April 16, 2015

Psalm 57:2-3 I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.
He sends from heaven and saves me,
rebuking those who hotly pursue me;
God sends his love and his faithfulness.

David was very much a “type A personality,” someone who got things done, who got an idea and followed through with it. However, he was also very aware that it was God who enabled him to do things. The NIV supplies [his purpose] in this passage, but the Japanese simply goes with the Hebrew and says, “He accomplishes for me.” In other words, it’s because of God that things get done. We find references to this way of thinking in a lot of David’s Psalms, and that tells us a lot about why he was a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22) It’s not at all bad to be someone who presses forward, who dreams great dreams and strives for their fulfillment, but we have to be aware that it is only by God’s power that we can do anything at all. Moses pointed that out before the Israelites ever got to Canaan (Deuteronomy 8:18) specifically in the area of wealth. We are so prone to think otherwise that Jesus said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy person to make it into heaven. (Luke 18:25) When we trust in what we have, not realizing that it was given to us, much less Who gave it to us, we are in real trouble. That applies not just to finances but also to abilities and to everything else. If people would realize, for example, that their bodies were a gift from God, they would take better care of them and use them more responsibly. If they realized their families were a gift from God, they would value them and cherish them. I think God allows difficulties in our lives precisely to wake us up to this reality, but all too often we are incredibly dense about it all. It’s not at all wrong to be able to accomplish something, but we need the foundational awareness that it is God who makes it all possible.

I’ve struggled with conceit for most of my life. It’s not that I’ve accomplished anything, particularly, but that I thought I could do anything I set my mind to, simply because I was the one doing it. There’s actually a delicate balance there. I feel like I was enormously blessed that my parents never said, “You could never do that.” They did say, “You may not do that,” or even, “That’s illegal,” but they never gave me the idea that anything was beyond me in terms of ability. I see so many people who never try things because their parents weren’t like that, and it’s sad. However, I could have used a little more emphasis on the fact that it was God who gave me my abilities, and that I was accountable to Him for my stewardship of them. As a pastor I deal with people all the time who won’t volunteer for anything because they think they could never do it right. Then there are those who will do anything you ask them, or at least try, as a gift to the Lord. They are a real delight! I’ve got to be careful to encourage and not be demanding, expressing appreciation for effort even when the results aren’t exactly as I might have liked. I’ve made some real mistakes in that area! I need to help the believers understand that God wants to use them to do things, and when He’s doing it, there are no limits.

Father, thank You for yet another point for the book You’re having me write. I pray that I would be sensitive, obedient, and diligent, as a good servant, so that You will be able to say through me what You intend, to tear down the lies of the enemy and set people free, for the sake of the Body of Christ and for 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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