“Show me a token for good that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed because thou LORD hast helped me, and comforted me.” Psalm 86:17
A token for good is usually some insignificant or minor sign that may represent greater things to you, such as a sport’s trophy, medal, or souvenir. David in this Psalm was asking in faith for God to send him a visible sign that would discourage his enemies. The Hebrew word for token is owth and can be translated as being a sign, a mark, a token, an omen, and a miracle.
The basic idea of a sign is to either give you more information or show you directions. We live in a world of signs from the mundane to the unique. Our hands and facial expressions also make signs, thus communicating our thoughts and intentions to others. Biblically, the basic nature of a sign is to point people to God. The LORD uses good and bad signs to make His will known. God placed the rainbow in the sky so that mankind would know that His promise was not to flood the world again. The ten plagues were signs from God to Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. Gideon asked for a sign to know God was with him. Joshua found that the sun stayed and did not set, thus according the children of Israel victory.
Jesus spoke of the last days being heralded with great signs appearing in the heavens, fearful signs, mighty earthquakes, famines, and nations rising up against nations. Yet, when these things begin to come to pass, we as believers are to look up and lift up our heads, for our redemption is drawing nigh.
A Good Sign
What is a good sign? Perhaps it is something you see or hear which gives you hope or encouragement. God is in the business of giving signs even to those who hate you, wherefore they have to believe and thus be ashamed.
Once while waiting in line at a Jerusalem Post Office, I saw an older woman approach the teller. She was there to buy some stamps. As she stretched out her arm to pay for these purchases, I saw a line of numbers tattooed on her forearm. I knew immediately she was a Nazi death camp survivor. Her “marked” arm had once been a sign of shame and condemnation but now in this land, it had become a badge of honor. She had triumphed over evil, and her markings instead brought shame to her former persecutors.
Another friend we know in Jerusalem is named “Siman Tov.” These words in Hebrew mean “a good sign.” Siman is the son of holocaust survivors who met in Auschwitz. Siman Tov’s parents in naming their son “a good sign” wanted the world to know they had overcome evil and now had victory. These same words in Hebrew are also traditionally used in Jewish weddings to wish the bride and bridegroom well. His name therefore was “a token” sign for the rebirth of a people that others had sought to remove. They were comforted by his birth while their former persecutors were ashamed. Siman Tov has become a sign of hope to all who meet him.
For believers, the cross is an outward sign of the sacrifice our Savior made for us. It once was a sign of shame but now the cross speaks of Christ’s redeeming love. Like the brazen serpent in Numbers 21:7, all we have to do is look upon it and be delivered. The LORD says through Isaiah “Look unto me and be saved” (Isaiah 45:22). We cannot look to another for salvation. There is no other way to come to the Father God but through Jesus Christ. The cross is the sign of our new covenant thus we as believers now possess a boldness to enter into the holiest through the blood of Jesus Christ and by a new and living way (Heb. 10:19-20).
What is a good sign? It is when I gaze upon the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and recall Zechariah’s words that “his feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives…and the Lord shall be King over all the earth in that day” (Zec. 14:4,9). What is a good sign? It is when you or I remember the words of the angels to the disciples: “Ye men of GaIi1ee, why stand ye here gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
A Word from the LORD
Never fear to ask me for a “token” of my love. I am a God of goodness and mercy. I sent the dove back to Noah with an olive leaf in its mouth. Noah knew then the waters had receded from the earth, and that my judgment had ended. I am the God of the wind who blows through the mulberries promising you victory. I am a God who brings dreams and visions that assure you of my presence.
My goodness is like that dew that falls in the morning. It nourishes the life it touches. My tokens for good for you are greater than anything you can imagine. They will bring a fullness to your heart, and you shall rejoice. My gifts to you are from my Spirit and thereby tokens of my love to you. I have given you redemption, forgiveness of your sins, and my grace. I have showered you with my heavenly gifts. You are my token of love, empowered to do my good upon this earth.
The days comes when I shall make Jerusalem a token for my good. It shall shine with my glory and those who have defamed it shall be ashamed. My people shall know that I am their God and they shall never be ashamed. I will cause the world to be in an uproar when I promote my city. The nations will take offense, but I will not hear them. Jerusalem is my first love and I will shower her in the days ahead with even more tokens of my love. She will be like Rebekah, gifted with presents from Abraham’s servant (Gen. 24:53). I will endue my bride with my glorious presence, and I like Isaac shall never be separated from my people.
LORD, we are comforted in you. We thank you for your tokens of love to us. We praise you for small signs that affirm your presence and watch care over us. We thank you for the “little blessings” of life that show us you are near. You are not limited in your ways Lord. Those who persecuted and imprisoned Peter and John, found only empty shackles the next day (Acts 5:17-19). Their adversaries were ashamed and “cut to the heart.”
Thank you, Lord, that you make us “witnesses” to the uttermost parts of the earth. May we be your “tokens” for good. May those who see your light shining from us be ashamed of their darkness, repent and turn towards your light and life.
“And the blood shall be to you a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:13
“And be in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.” Philippains 1:28
“And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” Revelation 22:4
Jerusalem, Lest I Forget Thee by Gene Little
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