Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Greater Joy... Advent of Joy #3

This evening I was starting to blog hop a bit to visit some of my friends I have in my side bar.

I got no farther than “Behind the Eyes,” by Lisa Whittle. Her most recent post really struck a chord with me… as did the scripture verse she had.

Go visit her post now….
Really I mean it.

Click HERE and see what she had to say…

Ok, hopefully you read it…. it is short, I promise!

Anyway, she had the scripture verse in The Message, but I have it here in the New International Version.

“In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord. Many are asking, ‘Who can show us any good?’ Let the light of Your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalm 4:4-8

I added a couple of verses on at the beginning, compared to what Lisa had. However they really spoke to me.

I have had to deal with a lot of anger lately…. and I just realized it.


I really have to deal with it. I think I will be laying in bed tonight, searching my heart and leaving some things before God. I am going to have to sacrifice my anger, and my “right” to be angry and upset… and trust in the Lord. Back to that trust issue again.

When I read the verse talking about who can show us any good, and then asking God to let the light of His face to shine on us… Well, that just didn’t seem to gel at all with The Message version that Lisa quoted…

“Why is everyone hungry for more?
‘More, more,’ they say. ‘More, more.’
I have God’s more-than-enough.”

Then I looked at the Strong’s references. When the NIV says that people are asking who can show us any good… well part of the definition from “show” is the root “to see,” and to “perceive, present, provide.” then the definition for “good” is “beautiful, best, better, bountiful,” and “pleasure, precious, prosperity, wealth.”

That started to make sense to me. Many people are asking who can see/perceive/present/provide us with anything that is beautiful/bountiful/precious/ (causes) prosperity/wealth. But the King David isn’t asking for more prosperity, or wealth or worldly things. He is asking for God to let the light, the radiance of His holy face to shine upon him. He knows that as long as God’s face is turned towards him, that His countenance is is shining on him, he has everything he needs or could want.

At the very beginning of the psalm, David says,
“Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”
Psalm 4:1

To me it sounds like David started this prayer in distress, in pain, or hurt, or affliction… focused only on the pain he was experiencing. But by the 7th verse, David is acknowledging that God has filled his heart with more joy than others experience when their earthly treasures are multiplied over and above.

David made a conscious choice that despite his circumstances, he was going to continue to seek God. And as he did, he recognized that joy deep down in his heart, that only God can give.
There is a joy in my heart that though everyone around me may be looking for more and more, I can instead focus on what God has given me. It is so much more, so much better than anything that I could gain from earthly sources. Because the earthly things I can’t ever take with me once I die. It is the eternal things that make the difference. God didn’t spare His Son but gave Him up for us all… how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:32) He has given me eternal life at a great price. Just the price He paid in laying down all His glory to come to earth as a human baby is unimaginable for us.

That alone is worthy of my praise, adoration, and abiding joy.

Then on top of that, I can lie down in peace and sleep knowing that the Lord has made it possible for me to rest/live/stay in safety. He is my shelter and I can sleep without worry, without wondering what will happen tomorrow. He is my shelter, my strong tower, my refuge. If everything is stripped away, from money, to possessions, to my family, my friends, my health, my very life - I HAVE HIM. He is all I need.

In that I choose to find joy. In my God, my precious Jesus, I find my joy and purpose, my peace and security. Earthly things may promise those things. Possessions and getting more may give a sense of security, but pretty soon those possessions end up possessing.

I don’t want to be owned by anything or anyone else than my Savior. He bought me with the price of His own blood. I want to live in the awareness of that, and in the joy of that.
In this Christmas season I want to try to show others around me, who may be looking for more, more that there is something else that is better and will provide for them a deeper sense of pure joy than if their physical treasures grew exponentially.

It won’t be easy.
It isn’t.
But God.

May the light of His countenance shine upon me, and may joy that only comes from Him be evident to all.

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