Psalm 97:11 Light is shed on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.
The Japanese for this verse is very interesting. The NIV simply says “shed,” but the Japanese says, “sown like seed.” I don’t think broadcast seeding is done for crops much these days, but in Biblical times it was common. We have to know about broadcast seeding to understand Jesus’ famous parable of the seed, recorded and explained in Matthew 13. A handful of seed is taken from a leather pouch and scattered on the ground with a swing of the farmer’s hand. Some falls exactly where you want it but some doesn’t, so the more skillful the farmer, the less seed is wasted. In Jesus’ parable, the seed in question is the message of the kingdom of God. However, in this verse the seed is light and joy. The thing about broadcast seeding is that the seed must be received where it lands, or no fruit is produced. That is the whole issue in Jesus’ parable. If we apply that same thought here, we realize that we have to receive God’s light and joy if we are to enjoy them. God makes them available, so the question is whether our hearts are open to receive. We’ve all known people who couldn’t seem to get happy about anything; maybe we’ve been that way ourselves! Also, some people can’t seem to “see the light” no matter how much truth is presented to them. There too, we don’t have a perfect track record. We need to understand that God provides these things and set our hearts to receive them. After all, they are certainly desirable!
As a pastor I deal with people all the time who have issues in these areas, but I need to keep watch over myself as well. I too need to be like a little child, delighting in the goodness of my Father. I too need to seek out the light of God’s truth, allowing Him to pour it into my heart. The conditions for receiving mentioned here, being righteous and upright of heart, are things that are possible only in Christ, because left to myself, I’m unrighteous and devious. My constant goal must be to abide in Christ, just as He told us so clearly with the illustration of the vine and the branches in John 15. It is a great comfort to know that it is His power that accomplishes it all, because left to myself, I tend to drift away. As a pastor, I am not only to remember this myself, I am to teach and remind the believers of it as well. If we all keep it firmly in mind, then we will individually and as a church experience the overflowing abundance that God has prepared for us.
Father, thank You for this insight this morning. I don’t remember noticing the planting image in this verse before. Help me indeed receive all the light, the truth, that You have for me, not just for myself but so that I may share it with others. May I not come across as holier-than-thou but as a recipient of Your grace, sharing that grace with others so that they too may receive and be blessed, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!