April 23, 2015

Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.

I really like the Japanese translation here: “When the door of Your Word opens, light shines in.” The image is so clear and so apt! And the term used for “understanding” in the last half of the verse is exactly what is used when the Buddhists speak of “enlightenment,” (though the Japanese word has nothing to do with light per se). If we want to be enlightened, if we want to be people of understanding who really “get” what’s going on, then we had better get into the Word, and let the Word get into us! I am in turns amazed, bemused, and disgusted at people who refuse to accept the Bible as the Word of God and either ignore it or actively attack it. That shouldn’t surprise me when people outside the Church do it, but it can be heartbreaking when supposed “insiders” do it. These days whole denominations seem to be throwing out the Bible as the rule book of life, and I don’t see how they can call themselves Christian when they do so. As the old hymn, Trust and Obey, says, “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way!” When we shut out the Bible as the Word of God, we are walking in the dark, and disaster is the guaranteed outcome.

As a pastor, one of my primary aims is to have each believer be consistent in reading the Bible and praying daily, preferably every morning. It is a continuing mystery to me that so few get to that place. I see people struggle with all sorts of problems they would never have in the first place if they were consistent in seeking God through His Word. This particular Psalm is an extended adoration of the Word of God, and as such it speaks to this issue again and again. Verse 11 is perhaps the most famous, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you,” but there are many more. In today’s passage, verse 133 jumps out at me: “Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.” People want guidance and they want to be free of “besetting sins,” and yet they fail to turn to the Bible consistently. Without the standard of the Bible, they fail to realize that their self-centeredness, unforgiveness, and general lack of trusting God are sins against the God who not only created them, He sent His Son to die in their place. Again I am faced with my inability to change anyone by my own strength. I’ve got to be fully yielded to God myself to let His Spirit speak and act through me, so that people may be brought to repentance and faith.

Father, as I am at times sharply aware of how others are sinning against You, keep me from overlooking my own sins. Help me walk in humility and repentance, not preaching down to people but coming alongside them and lifting them up, so that together we may defeat the plans of the enemy and walk in Your victory, 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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