October 19, 2017 Chapel Service — Dr. James E. Dolezal

Posted On October 24, 2017

James Dolezal

“True Satisfaction”
—Psalm 16

Dr. James E. Dolezal is assistant professor of Theology in the School of Divinity at Cairn University in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

 

Transcript

I’ll ask you to be seated and we’ll have opportunity now to look into the psalm that we’ve just sung: Psalm 16. So, as we open God’s word, I ask you to turn with me now to Psalm 16 in your copy of Scripture. I’ll read the entirety of the Psalm: eleven verses. We’ll as the Lord to illumine us as we look into His word and consider what He has for us.

This is the holy and the inspired Word of God. Let us give it our full attention.

A Miktam of David.
1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.d
8 I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Let us pray.

Our God and Father, indeed you are our prize and our great reward. We pray this morning, that as we look into your Holy Word, you would instruct us by your Spirit and teach us the glory and the meaning of what it is to have you as our prize, to be your people, and to have you as our God: that you are our portion and inheritance forever. Indeed, that you are a beautiful inheritance.

Teach us how it is that Christ Jesus in his death and resurrection has opened up the path of life to us; he has led us into the perfect abiding and everlasting enjoyment of you our great God. Teach us, instruct us, magnify yourself in our hearts this morning. We pray in Christ’s name, amen.

In book one of his famous Confessions, the church Father Augustine of Hippo asks this important question: “What other refuge can there be except our God? You my God are supreme, utmost in goodness, mightiest and all powerful, most merciful and most just.” In book four of Augustine’s Confessions, he contrasts his former desires. The things in which he previously sought his good are contrasted with the good that he has found in God. Augustine says:  

“I was hankering after honor, wealth, and marriage but you were laughing at me. Very bitter were the frustrations I endured in chasing my desires. But all the greater was your kindness in being less and less prepared to let anything other than yourself grow sweet to me. You freed my soul from the close clinging, sticky morass of death. Let it now cling to you.”

This is Augustine finding something else for his soul beside those things he was chasing after: those lesser goods. Not that it wasn’t good to have honor, to be given wealth, to have marriage; these are good things indeed. But by comparison to the the good that is God – and as a replacement for the good that is God – they are in fact nothing but the way that leads unto death if they take that chief place in our heart.

I think Augustine is offering us a sort of sanctified echo of what we find in King David in this Psalm that we’ve just read. In our Psalm, David declares his sole satisfaction in God. It’s a song about sole satisfaction and about sole commitment. It’s a song about what he possesses and what he yet hopes to possess in the future.

For the believer, this Psalm exposes the abundant blessings that are ours in and through Christ Jesus. Furthermore, it directs our hearts to the proper object of our desire and ambition: namely, God Himself. For the unbeliever, this Psalm exposes the folly and the hopelessness of a life that fails to seek its satisfaction in God. The one who does not know to say “I have no good besides you,” finds that that he ultimately has not nothing but increased sorrow: increased pain and suffering.

I want us to consider this in three observations of the soul’s true satisfaction in God. What does satisfaction in God truly look like? First, we’ll consider the first four verses that it is an exclusive satisfaction. Secondly, in verses five to eight, it is an enlightened satisfaction. Finally, in verses nine through eleven, that it is an expectant satisfaction. Exclusive, Enlightened, Expectant.

First, we will consider verses 1-4. He says in the first verse, “preserve me, O God.” This is the only request in this entire Psalm. Sometimes the Psalms are full of petitions and requests, but this Psalm has only one. He says “preserve me, O God” and then he proceeds to talk about his soul’s devotion and commitment unto God. He begins to tell us of his confidence in the Lord and of his commitment to God. He’s confident that God will answer his request of “preserve me” because he has already found the Lord to be a refuge for his soul and true joy for his heart.

He tells us in the second half of verse one that he has taken refuge in God: “preserve me, O God. For I take refuge in you.” Refuge from what? We’ll come to that in a moment, but ultimately refuge from death, refuge from condemnation, refuge from that which will ultimately leave him disappointed and destroyed. “I’ve taken refuge in you.” In this life, yes, but also in the life to come, as we’ll see towards the end of the Psalm. He recognizes his own weakness and insufficiency. To borrow a word from a theologian I read some years ago:

“The one who takes refuge in God is the one who recognizes his own self insufficiency. Recognizes that he is not equipped with the good and the power to bestow benediction that will ultimately satisfy. He despairs of his own power and of his own resources and he takes himself to God and he hides himself in God”

In addition to this, he confesses that God is not just one safe haven among others. As he looks for refuge, he doesn’t look to a series of different refuges. If I can say it like this, it’s not that God is refuge for you sometimes and then there are other places of safety to which you can fly.

If you were to have a flood or tornado, the city or the city planner might have mapped out for you various places where you can go to seek safety in the face of the storm. There’s not just that one place where everyone goes, but there are many possible places you can go to find refuge. But that’s not how David thinks about his soul. He doesn’t think about his soul as being able to, perhaps, be safe over here or safe over there. He demonstrates his exclusive commitment by taking himself to God.

In Psalm 86:11 David says “Unite my heart to fear your name.” In effect, David expresses his united heart by saying “don’t give me a heart that runs after this, that, and the other. But give me a heart that is exclusive in its devotion unto God.” He says this in verse two, “I said to the Lord you are my LORD.”

I pause for a moment. In the English that sounds a little awkward and even a little redundant. “I said unto my LORD you are my Lord.” Okay? Uh, what’s the value of that? If you look at your text, most of your translations will render “LORD” and “Lord” a little differently. In the first one, he’s using that special covenant name of God: YHWH. “I said to YHWH, you are my Adonai.” What’s the point of this? What does it mean to have God as your “Adonai?” This is that word that can be translated “Lord” not all caps, but usually capital “L” and then lowercase “o-r-d.” It has the idea of a master, of one who has dominion over you. The idea is something like this: “I said to YHWH, you rule my heart.” God commands and dominates the affections and the ambitions of David’s heart. When he says, “I said to YHWH, you are my Adonai” what he is saying is “I said to YHWH, you are the one who commands my heart’s desire and my heart’s ambition. You are the one who masters me.” The soul that is satisfied in God is the soul that is mastered by God, that is dominated by God. This is not in some kind of sinister domination, but in the domination that is happy to have God as our Sovereign, as our Lord, and as the one who provides for us.

He says in Psalm 73:25, a similar Psalm, he says “who have I in heaven but you? And besides you I desire nothing on the earth.” And so he says on the last half of verse 2, “I have not good besides you.” The good is that which all men desire. We desire that which is good because it is better to have than not. Not be too simplistic, but the things which you call good: good food, good days, good baseball games, good nights of sleep, good classes, good friends. You call all of these things good because they are in some way perfective or tend toward the betterment of what you are as a human being.

But when David considers his good in the final analysis, the good that he sees at the end of all those tokens of goodness is in fact the Lord Himself. So much so that when he gets this vision of God it’s as if the brightness of God’s glory and the brilliance of that goodness simply eclipses all of those other finite tokens of goodness. And so he says “I have no good besides you.”

This is in effect what Exodus is commanding in chapter 20 verses 2-3. God says to the children of Israel, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of slavery. you shall not have any gods before me.” This is in effect what David is saying when he says, “I have no good besides you.” He’s saying, “nothing else dominates my heart. Nothing else is the lord over my heart. Nothing else ultimately commands my affections or is ultimately to that which I aspire, or that to which I find refuge.”

The unbeliever finds this to be absurd. “I have no good besides you? C’mon! Aren’t there other goods in life?” Haven’t I just named a few of those goods a moment ago? The late and notorious atheist Christopher Hitchens used to describe the god of the Bible as a megalomaniac: a god who demanded that everyone love him. God talks a lot about himself in Scripture and he commands that we find our refuge and our hope in him.

David knows what Hitchens did not: that God is the supreme good by which every other good is given and dispensed, and by which every other good is measured. When David says “I have no other good besides you,” he’s not disregarding the goods of life that God has given him. Abigail was a good and he had her for a wife. Victory over Goliath was a good and then over the Philistines after that. David’s life was full of many benedictions from God. Is David disregarding all the benedictions? I don’t think so. In a certain sense I think he’s taking those benedictions as tokens of the goodness, not that God has, but that God is.

One Puritan, I think it’s Thomas Manton, says that “all the goods which we receive in this life are but rivulets from this fountain.” If you can, think of it like this: David looks at all the good in his life and he follows the rivulets as it were, the ripples, back to their source. Ultimately, he sees that all these rivulets, all these tokens, are but indicators of this goodness and he finds in God the ultimate and final satisfaction. To come back to Hitchens briefly, it’s actually the false gods, the idols, that are the real megalomaniacs. They’re the ones that, if you invest yourself in them and serve them, cannot promise the good that God promises. So, he [David]  is exclusively committed to God as his ultimate and final good. Man finds his ultimate destiny and realization of his human good in the enjoyment of God. The beatific vision will be at one and the same moment the elevation of your humanity to its most perfect and realized state. David says “I have no good besides you.”

After that, he considers two different groups of people in verses 3 and 4. In verse 3, we see the a group that he allies himself with: the holy ones, the saints, and the majestic ones on the earth. Then he contrasts this to the group of those whose “sorrows will be multiplied because they have bartered for another,” or your translation might say, “because they have run after another.” So, he declares his commitment to God as his highest good and then he considers these two different groups of people. God’s covenant people: those who seek God as their good. Verse 3, “as for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all of my delight.”

Let’s focus on them first. Is this a contradiction to what he just said at the end of verse 2? At the end of verse 2 he said, “I have no good besides you” and here he’s saying that he has delight in these people. David, how can you have delight in these people if God is your only good? I think we should understand it as something like this: his love of these people is a love and an attachment to them because these are the people who seek the same good, these are the people who promote in him the desire for God. Psalm 1:1, says “how blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers.” In other words, he doesn’t make his allegiance and his pact with the ungodly. And the end verse (if we can read between the lines in a sort of sanctified way) he’s the one who sits in the seat of those that speak the praise of God. He’s the one who finds delight in the company of those who also know that God is their only, and ultimate, and final good.

In Psalm 101:6-8 David says this: “My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land that they may dwell with me. He who walks in the blameless way is the one who will minister to me. He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house. He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land to cut off from the city of YHWH all those that do iniquity.” I think that’s what he’s saying here. He’s saying, “I’m committed to those who are committed to the people of God.” He’s not saying that he’s against evangelism or calling the wicked into the reverence and worship of the true God. Rather, what he’s saying is: “I’m not going to find my common cause, my ambition, and my ultimate identity in the course in which the wicked run. I will find it, rather, with the righteous ones, with the holy ones: the ones who will encourage me.” David is committed to the one’s who, as he says in Psalm 101 “minister to me, direct my heart to the good.”

Listen, seek godly friends. Seek godly counsel. Associate and find common cause with those that seek god and can encourage you to do the same. This is not that we don’t, in evangelism and in an act of mercy, go and seek to call the unbeliever out of darkness into light; but we do not run with them in the course that they run. We do not commit ourselves and allow ourselves to be dominated by that which dominates them.

He comes to this in verse 4,”the sorrows of those who bartered for another.” The NASV puts in “another god” because that seems to be the idea: some alternative good, some other source of good. “The sorrows of those who bartered,” or “run after another,” “will be multiplied. I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood nor will I take their names upon my lips.” This is the history of man’s sinfulness: he trades away his only good for an imagined good. This is the thing: people don’t trade away God because they think they’ll get increased sorrow by trading away God. They trade away God because they’ve made an assessment and decided that there’s good somewhere else. They’ve looked at God and somehow God is not everything that they could desire. There’s good beside him.

This is the assessment – wrong and delusional as it is – that Adam and Eve made in the Garden. They imagined that they could have God, but that there was a good that God was holding back from them, and that if they could just, as it were, consecrate themselves to the word of the Serpent, that they would find some good in following that false word. This was a good that the Devil in Genesis 2:5 said that God was keeping them back from. If they were to believe the words of the Devil, they would find it and in fact there is some good for their soul that’s not from God.

We find this in other places in Scripture like the syncretism of Israel and the forging of the golden calf. Israel imagined that they could have the worship of YHWH and also the gods of Egypt from which they had just been ostensibly liberated. We also find this in King Manasseh. 2 Kings 21 says that Manasseh, in the very presence of God’s holy hill, built altars for all the hosts of heaven. This is the idea, why do you build altars? You worship the God of heaven and earth, why build altars for all the host of heaven? Because presumably, in a certain sense you believe that by paying homage to all the heavenly host you will in some way receive favor and good from them.

Think of it like in an investment model (and I think the language actually lends to this idea). We’re told, with regard to our finances, that the way to prepare for our future is diversification. Now, I’m not a financial expert, but maybe I’m naive. I think that might be right: you don’t want to sink it all in one investment. Listen, if you put it all in Solyndra or Enron (I’m just picking some big names of great colossal failures) you’re going to come up empty. So, you don’t want to put it all in one thing. You want some in bonds, you want a little in the stock market, you might want some in physical gold or silver, you definitely want to protect yourself from onerous taxes with a little IRA, and for some physical property to boot might be good so that your portfolio is nicely diversified. The reason why you diversify your portfolio is because, presumably, every one of these investments has the potential of giving you some good. Should one or more of them fail, the hope is that one will allow you to succeed. So, if the stock market crashes your gold investment will sort of offset your losses as it goes up. You diversify your investment as a kind of security because in every one of these is a possible source of good, of revenue, of income to you, of a future provision for you. That might be right, financially.

Listen, that’s ruinous spiritually. That is ruinous. It is a fool’s investment to take the commitment and the devotion of your heart and put thirty percent in YHWH, thirty percent in gold and possessions, thirty percent in relationships with people. In other words, make idols and invest yourself in them in addition to YHWH and you’ll be covered, right? Ultimately, this is a devaluation of the good that God is. This says, “God might be good to a certain extent, but there are other goods and there are other places of refuge that will protect me and provide for me should things go badly.”

This is the thing, if you had invested in Enron or Solyndra, you might come out with nothing. But imagine this: imagine that you invested in something that went belly up, but instead of being left empty handed you actually got the bill for all the liabilities and were enslaved to that. It’s something more like that. You invest yourself because you want increased or multiplied return of good. In effect, David says, “you’ll get an increased return, if you invest in something other than God. You’ll get a multiplication, a return, but it won’t be a return of blessing. It will be a return of sorrow and it will be a return of sorrow in a multiplied, increased return.” It’s not that the sorrows of those who’ve bartered for another are going to zero out. They will be multiplied. All syncretism, all trading away God, his benefits and his good will ultimately disillusion you.

There are echoes here, I think, of the Fall in this language: of Genesis 3:16 and the curse. Speaking to the woman, God said to her, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth and in pain you will bring forth children.” The multiplication is not going to be the multiplication of good, if you invest in something other than God. It’s going to be the multiplication of pain and sorrow. Matthew Henry says,”those that multiply gods, multiply griefs for themselves. For whoever thinks one god too little will find two too many and yet hundreds not enough.” That’s why I’ll never be Matthew Henry. So nicely said.

To our second point, then. It’s an exclusive satisfaction, but consider that it’s also an enlightened satisfaction as we see in verses 5-8. What I mean by this is that David understands and seeks to contemplate the good that God is. In other words, he doesn’t just say “God is my only good.” He meditates on what that means. If I can say it this like this, and take this from a Theology Proper professor, he meditates on the “Godness” of God, and on the blessing that God is, and we find that in this meditation that he is greatly encouraged.

First, in verses 5 and 6 he uses the language that is still of this idea of a return or inheritance. He uses the language of receiving some good: “YHWH is the portion of my inheritance, you support my lot, the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. Indeed, my inheritance is beautiful to me.” If he invests himself in YHWH, what he gets himself for his reward is YHWH. He invests himself in YHWH and – YHWH is not a dispensary of good – YHWH is the good. What he comes to receive is God himself. Genesis 15:1, the promise to Abram: “After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision saying, “fear not Abram. I am thy shield and thy exceedingly great reward”: it’s “me.” And so David considers this, “I invest myself in God, and what I get is not increased sorrow, what I get is” – I don’t even know how to say it- he gets the infinite God himself! And so then he says, “God is the portion of my inheritance and my cup. The things that will satisfy are not the things that God dispenses, but God Himself.”

Then in verse 6, he articulates this in the language of receiving a land inheritance. I love verse six. He says, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places.” The idea is property lines. If you can imagine with me briefly, that you were to receive an inheritance of land that you’d never seen and never really looked at, and let’s say that you went to visit the property and the Power of Attorney who is administering the will is taking you out, and you go out to the edge of the property – presuming that the property is not for sale – the first question you  might ask is, “How much of this is mine?”What are the lines. What’s mine?” Imagine if the Power of Attorney turned to you and said, “What do you mean? The whole thing; everything as far as you can see. This inheritance is not a little sliver of good that you get to, sort of, pitch your little house on and live out your retirement on. “The lines have fallen to me on pleasant places” is to say “this inheritance is boundless.” Listen, if you invest yourself in God, God isn’t going to give you a meager little stipend to live on in the future. Do you see what I’m saying? The retirees, you get closer to this, you know, you have to figure out how much money you have is going to last your projected lifespan and sort of live inside of your means. Forget about that when it comes to God. It’s a boundless and endless source of good. It’s a fountain filled with nothing but goodness. The lines are not a meager little property that you inherit. You inherit the boundless God himself for your benediction, for your enjoyment. This is the enlightened satisfaction: he contemplates the meaning of God’s “Godness.”

And then in verses 7 and 8, he talks about moments of crises where he might be tempted to let go of God, where he might be tempted to seek another refuge. He draws this picture of himself on his bed at night presumably worried, up late, thinking about the difficulties of life. He says “I will bless YHWH who has counseled me. Indeed, my mind-” literally, he says “my kidneys” – “have instructed me.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think my “kidneys” do a lot of instructing. But the idea of kidney is just a euphemism for the inner man deep inside of me. Deep inside, he has imbibed deeply the knowledge of God. “YHWH has counseled me, indeed my kidneys instruct me in the night. I have set the Lord continually before me. He is at my right hand; I will not be shaken.” Here’s the picture: it’s an enlightened satisfaction because this is a man that knows God. First, because God has instructed him: “You have counseled me.” I would argue both in the things of nature and in the things of Scripture God speaks of his glory, of his goodness, he shows himself to us in a multitude of ways through his revelation and through the things that are made and in holy Scripture itself. So, if you are going to receive God as your good and find your satisfaction in him, you’re going to have to pay attention to the council that he gives to you. As you take that in and make that your own, you will actually have something meaningful to think about when life bears down on you. Here he is awake on his bed in the middle of the night and he says “my kidneys, the inside stuff, instructs me!” What do they instruct him with? Presumably they instruct him with the council that God first gave him.

Listen, know God. Busy yourself getting the knowledge of God. Do not be content with a skimpy and scant little knowledge of God. Rather, study to know him. See him. Surround yourselves with those that will drive you to the knowledge of God. Don’t do this so you can pass an exam, but so that you can hold fast to him when life bears down and threatens you. He says, “I have set the Lord continually before me.” This is like a vow. You need to, as it were, make a vow and say “I will set the Lord continually before me.” This is not just some empty sentimental concept in which we project our desires onto something that we call ‘god.’ This is taking in deeply the instruction, the council, the knowledge that God himself gives us and making it your own so that you can put him before you and contemplate him even as life assaults you.

In the final place, consider this: that it is an expectant satisfaction in verses 9-11. Is God simply for this life only if you invest yourself in God and find your satisfaction in God? In other words, is God simply going to get you through your three score and ten? Is he going to simply walk with you a short course of life, or are you going to have something more than that? Paul says that if we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we of all men are most to be pitied.

Here’s the thing about investments: you want the investment to give you a big return and you want to be able to live to enjoy the return, yes? I trust that I’m not being too simplistic. You want a big return and you want to enjoy it. David says that that’s the thing that you get with God which supersedes and eclipses all others.

There’s one great big onerous thing that threatens to take them away from us. You know what it is, right? It’s death. You could make all of these investments, but you will not enjoy them, you will not have them as your portion if in fact death should take them away from you. I think David’s actually sort of reflecting on the request of the Psalm: “preserve me, O God!” Preserve me for what? Preserve me from ill, but preserve me that I might enjoy my inheritance. He’s saying, preserve me so that my inheritance will not be cut off from me by the curse, by death, by Sheol the place of the dead. So he says, “preserve me in the threat of death.” David says in verse 9, maybe counter-intuitively to the natural mind, “my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices, my flesh will dwell securely.” In other words, not only will I receive an amazing and unspeakably blessed inheritance (lines in pleasant places), but I will be preserved to enjoy it. God doesn’t just give you himself as your reward and then you die right before, not to be crass, but right before you “cash in,” so to speak. The real question is, how can I have an amazingly great reward and be conditioned so as to enjoy it? David says, “My flesh will dwell securely.”

You might say to yourself, “David, everyone dies! Death and taxes, right? The only things that are certain in this life: death and taxes. David, what do you meant that your flesh will dwell securely? Number your days because it’s going to end!” In effect, David says, “but there’s a reason for this.” He gives us this reason in perhaps one of the most well known passages of the Psalter. He says in verse 10 ” for you will not abandon my soul to Sheol” (the place of the dead: the grave) ” nor will you allow your holy one to undergo decay.” In Acts 2 and in Acts 13 Peter and Paul, respectively, apply these words to Jesus Christ. And we actually are told by Peter in his sermon in Acts 2 that David understood when he spoke these words that he was speaking, not of himself individually as a historic person, but that he was speaking of his own son: the one promised in the Davidic covenant. Acts chapter 2:29: “Brethren,” This is Peter preaching, “I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried and his tomb is with us to this day.” And so because he was a prophet,” saying this about David, “and because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to see to one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of Christ: that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh suffer decay.” Peter says that the great hope of David is due to the prophetic expectation that David has in that Son who would sit on his throne forever.

In 2 Samuel 7, I won’t read it in the interest of time, we see the promise that was given to David. In fact, he was told “when your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers.” David knows that he will go to the grave. Well, then why is he saying “My heart is glad, my glory rejoices, my flesh will dwell securely?” Ahem, David, uh, 2 Samuel 7 says that you’re going to die. So, why all the mirth, why all the happiness? Peter says that it was because David was looking forward to the fulfillment of these things in his own son: the Messiah who would be raised from the dead.

In Acts 13:34-37, Paul says, “as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.” that’s Isaiah 55, “Therefore he says also in another psalm,” by the way, they don’t usually give chapter and verse. Sometimes Paul just says “somewhere it says” and NASV will help you, you know, your cross reference will help you it. “Therefore he says also in another psalm ‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption.” Peter tells us that David’s hope was actually a hope that was fixed in his own greater son.

And so, look how David concludes this in verse 11: “You will make known to me the path of life.” That is to say, the path of life- by life here he doesn’t mean another five-ten years. He means life so that I may enjoy the beautiful inheritance: life so that I might actually enjoy, without the threat of death, enjoy God as my great reward. “You will make known to me the path of life.” Listen, the path of life, the path to an unending enjoyment and satisfaction in God lies through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus, in his death and resurrection, opens the way to the unending joy of God: what we used to call “the beatific vision.” 2 Timothy 1:10 says that God’s saving grace “and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” David says “preserve me, O God” and we find that it is, in fact, the Gospel that will preserve both Him and us that we might enjoy God.

Listen, don’t trade him. Don’t trade the Lord who made you. Don’t trade the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Seek him and know that He will be found and enjoyed through the death and resurrection of His Son.

Let us pray.

Our God in heaven, we bless you, we thank you for your kindness and mercy to us in Christ Jesus. We thank you that you give us an unspeakably great reward in giving us your own self as our eternal benediction and enjoyment. Teach us, Lord, to seek you and to call you our only good. Beside you we have no other. We ask this in Christ’s name. Amen.

 


Transcripts are lightly edited.