God’s Grace; March 24, 2023

Psalm 21:7 For the king trusts in the Lord;
through the unfailing love of the Most High
he will not be shaken.

This Psalm says it is “A Psalm of David,” but virtually everything about it seems like it was written by someone else about him, rather than being his own creation. However, other Psalms with exactly the same attribution seem clearly to have been written by him, so we really don’t know. What stands out to me about this verse is the difference between the English and the Japanese translations. Where the NIV says “unfailing love,” the Japanese says “grace.” Whereas it is true the Japanese word for grace is broader than the English, often being used where in English we would say “blessing,” it still carries the feeling of “unmerited favor,” which is the definition of the English term. Not being a Hebrew scholar, I can’t say which is more accurate here as a translation. However, I do know that God’s grace is an expression of His unfailing love, and vice versa. We really run out of words to describe God and His attributes, because He is infinitely magnificent! People often say things like, “How could a loving God do/allow something like (whatever tragedy)?” That all comes back to the mystery of human free will. How is it that we have free will when God, being outside of time, already knows everything we will ever do? As Bill Whittle says, we don’t have the “mental horsepower” to really understand it, and often enough we get angry that we don’t. We want to know and understand everything, but a major part of maturity is accepting that we never will, this side of heaven. However, we do have the assurance Paul expressed: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) As the Southern Gospel song puts it, “We will understand it better by and by.” The important thing to realize right now is that God is omnipotent and omniscient and loving, and as He told Paul, His grace is really all we need. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

This is something I still struggle with occasionally, because I love to know stuff. Even in the fourth grade I used to read the encyclopedia for fun, and I still consume a great deal of information. Now if I could only remember it all! However, I have learned over the years that quite a few of the “facts” I learned turned out to be untrue, sometimes because of honest mistakes and sometimes because of deliberate deception of the part of “authorities.” We’ve seen entirely too much of the latter recently! Even my understanding of God keeps growing, not to mention my knowledge of myself. That’s why I need to keep applying one of my father’s pet phrases; “Give all you know of yourself to all you know of Christ.” I greatly look forward to “knowing as I am fully known,” as Paul said, but in the meantime I am increasingly satisfied with knowing my God’s grace/unfailing love.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Looking back over the past 74 years I cannot help being amazed at Your incredible, all-sufficient grace. Help me be appropriately grateful and obedient in response, so that all of Your purposes for me may be accomplished on Your schedule 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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