this passage. English translations generally put this as the NIV does: “the legs of a man.” The Japanese says, “foot soldiers.” That makes worlds more sense to me, since horses were seen as mighty instruments of war. The English phraseology brings up an image of “beefcake,” bodybuilders and the like, which is rather jarring in this context. The Psalmist is actually talking about military strength, which is emblematic of human strength in general. In line with many, many other passages in the Bible, this is pointing out that God is after our hearts, not what we can do for Him. This brings to mind the famous incident of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” where God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) God has absolutely no need for our “strength,” because it is totally meaningless in comparison to His omnipotence. Rather, God desires, and delights in, those who recognize their dependence on Him and submit themselves to Him in gratitude and obedience.

I have never been particularly fixated on muscle strength, though I think I am in pretty good shape for my age at this point. However, I have tended to think of myself as “strong” in various other areas, and it has been a snare to me on various occasions. This past week, when I was called on to speak to a group of around a thousand people in a setting where I was very much under the spotlight, I felt very weak indeed, and was actively depending on God. He followed through magnificently, and an adjective I heard several times from people who were talking about the message was “powerful.” It wasn’t my power! It was amusing even to me, but in the dressing room before the program a pop Christmas song was running through my mind: “All I Want for Christmas is You.” The original is entirely about a boy-girl relationship, but I sang it, in my heart and mind, to God, because that was how I was feeling. The thing is, that’s how God feels about us, not just “for Christmas,” but desiring our hearts, our devotion, all the time. If I will indeed reciprocate, then He will delight to use me in His wisdom and power, which totally eclipse my own.

Father, thank You for this clear reminder. Thank You for getting me through the day yesterday. I was certainly feeling weak emotionally for much of the day, for various reasons, but You followed through magnificently. I have various things weighing on me for today and through this week. Help me not worry about whether I can carry them, but rest in the assurance that You can more than carry them, even using me. May I be a useful instrument of Your grace, power, and love, 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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