Salvation; May 7, 2023

Psalm 118:14 The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.

In a way this Psalm seems almost like a “best hits collection” of lines from other Psalms. That said, it has some pretty good lines in it! In this verse, the Japanese specifies “song of praise,” rather than just “song.” That makes it clear, to me at least, that the focus is truly on the Lord, rather than just singing because you’re happy. The second half of the verse, however, is what holds some deep meaning. God is salvation indeed, as Jesus’ name proclaims. However, He doesn’t become my salvation until I acknowledge Him and commit myself to Him. This is always the issue, particularly in culturally Christian places like the US. That’s why evangelism is so different in different places. The techniques taught in the US rarely work in Japan, for example, because Japanese have no cultural concept of “salvation” apart from the strictly material. For that matter, the whole concept is missing from Buddhism, with the ultimate “good” being Mu, or nothingness. To go back to this verse, it is when we recognize that any strength we might have comes from our Creator and we respond by singing praise to Him, that we enter into the relationship that allows us to receive His full salvation.

As thoroughly rooted in faith and the Bible as I am, I still need to check my focus to be sure I walk in God’s salvation. It is too easy to drift into “business as usual,” presuming rather than pursuing, and that can cut me off from a lot that God intends for me. As I have written before, even as a missionary I had a period, when we had lost our regular prayer support, that what I was doing with the church was more like a hobby than my vocation, my commission from God. That was certainly not good! Just recently I have made the decision to retire from school teaching at the end of the current school year (in March). My “church work” hasn’t been my financial support for the past 42 years, but that decision will also put a point on my use of time. I don’t know what plans the Lord has for me from next April, but I am sure they are good and I want to be faithful in fulfilling my part in them. He is indeed my salvation, and I want Him to be that for as many others as possible.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your plans, and for including me in them. May I not deviate from them, but allow You to manifest Your salvation in, around, and through me, 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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