Sunday, February 14, 2010

Psalm 16:11b "His Presence = Your Joy"

"In your presence there is fullness of joy;"

Nowhere else in the existence of the Universe is joy to be found. There is heat around the most distant stars, but soon as you travel away from its presence there is cold black space. So it is with Gods joy; its found within him; it's apart of who He is, in his essence. You cannot buy it, bargain for it, or make it appear by sheer will power. Only in his presence is joy to be found. The human race seeks for joy as they work hard and "play hard." Big kids who are sophisticated in their sins. They seek for joy in the weekends because they are miserable on their jobs. Joy to them is found in the profane, the tongue n' cheek sexual wise cracks all to common in the work place, the base music of a corrupt culture, the club scene where the body is flaunted to allure the overly-cologne man with cool hair. Maybe its found in the one night stand, or the occasional high. The list goes on and on in mans hunt for joy, but it evades us and when we think we have it, it slides through our proverbial grasp. Joy is allusive apart from God. God may grant momentary happiness through common graces and providential decrees, but happiness comes and goes as we continue to reach for it in a fallen world. Joys fullness is in God alone. Our God is full of joy just as the oceans are full of water. It is deep joy, fresh joy, sustaining joy, expansive joy. God guards his joy. It's not for everyone. Gods joy is in Himself as He delights in Himself. And for those who are truly born again we now begin to partake of this fullness. As we delight in God, God then dispenses it to us. And as God is infinite so are all his attributes. So this means his joy is infinite, and he has an infinite amount of joy at his disposal for delivery. Just as the sun continues to burn perpetual heat without depletion so also is Gods joy, it never burns out, there is plenty to go around.

Gods joy is central to he is and critical for our survival. If this was not a core characteristic of God, if joy did not emanate from his person the world would have died a thousand floods over with no bow hung in the sky. The earth would be filled with the plagues of Egypt, and revelation tribulations would descend upon this globes inhabitants with fearful power. This is what separates God from the pantheon of Greek and Roman gods. These gods lacked immutability. They were emotional deities that were in constant flux with mans performance. Therefore, these gods needed to be appeased or they would unleash a leviathan upon you. God is immutable and does not change, he is consistent with man, and consistent in his nature. He never veers from himself and we would know if he did because the Universe would collapse in on itself.

All of life seems to center around the pursuit of joy. But the best fallen man can do is create a plastic version usually centering around momentary gratification in the entertainments and the arts, recreation and hobbies. We might experience temporal satisfaction in relationships and family, but usually it is short lived as the stresses of daily living mount and the pressures of life build. Usually by the end of the day we are fried and looking for some sort of outlet because our worlds have squeezed all the juice out of us. This is where Gods joy is essential. As we live coram deo (before the face of God) we are constantly sustained afresh. We are always being infused with eternal joys. The fractured image of man has been restored in Jesus and we begin to mirror Him in his joy. The most important part about this psalter is this: joy is not connected to any creaturely thing, nothing in this world, but it is connected to a person, that person being Jesus Christ. Without Jesus joy is impossible. Deep, lasting, tangible, sufficient, real, sustaining joy. Here and now Gods people begin to experience Kingdom joy, and we will partake of the full measure of this joy as we enter into Gods presence where we will be dazzled by the sight of the One whose eyes are like burning torches and whose voice is like the sound of many rushing waters. Without Jesus you will continue down the same rapid river of life's disappointments heading for a great waterfall. Only Jesus can lead you down a different river and redirect you down joyful stream that opens up into a sea of peace and joy.

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