This week our Songs Along the Way class considered Psalm 16.
The Psalmist makes a stunning declaration in verse 2 and verse 11.
For him, maximum joy and pleasure is found in pursuing his relationship with God. The following Daily Bread devotional develops this thought.
The United States Declaration of Independence says that one of our unalienable rights is “the pursuit of happiness.” I think we would all agree that pleasure, the agreeable reaction of our senses to some stimulus, is a king-size ingredient of happiness. Most people spend much of their leisure time pursuing pleasure in the hope of finding happiness.
Scripture doesn’t say that we shouldn’t enjoy life. Indeed, Paul affirmed that God has given us “richly all things to enjoy”—like food and drink and the ability to sing, laugh, and make music (1 Timothy 6:17).
Paul also warned us that excessive indulgence in God’s good gifts may have a killing effect on our enjoyment of the supremely good. “[The widow] who lives in pleasure,” he wrote, “is dead while she lives” (5:6). And the writer of Ecclesiastes learned that pleasure cannot satisfy (Ecclesiastes 2:1).
Anyone who makes pleasure the main goal of life becomes desensitized to earth’s greatest delight—fellowship with God—which is also the abiding joy of heaven. As David wrote in Psalm 16:11, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” No pleasure can rival that of fellowship with God—a pleasure that is a foretaste of heaven.
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see. —Crosby
Fellowship with Christ is the secret of happiness now and forever.
In week one of “Songs Along the Way” we considered how Psalm 1 contrasts the “two ways” of life.
The way of the wise was described as a tree planted by a stream. The way of the wicked described as chaff being blown away by the wind.
Here is a song setting of Psalm 1 by Justin Rizzo. He clearly meditated on the words of this Psalm and is not afraid of repetition! Repetition is a learning strategy that helps us remember.
Harry W. Schaumburg wrote a blog post entitled “Sexual Sin in the Ministry”. He makes a strong case that our “diagnosis determines the treatment” and suggests that nothing short of the cross will heal people caught in sexual sin.
“The cross isn’t a recovery program, the place to improve on what good is already there. It is a place to die. It is not a question of giving up sexual sin, but of giving up one’s rights.”
Kathleen Buswell Nielson believes that our basic problem in Bible studies is that we have forgotten how to read. We are often in too much of a hurry and want to rush into the Bible–grab some ready wrapped truth like we grab a fast food meal.
“We’ve disowned that process of careful reading . . . observing the words . . . seeing the shape of a book and a passage . . . asking questions that take us into the text rather than away from it . . . digging into the Word and letting it speak! Through such a process, guided by the Spirit, the Word of God truly feeds our souls. Here’s my prayer: that, by means of these studies, people would be further enabled to read the Scriptures profitably and thereby find life and nourishment in them, as we are each meant to do.”
A group of dedicated women will begin a journey into the Psalms beginning May 10th. Using Kathleen’s clear, concise questions we will engage personally with the Scripture and then come together to discuss and learn more together.
May God reveal Himself to each of us as we seek Him in His Word!