Living for Pleasure

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I love the Psalms.  It is one of the books of the Bible that always brings me comfort when I read it.  I’m thankful that God orchestrated and breathed every word of the book of Psalms.  As my worship pastor husband said to me: these words of the psalmists weren’t only read in ancient churches but also sung, there were notes and melodies and harmonies.  Singing is something that usually comes from deep within us and stirs up great emotion.  There is great struggle and great rejoicing in the Psalms – anywhere from lament to generational jubilation.  I love it all!

Psalm 16:11 (ESV):

“You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

I’ve been thinking on this particular Psalm much over the last 10 years, but as soon as a friend tweeted it the other day, something new stood out to me.  I love the depth and the richness of the Word of the Lord.  Find hope in this Psalm.

Ultimately, this Psalm is a Christological Psalm – meaning it refers to Christ.  We find hope from knowing how Christ lived.  He was a human much like us (though without sin) and found his ultimate pleasures on this earth in communion with His Father.  That pleasure, that closeness, is being revealed in heaven now at the throne of God that Christ is standing at the right hand of the Father, interceding for His own, even when we don’t know how to pray.  He prays for our pleasure to be found only in Christ.  He prays for us to be satisfied with Him and Him alone.

How do we find that pleasure?  The only way we find pleasure in God, forevermore (which includes today), is by His covenantal nature.  He will not forsake His own.  WE can have covenant with our pleasure-giving God because He has made a covenantal promise of faithfulness to those who are found in Him.  He didn’t forsake Christ to the depths of Hell – and He won’t forsake us either.

We do ourselves harm when we find ultimate pleasure in anything else besides God.  Sure, God gives us many gifts, callings, jobs, to enjoy for His glory and with His blessing – but not to find our ultimate, final pleasure.  As the great author and masterful writer/theologian said it (paraphrase) – if we look at the mud and mudpies and are content with those, than we are wrong in doing so.  Don’t fix our eyes on the mudpies.

One of the ways we continue to dwell in the pleasure before our final resting place in His true and glorious presence, is by staying close.  I’ve heard it said stay “clean and close”.  Here are some ways to stay close to our God:

1.  Renounce sin.  Not saying that you will never sin, because even though we have the righteousness of God imparted to us, we still live in the flesh and are at war with our Enemy who delights to see us sin.

2.  Hope in God.  When we do sin – find joy in the fact that Gospel prevails.  Christ has conquered the grave.  Our sin is not ours to bear anymore.

3.  Read and love.  When reading the Word – love the Word.  It will be of great benefit to you – even in  your discouraging times, even in the hard times (read Piper’s When I Don’t Desire God).   There are times when I don’t, and from the words of my mentor as well as many of the psalms, read anyway, praying the Spirit would refresh your heart toward His righteousness.

Live and dwell in His presence, there finding all your pleasures.

  1. Alvie Davidson

    Several years ago I attended a small church in Naples, FL and they only sang the Psalms to adaptive meter tunes. I had never experienced that and now I better understand it.