Joy From An Unlikely Source
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes (Psalm 19:7-8)
I doubt there has ever been a person in the history of mankind that didn’t long for the emotional experiences we read of in this psalm. We read of revival, joy, and enlightenment. These words, perhaps on different levels, all speak of positive mental, emotional responses we can have from the Word of God as we live in this world.
Yet, if we were honest, we’d have to ask ourselves a question: “How could anyone have a positive response in the world we inhabit?” If we lay aside the virus that has swept through virtually every corner of our planet, we still live in a world afflicted with crime, famine, warfare, and a host of other maladies. How does one find joy while inhabiting such a place?
There are two options, but only one that will lead to joy. You can somehow manage to avoid all the pains of this world—not a likely option—or you can understand the meaning behind the pain and affliction all around you. Only the Scriptures give us this enlightenment.
As soon as I mention the first option, avoiding pain—and we might add, maximizing pleasure—I’m reminded that this is the exact approach the people of our world take to life. There’s a reason why many people in this world would love to live in America: The illusion of happiness and joy. But Americans know better, particularly Christians.
This very point is where the psalmist gives you the greatest help. He doesn’t ground your joy in what you get in this life or the pain you avoid. He points you to the law of God. He says, “it will revive your soul.” It will make you wise—not any other idea, product, or service you might find on earth, much less in America. Yet the people of our world give their entire lives to obtaining and living what many call “the American dream.” Another psalmist made a similar observation (Ps. 73) and bemoaned the wicked of his day who seemed to have it so easy. They appeared to have life figured out, and with no regard at all for Scripture. But what the psalmist came to realize—and what Psalm 19 implies—is that it’s better to wait for and struggle with the truth than to be at ease with lies. Lies give pleasure for a time, and then no more. Sooner or later it becomes clear that only what God says in His Word will remain.
Today, if you find yourself struggling with any truth of Scripture, remember that while you may not have an immediate answer, there is an answer. Relief and joy will come in time. Your struggle will not last forever and is designed to lead to joy and rejoicing, as Psalm 19 promises. Lies may be more palatable and, for a time, may provide more pleasure than the truth, but there is no future for a person who pursues the passing pleasures of this world.