Joy; October 3, 2022

Psalm 149:4-5 For the Lord takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with salvation.
Let the saints rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds.

When the NIV says, “rejoice in this honor,” (the Japanese says, “rejoice in glory”) it seems important to confirm just what honor is being talked about, and that clearly seems to be the content of verse four. It is indeed an incredible honor, great glory, even, that the Creator of the universe would delight in someone, or anything, for that matter. After all, He created all the wonders of space, including what we are now seeing for the first time with the James Webb Space Telescope. We certainly seem insignificant compared to all that! It strikes me that this is one of the few places the Japanese Old Testament translators chose to use the word, love, saying, “He loves His people.” When we come right down to it, being loved by God is the ultimate honor, and it’s not one we earn, in the sense of working for it. A newborn baby hasn’t worked to be loved, yet virtually every parent can testify to the overwhelming sense of love they felt for their child the first time they held it. God allows us to feel that love in part so that we will understand His love for us. His love should make us very happy indeed! The image in the last line of verse five has struck many people, because we don’t usually think of singing lying down. What comes to me is that lying down is the least assertive posture we can take; it’s one of the few things a newborn infant can do! Recognizing the huge imbalance of God’s love – we couldn’t possibly love Him as much as He loves us – should make us irrepressibly happy, to the point of singing. I can relate to that!

Something that came to me strongly as I was writing that is that lying in bed is precisely what the ill, the infirm, do. When my wife is in the hospital awaiting back surgery tomorrow, that’s pretty much all she’s able to do. This strikes me as a Word to her and to all who are in her position, quite literally. Even when we are helpless, unable to take care of our own needs, we should be rejoicing that God loves us. That’s easier for me to say than it is for her, because I’m not the one in pain, but it applies to every problem in life. I’m back to John 16:33, which I have loved for a long time: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) A testimony I read just yesterday from someone who has had two near-death experiences indicates that a famous statement of Paul may be quite literally true: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) We don’t know that definitively, but we do know that the old Southern Gospel song is true: “We will understand it better by and by.”

Father, thank You for this Word, and thank You for that testimony I was able to read. I do pray for Cathy, that she wouldn’t suffer any unnecessary pain and that she would be able to communicate freely with the nursing staff. I pray also that they would have accurate sympathy for her, doing what her unique situation calls for and not just “going by the book.” May all of Your purposes in allowing this situation be fulfilled, for her blessing 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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