Monday, March 21, 2011

Created for Joy

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalms 16:9-11)

Excerpt from by "Prayer of Joy for the Protection of God" – 2011-03-13
David took comfort in the fact that God would not, at that time, allow his body to die and decay in the grave. Because God was David’s “refuge” and “portion” and “cup”; because God had promised him a “beautiful inheritance”; because God had given him “counsel” and “instructed” his heart; because he had “set” God before anything else - David was not “shaken” and he rejoiced because with God his “flesh” could “dwell secure” even when confronted with death. Death posed no threat to David because David was already experiencing the great joy of communion and fellowship with the Lord. Because David had such an intimate relationship with God, he knew God would not permit death and the grave to interrupt the joyful communion and fellowship he was currently experiencing. But even when that day came, David could also proclaim: “My heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure” because the “path of life” he had already walked in God’s presence in this life caused him to know the joyful anticipation living in God’s presence in the future: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” . . .

In Philippians 1:21 the apostle Paul said: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." What Paul is saying here is the person who fully trusts in Jesus - whose security is in God - is a person who is full of joy because they know they really have nothing to lose in this life; Jesus (who is God) is everything! Augustine once prayerfully wrote: “You have made us for Yourself O God, and the heart of man is restless until it finds its rest in You.” Since we were and are made for God, then it is only in Him that we shall be profoundly contented and know our greatest delight and joy. In His presence there will be “fullness of joy” and in His right hand we will find “pleasures forevermore.” But we struggle in life -because don’t see it that way. We have no problem recognizing the distress of a fish out of water. The fish gasps, it twitches, it convulses. As soon as it's put back into the water it soon swims away without much distress. While we aren’t fish, we are people – human beings created by God in the image of God to live for the glory of God. We weren’t created to live in water - but we were created to live in the living presence of God. Because of our sin, we were cast out of the living presence of God (out of the Garden) – and now like fish out of water we gasp and twitch and convulse and struggle and fear because we are out of our created element, out of the living presence of God. We are no longer in the environment for which we were made - apart from which we are always going to be distressed.

Yet we don’t see it that way. We are so used to living out fallen sinful lives in a fallen sinful world that we don’t see our struggles as being the real struggle of living out of the presence of God. While it is true we are always in God’s presence - the “presence” David spoke of and the “presence” the Bible speaks of us is the deep, joyful, intimate, relational, communion presence of God we were created for.
LISTEN TO THE FULL SERMON HERE