May 15, 2016

Psalm 61:2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

This verse is very familiar to me because of it being set to music, which immediately began running through my mind as soon as I read it. However, I haven’t thought about it that much otherwise. It has a few points that are certainly worth thinking about. The Japanese has a different order from the English, and starts with David’s statement that his heart is growing faint. It’s important that we acknowledge our need as we pray. Some “name it and claim it” people are so afraid of a “negative confession” that they can’t be honest, even with God. How foolish! God already knows our situation, so we’d better be up front about it. However, we have to recognize that God is far bigger than we are; He isn’t limited to our resources. That’s what the rest of the verse is talking about. There’s another interesting difference between the Japanese and the English. Where every English translation I’m aware of says, “Lead me to the rock,” the Japanese says, “Lead me to the top of the rock.” Whether that is significant I’m not sure. “The rock” is obviously a place of safety, and many other references indicate that it is God or Christ. The biggest point is that it is higher than David is. In other words, it is more powerful, it is more secure. Perhaps the Japanese puts it the way it does is because such a rock would be a fortress only if you were on it or in it; just standing beside it would still leave you vulnerable. Actually, that applies to Christ as well. There are people who in a sense come to Christ but never enter in. They might even be church members, but they haven’t really opened their hearts in repentance and love. As has been said, being in a church building doesn’t make you a Christian any more than being in a garage makes you a car. The New Testament talks a great deal about “in Christ.” In fact, my father’s doctoral dissertation was on that topic. However, he told me that he didn’t really know what it meant until after he was a missionary, PhD in hand, and had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit. We can’t really abide in Him until He abides in us, and He indwells us by His Spirit.

I hadn’t registered that today was Pentecost Sunday until I heard someone mention it yesterday, and since I’m not the one speaking this morning, there’s not a lot I can do. That’s a good thing, because I couldn’t make God pour out His Spirit in the first place! I have experienced God in power by His Spirit, but it’s not something I can make happen. However, I can walk in humility and purity, asking Him to pour His Spirit through me, and He is amazingly faithful. I must remember at all times that though I am weak and foolish, my God is neither of those things, and He loves me. I cannot save anyone, but God can use even me to save anyone at all. I am to focus on Him, abiding in Him in intimate fellowship by His Spirit, so that I may be fully available to Him at all times to be used however He desires, for His glory.

Father, thank You for incredible, gracious faithfulness. Thank You for being able to attend the 100th anniversary celebrations of the founding of Seinan Gakuin (a school encompassing preschool through doctoral programs) yesterday. Thank You especially that they focused so strongly on the words of the founder, C. K. Dozier: “Seinan, be true to Christ.” Thank You that they are coming back from the extreme secularism that so distressed me not so many years ago. I pray that You would pour Your Spirit out on faculty, staff, and students, so that the school would fulfill the vision of the many saints who have labored there, including my parents. 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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