June 14, 2016


Psalm 25:12-14 Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord?
He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
He will spend his days in prosperity,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.

This is one of many Psalms that switch back and forth between talking to God and talking about Him. Part of that may come from the fact that it is an acrostic poem, with each verse beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, but that doesn’t preclude sincerity or Divine inspiration. Such poems (and there are several in the Psalms) often use truisms, but again, particularly in the case of someone like David, they can be expressions of personal experience. This particular passage talks about the benefits of fearing the Lord. We use the expression, “carrot and stick,” in talking about motivation, and generally associate fear with the stick, but here David is directly connecting the fear of the Lord with “carrot” things. A person who doesn’t care about God isn’t going to be very tempted by instruction and knowing God’s covenant, but prosperity seems attractive to anyone. The Japanese renders that particular line as, “His soul will live in happiness,” but that’s pretty attractive too! However, for someone who genuinely loves God (which is closely connected with fearing Him) the promise of the Lord “confiding in” them (the Japanese says, “is intimate/friendly with”) is the most attractive thing of all. The point is, being in right relationship with God has more benefits than we could list, or really than we are aware of at any given moment. God is infinite, so the benefits of being in Him are likewise infinite!

This is something I have come to realize more and more the longer I have walked with God. As Bill Gaither wrote, the longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows! Physical/material prosperity, though not unwelcome, has definitely receded as a motivator. Being able to, as John Denver sang, (but didn’t practice) “talk to God and listen to the casual reply,” is worth more than anything this world could offer. It is hardly surprising that as I get older I am more aware of my own mortality, but the better I know God, the less important that becomes. Not to be morbid, but I actively look forward to eternity with my Lord, with none of the distractions of this life. My Lord is my all, in this life and beyond.

Father, even as I wrote that I realized that I am not there completely yet. Thank You for never giving up on me. Thank You for the privilege of leading others into fellowship with You as well. I ask that You use me to that end more and more, so that Your house may indeed be full, (Luke 14:23) for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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