Repeated Truth; May 13, 2023

Psalm 135:18 Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.

This is essentially identical to Psalm 115:8, that was part of the reading for May 5, and I mentioned it then. It’s an important truth, and it bears repeating! We sometimes get tied in knots over who first expressed a particular truth, when in the final analysis it doesn’t much matter. I ran into one in a newsletter yesterday, and the author was careful to say not to quote him as the author, because it had been expressed by multiple people before. That particular truth was, “The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret.” In other words, it’s far better to learn to resist temptation now than to look back and mourn the wreck you’ve made of things. There are many truths that bear repeating. That’s why we need to read the Bible daily! It is an easily observable fact that hearing or reading something once is very seldom sufficient to make a genuine change in someone. The image isn’t very delicate, but we need to have truth pounded into us! God will often repeat truth to us until we either get it or we completely rebel against Him. I don’t have to say which is the better outcome. Several years ago there was a song that dealt with this issue. I don’t remember the title, tune, or really very much of the song, but one phrase stuck with me: “Take another lap around Mt. Sinai.” It was talking about all the Israelites had to do before they could enter the Promised Land, because they were so slow to learn the things of God. We are certainly no better! When God repeats things to us we need to recognize the repeat and ask ourselves why it happened. Almost invariably it’s because we didn’t apply what He said the first time. We’re back to one of my favorite verses: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) If we’re tired of hearing something, we need to get with the program!

My wife and I have realized that certain issues have come up repeatedly in our life, particularly in dealing with other people. God is going to keep repeating the lesson until we get a passing score! As a matter of fact, what I’ve been writing about here is precisely one of the truths of which I have to be reminded. As someone with Teacher gifting I have an emotional expectation that simply expressing truth should be sufficient, when it hardly ever is. For the past few years I’ve been studying Coaching, which takes the opposite tack, coming alongside people until they realize things for themselves, rather than having them dictated to them from above, so to speak. I’m very good at dictating from above! God is breaking me of that, but it’s a very persistent habit! However, here too God is incredibly faithful and patient. I would have given up on me a long time ago! As it is, He has told me to rest, relax, and rejoice, because He’s got it all in hand. That’s enough for me.

Father, thank You for this reminder. As with almost everything else, this isn’t the first time You’ve said this to me. Help me indeed assimilate and apply all that You say to me however You say it, so that You won’t have to repeat Yourself so much. 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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