Have you ever noticed the 16th Psalm, a song of the Holy Spirit via the pen of King David? Psalm 16 sets forth the Practice (Psalm 16:1-4), the Portion (Psalm 16:5-6), and the Prospects (Psalm 16:7-11) of being a child of Deity. There is also a clear Prophetic aspect to this song, especially the later portion (vs. 8-11; see also Acts 2:22-32). The closing verse focuses in on the Pleasure to be find in the presence of Deity (v. 11). Using this passage as a type of springboard, let us take a moment to consider the concept of finding pleasure in God...
Life and Joy...
By inspiration David exclaims, “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). God is the one who shows us the way to life. In context, “life” is contrasted with “Sheol” (the grave) and the “corruption” of death (v. 10). Paul informs us that, “to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7; see also 1 Corinthians 15:54-58).
David then speaks of experiencing a “fullness of joy” in the presence of our God. This is a satisfaction or delight that is complete. Most people spend their lives searching for joy that will completely satisfy their hearts. They keep finding new possible sources of this ultimate satisfaction (work, hobbies, toys, etc.), but they continue to come up empty handed (or empty hearted as it were). Do you want to be satisfied with a complete kind of satisfaction? I humbly submit that such is possible, but that this filling kind of delight is only find within our Almighty God (Psalm 43:4). May our lives be dedicated to pursuing Him as the source of joy and contentment in our lives.
Is all pleasure inherently evil? Is it always wrong to seek pleasure in life? Psalm 16:11 plainly states that there is a plurality of pleasure to be enjoyed at the Creator's throne. We all know that we can find such blessings as grace and mercy at His throne (Hebrews 4:16), but how often do we realize the pleasure that is Deity? We must prize the presence of God, savor His goodness, treasure His beauty, cherish His words, and feast on His grace. By the way, I submit that not doing this is at least one way of defining the nature of sin.
But also note how the text sets forth these pleasures as lasting “forevermore.” I am sure we all are quite familiar with the “fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). The faithful child of God forsakes these passing pleasures in pursuit of far greater wealth (Hebrews 11:26). We all live our lives for some reward(s). The holy ones seek the greatest reward of all: The One who is invisible (Hebrews 11:26b-27). An exchanging self-denial is taught within the Sacred page (see Philippians 3:3-14), not absolute self-denial. Jesus says to deny ourselves and then follow Him daily (Luke 9:23-25). We are to toss aside the copper of sin so that we may then obtain the gold of Jesus.
As we come to realize that God is the source of lasting joy and ultimate satisfaction, the lesser joys of life (like family, friends, hobbies, etc.) are enhanced. If God is truly our exceeding joy (Psalm 43:4), then we will begin to see all other joys in life as gifts from His gracious hand. These gifts are surely designed to cause us to see even more of His greatness and perfection. Sitting down for a night of pizza and games with our family is even more special as it is brought into proper perspective (in view of God's infinite worth).
The reward we seek is naturally connected to the action of living for Yahweh. It is like working at a marriage to gain the honor of relishing your spouse's presence more thoroughly. It reminds me of studying Koine Greek so that you can read the New Testament writings, not just so you can pass/not fail a test. We joyfully labor now in His reign in order that one day we may be transformed to live forever with Him: our ultimate Treasure (1 Corinthians 15:58). Christianity is not meant to be a duty, but something we do out of the sheer joy of a life with the King who died for us. His infinite worth brings infinite joy and endless pleasure to our hearts and lives. Are you enjoying Him today?
For His infinite worth,