Depending on God; August 9, 2022

Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

The Japanese here gives a slightly different nuance that is worth noting. Where the NIV says “trust in You,” the Japanese says “depend on You,” with the specific implication that God is the “first resort,” rather than the last thing you turn to. We fall down at that all too often! We tend to depend on a lot of things, when the good ones were all provided by God in the first place! Just like animistic religion (of which Shinto is one example) worships things in nature, we tend to depend on things God has provided instead of on God Himself. And often enough, we go one step further and depend on things God has enabled us to make out of the things He has provided. Finances are the prime example here, and the current economic situation should teach us how foolish that is! Of course depending on God requires faith and awareness that He is, and that we are His creation. Sadly, many people try to deny that, and so deprive themselves of countless blessings in this life, and of course the hope of eternal life to follow. In Psalm 14 (actually, tomorrow’s reading) and echoed in Psalm 53 it says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 53:1) Declared atheism is often an attempt not to depend on God, because such dependence includes a moral obligation to obedience, and we want to do what we want to do. That ignores the logical reality that we are only aware of a small subset of the facts about any situation, and often we’re mistaken about those! Intellectual honesty requires acknowledging our ignorance, and too many people don’t want to do that. Claiming to be wise, we display our foolishness! The genuinely wise person will indeed depend on God, making full use of what He has provided but knowing that He is the Source.

This is something I have struggled with over the years. I was raised to know of God, and indeed to know God, but at the same time I was entranced by this mind I had been given. I loved discovering things and knowing things, which wasn’t bad, but then I tended to feel I could decide what to do with it all, rather than inquiring of the One who created it. That was, in a word, hubris, and even the ancient Greeks knew that was a bad thing. One of the advantages of the physical deterioration that comes with age is the awareness that we are indeed dependent and not independent, whatever we like to think. I would certainly enjoy having the physical faculties I had 50 years ago, but from this perspective I realize I was actually just as dependent on the grace of God then as I am now. I often tell people that apart from the grace of God, none of us could take a single breath. (That’s a little easier to relate to than saying that without God’s grace and will we would all be just scattered atoms.) I am in no way to rebel against that dependence, but rather rejoice that God is so gracious and loving as not only to allow me to exist, but to call me into fellowship with Him by His Son and His Spirit. That’s a dependence that’s worth celebrating!

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for enabling us to get the photo show set up yesterday, and that it indeed went very smoothly despite my back pain. It starts today, which is the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. That makes it a little awkward that I, as an American, will be interviewed by cable TV this morning! I pray that my pictures, and my words about them, will indeed point people to You, who make everything possible. May many come and be touched, for their salvation and 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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