Thursday, November 1, 2012

Psalm 4 - Joy

You have put more joy in my heart then they have when their grain and wine abound, Psalm 4:7.

This verse has challenged me for decades, yes, decades. I recall reading it when I was a teenager and thinking, “Is this true of me? Do I have more joy in God than people have when they pick the right door on Let’s Make a Deal? I don’t know if that game show is still around, but there are many like it today that offer contestants the chance to win lots of money and other prizes. When someone on television wins the big prize they laugh, they cry, they jump up and down, they hug, they kiss – and I enjoy watching them rejoice. I also wonder how something like that might change their lives for good or ill.

Financial rewards and windfalls can put joy in hearts; but David writes that God has put more joy in his heart than people have that reap financial rewards – for abundant grain and wine translates into wealth – is my treasure in God or is it in material things? Is my joy in God or is it in material things? As I pondered this question years ago I wrote a note in the margin of my Bible asking myself whether what was true of David was true of me. I still ponder this question. I can be so fickle, allowing the things of the world, the transitory things of this life, to dictate my thinking and feelings and actions.

Jesus tells us to not lay up treasures on earth because they will rust and waste away, but rather to lay up treasures in heaven where they are kept securely by our heavenly Father. Earthly gold, in any form, is fools gold; heavenly treasure, whether a cup of cold water given to the thirsty or a word spoken in due season or a visit to the prisoner – that is gold that will last forever.

Jesus tells us that He wants our joy to be full. O Lord, put your joy in our hearts, a joy greater than all the wealth of the world can give us, a joy more enduring, a joy more sure, a joy we can share with others.

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