Focus; August 14, 2022


Psalms 21:13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength;
we will sing and praise your might.

As came out yesterday, this Psalm seems like one written by a court poet for the benefit of King David, rather than one written by him. Such things as wishing the king live forever (verse 4) were quite conventional in such situations. However, the ultimate focus is on Yahweh, because this is a prayer to Him to bless the king. It starts in verse one by saying that the king rejoices in Yahweh, and it closes with this verse that again turns the focus back to Him. Throughout the Bible we are admonished to keep our focus on God, to remember that He is our Creator, because we owe everything to Him and we exist for His pleasure. Lots of people rebel at that idea, but that’s because they don’t really know God. When we know His love, grace, and mercy, the only logical response is grateful obedience. He is not capricious, even though we often don’t know what He is doing, and He isn’t mean, even when we reap what our actions deserve. The very fact that He is the infinite Creator and we are His very finite creatures necessitates that, as He told Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) Trying to put ourselves in God’s place, as we are very prone to do, is the height of stupid pride, which the Greeks called hubris. When our focus is on God instead of on ourselves, we avoid countless pitfalls and walk in the abundant blessings He intends for us. However, we still have to deal with the effects of other people failing to be obedient to God. As Jesus told us very clearly, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) However, when our focus is on God and His Son, we can indeed rejoice, as Jesus went on to say.

This is how I was raised, but it has taken many years of often failing to focus on God to get it into my head and heart even to the extent that it is, and I’ve still got plenty of room to grow. A few years ago God told me personally to rest, relax, and rejoice. I can do that only when my focus is on Him, because the situations around me, not to mention my own weaknesses, certainly don’t lend themselves to that. My ministry of calling people to salvation in Christ and teaching them to be His disciples could be expressed as getting people to focus on God. The world is chock full of distractions of all sorts. I need to both remember and teach that the only way to get through it all is indeed to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)


Father, thank You for this reminder. There’s a lot going on right now, but then there’s always a lot going on! Help me indeed fix my eyes on Jesus and do only what You desire of me, for the blessing of all around me and 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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