Joy is found in the Lord. Delight in him all day long. It is a gift. Receive it.
Psalm 16 is a Psalm of delight. David uses the words "delight," "pleasant," "glad," and "joy" in this Psalm. David delights in his life. What is his secret? We make the world too complex, overthink what it means to find peace, controlled by fear which holds back. NOTHING needs to change in your life for you to have deep and lasting JOY right now. David simply delights in God. He doesn’t talk about everything that is wrong, he has a simple joy. Where does David’s joy come from? What made David Joyful has the power to set your heart dancing with delight: (borrowed outline from Sermon Central):
- Delight in the Lord’s person
- Delight in the Lord’s people
- Delight in the Lord’s portion
- Delight in the Lord’s principles
- Delight in the Lord’s protection
DELIGHT IN THE LORD’S PERSON
READ Ps. 16:2. The Lord is the source of all good things.
James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above..."
If it’s good, it’s from God. What do you consider good in your life? Whatever it is, things, people, life, opportunities, they all come from the Lord. APART FROM GOD WE HAVE NO GOOD THING. Joy begins with giving God the credit he deserves. Here is one of my most appreciated possessions… (show the stereopticon projector and talk about it….). Who am I to have such an amazing thing? God orchestrated my life, including the stuff of my life… and the people… I personally am overwhelmed by having the most amazing mother in the world, the most amazing wife, children, the most incredible church family. I brag about you and the honor I have to be a part of this church family.
Deep joy comes from recognizing good things in your life are a gift. The Lord himself is a gift: “you are my Lord.” God is not distant, looking down on us from afar, to be able to say “my Lord” is humbling, amazing, pure delight. Delight in the Lord!
The Story is told of an old Christian woman whose age began to take a toll on her memory. She had once known much of the Bible by heart. Eventually only one precious bit stayed with her. "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I committed unto him against that day." II Tim. 1:12. As time went on, she lost more of that verse. She would quietly repeat, "That which I have committed unto him." At last, as she hovered on the borderline between this world and the next, her loved ones noticed her lips moving. They bent down to see if she needed anything. She was repeating over and over again to herself one remaining word of the text, "Him, Him, Him." She had lost the whole Bible, but one word ~ and that was enough: Him.
Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have. Delight in the Lord! And you will find true Joy.
DELIGHT IN THE LORD’S PEOPLE ~ Read Ps. 16:3
When actress Sophia Loren sobbed to her Italian movie director over the theft of her jewelry, he lectured her: "Listen to me, Sophia. I am much older than you and if there is one great truth I have learned about life, it is this--never cry over anything that can’t cry over you." Isn’t that great advice.
People are far more important than material possessions. Every good gift comes from God, but put people at the top of the list. Jesus lived for people. He didn’t live to preach and teach. The teaching and preaching and even the miracles were only a vehicle to love people, change people. The Clothesline is not in the clothing give away business, it is in the people business. Sunday School begins next week for children. It’s about the children, meeting their needs, praying for them to grow in Christ. We are privileged to love people. Joy comes in focusing on others and enjoying them.
I remember in the aftermath of 9-11, the Pentagon was hit by one of the planes, and it became apparent Master plan of the terrorists was probably to hit the U.S. Capital Building and the White House. I remember saying to somebody at the time, my mind not quite able to comprehend the destruction of the White House, what would we do if they had succeeded. Whoever was with me, as I mused outloud about the unthinkable, obviously a wise person, simply said, “We’d rebuild it.”
Simple. It put into perspective what’s true. People first. Valuing others others will bring delight into our lives. Don’t cry over that which can’t cry over you.
DELIGHT IN THE LORD’S PORTION (this is my person favorite) READ Ps. 16:5-6
Sign on a New York City car: "Happiness is Five Green Lights in a Row." What is your lot in life? Are you happy with it? Delight in the Lord’s portion: whatever he gives you, your situation. However he orchestrates it. We saw the Mumford’s leave ~ off to California for Jack to serve as a pastor… Shed a tear but be happy. Sally and I done that, did that, off to California not imagining I’d ever be back to Sumas… What is your lot, your cup in life? Are you happy with it? Don’t compare yourselves to others, don’t be thinking you deserve this or that. Simply appreciate whatever the Lord gives you.
The problem: we often ask for more. Most of us are not satisfied with our lot in life. If only, Lord, you could change this, tweak that, give me more opportunity, let me win the lottery, lament the past. I knew my mother would not be here this morning (she’ll make it back eventually), so none of you are allowed to tell her I used her as an example. She is my greatest here. When my father died in 1996 we all worry about how we’ll respond. My mother still misses him, none of us would have chosen for him to get leukemia and die at age 69, but my mother accepted, almost felt guilty for several years because she enjoyed her life so much… The Lord is the author of your story. You can choose to fight it, or you can accept it. “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup.”
Heb. 13:5 "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’" Get that straight in your mind and you will find pure joy. Leaning on his fence one day, a devout Quaker was watching a new neighbor move in next door. After all kinds of modern appliances, electronic gadgets, plush furniture, and costly wall hangings had been carried in, the Quaker man called over, "If you find you’re lacking anything, neighbor, let me know and I’ll show you how to live without it."
God is the author of your story. Enjoy the book ~ God only writes good books!
DELIGHT IN THE LORD’S PRINCIPLES. Read Ps. 16:7 The Lord counsels and instructs ~ that’s a reason to give thanks? Should we ask that question of the NV students who began school this week? As an old person I wish I could convince more students to enjoy school because it is a privilege to learn… How much more is that true when it comes to the things of God.
There is a reason one of the prominent descriptions of the Christian is to be a disciple. That means student. That means forever learning. Nobody graduates from the school of Christ, but we are forever honored to be able to sit at his feet and learn from the Master and grow in our understanding and put into practice the things we learn. What a joy to learn from Christ, his word, the Bible, his spirit, his gift of wisdom. Take the 30 day challenge with the expectation that you will learn, receive counsel, instructions. Delight in what you learn…
A few weeks ago I sat near a young teenage girl in a public setting that knew who I was. I’d never talked to her before but I knew a little bit about her because I knew the family. I could tell it took courage for her to ask me, “Have you always been a Christian?” I started to answer with a factual response of my faith journey, and I glanced at her, and I instantly knew she wasn’t just curious, I knew she had doubts about her own faith, questions of what is true. So I did my best to tailor my answer to what I figured were her needs. And I thought to myself, I feel good about that girl because questions are good ~ that’s what it means to be a disciple.
All day long, to be a student of Jesus Christ, to ask questions, to read in his word, to invite his spirit to counsel, to instruct. “Even at night” Ps. 16:7 says, “my heart instructs me.” Delight in knowing that whatever you are today, the Lord will continue to instill his word in you, teaching you, counseling you, giving you boldness and courage, and you will continuously change as you immerse yourself in him as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Delight in his counsel and his wisdom….
Finally, DELIGHT IN THE LORD’S PROTECTION. Read Ps. 16:8 “I will not be shaken” words of assurance from two weeks ago. Those are the words that ended Ps. 15. The Lord will protect you. When the car is about to crash a parent instinctively reaches her arm across her child to lessen the impact. How much more God? He will take us through all circumstances, all trials, all situations. His promise of his presence is the greatest of all. The Lord will protect you. Sometimes it will be a miracle. I have never forgotten the story Ross Massey told, my 5th grade S.S. teacher in this church long ago, he was driving and as he was coming to the long curve in the road, he fell asleep. He woke up as he was coming out of the curve back to the straight-away. It was an angel that took hold of the wheel. The Lord protects. Other times the sickness diminishes the body, but the Lord is still protecting giving us worth, that one set of footprints in the sand because he is carrying us though the heartaches of life. It is the same Lord carrying us through the story he is writing of our lives. The Lord will protect us through it all. Delight in the Lord, for you have nothing to fear. The greatest gift is pure joy.
I’d like to end with this simple story from a book, Monday’s with My Old Pastor. The author describes visits with his mentor and the wisdom he gains. The Old Pastor is dying from cancer, bedridden, and the young pastor reflects on the amazing attitude of the old pastor: “I loved that ability to get excited about something so simple even in the midst of his terrible sickness. His [joyful attitude] made me remember a [truth] I heard long ago: ‘Many people lose the simple joys while they are waiting for happiness. Perhaps it is better to enjoy collecting seashells than to be born a millionaire.”
Delight in the Lord himself, delight in his people, delight in whatever story he is writing of your life, delight in his counsel and instructions, delight in his protection. You have the Lord with you, and that is reason enough for joy. Amen.