To Glorify and Enjoy Him

Psalms in Summer - Part 3


Cory Brock

July 26, 2015


Disclaimer: this is an automatically generated machine transcription - there may be small errors or mistranscriptions. Please refer to the original audio if you are in any doubt.

[0:00] Alright, if you keep your Bible open there, we're going to have a look at this passage for a few minutes. What I want to do is actually, a lot of you weren't here for this, but a couple, a few weeks ago on Wednesday night, we talked, we read just one verse of this passage and got into a little bit about its implications, and I want to flesh that out a bit more tonight.

[0:20] And so the title of what we're talking about tonight is glorifying and enjoying God. Okay, so a good place to begin then is to remember our church, St. Columbus, along with a lot of churches in Scotland, confess the Westminster Confession of Faith.

[0:40] And the first question of the larger catechism of the Westminster Confession is this, what is the chief end of man? And many of you could say it with me, the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

[0:55] Right? And our tradition, our Reformed tradition, the way we've read the Bible for centuries is in the way our forefathers at Westminster read it, is that the glory of God and the enjoyment of God are tightly construed.

[1:14] We glorify God and enjoy him forever. And what I want to say tonight is not only do we glorify God and enjoy him, but we glorify God by enjoying him.

[1:27] Okay? So let's, before we get into the meat of the text, I just want to go over a few things. First is this, look, God has two goals for himself.

[1:42] Okay? God has two goals for himself. God exists for himself and his goals are this, his own glory and his own joy.

[1:54] Okay? These are not goals that are set out in front of him like we have goals in our life. It's just who he is. God's glory and his joy are who he is and it's what he's about and it's right.

[2:07] Okay? It would not be right for you to be about your glory all the time. Right? For God it is. It's just right. It's who he is.

[2:18] He's about his glory and his joy. Now listen, the overarching logic of the Bible is this, that the goals in life that God has put before us are the same goals that he has for himself.

[2:35] Okay? God's goals are his glory and his joy. And he created us in such a way that our goals are God's glory and his joy.

[2:47] Okay? Now there's a third layer to this that we see in the Scriptures and we're going to see here in Psalm 16, that not only did God create you for his glory and for his joy, but God created you in such a way that your joy or your happiness is pursuing his glory and his joy.

[3:09] And we see that in other words, like Augustine said, your heart is restless until it finds rest in him. So God's created us in such a way as his image that to meet the goals of all the universe, which is his glory, his infinite glory, is also the same thing as you being happy.

[3:35] Okay? You want to be happy? God's glory is your pursuit.

[3:45] God's created us in such a way that those two things are the same. Okay? So if you're walking through life tonight and you don't have yourself oriented and grounded and thinking of your end as God's glory, your goal as God's glory, then you're sacrificing joy that could be had for some much lesser, smaller joy.

[4:10] His glory, pursuing his glory is actually what you were created for. And so doing what you were created to do is what's going to make you happy. Okay?

[4:22] So that's the background. That's the theological purview we're in right now. As we enter Psalm 16, Psalm 16 is teaching us that God's glory and our joy are inextricably linked.

[4:36] Now, we're saying no then to a couple of things in saying that. One of the things we're saying no to is the type of Christianity, the type of religion that gets preached sometimes that says this, serving God should be hard rather than joyful.

[4:56] Right? So self-deny yourself. What we're saying is serving God is hard. I'm not denying that. I know that's true.

[5:06] But serving God and self-denying and it being hard and life being hard and all these trials and all these things are not, is not mutually exclusive with being happy.

[5:18] They're tied together. They're one and the same thing. Romans 5 says that. Or what we're also preaching against is a Christianity that says you should not pursue your own happiness.

[5:34] Okay? It's good to want to be happy as long as that happiness is found in God's glory.

[5:49] They're together. They're not separate. Okay, so the first question we have to ask then is what does it mean to glorify God? Right? Now this is one of those questions that's so hard to answer.

[5:59] Right? We sing about God's glory. We talk about God's glory all the time. You say it like 50 times every time you come to church. Every time you read a Psalm, it's everywhere.

[6:11] But what is it? Okay? What is it? Now, look, you know what glory is. You see it all the time. You talk about it all the time.

[6:22] You know what the idea of glory is. For those of you that love art, that first time you see that painting, glory.

[6:35] The first time you hear that symphony, glory. The first time you saw her, glory, or him, glory.

[6:47] You can replace the word with beauty if you want. That's one way to think about it. Let me make a very American plug here for American football for a second. Look, most of you probably don't like American football.

[6:59] But if you were to get like most coaches do nowadays and sit really high up in the top of the stadium, you know, they probably do that in rugby as well, where coaches will look down at the field and they will talk to the head coach through electronically, through a microphone, and they'll say, you know, this is what's happening.

[7:20] The coach down on the field is saying, look, why are we losing yards here? I can't tell, right? Because he's standing at eye level, and all the players are like six foot eleven, and he can't see anything, right?

[7:33] But when somebody's standing in the press box and looking down, what you see in American football is this unbelievable symphony.

[7:43] Okay? You can see players moving in these orchestrated positions, following each other in lines and certain patterns, and all of a sudden in the matter of three seconds, this huge gap in the field opens up, and somebody hands a guy a ball and he runs through it for yards, right?

[8:02] There's American football in ten seconds. Look, if you see it from up top, what you realize is what took place in that five seconds has been worked on for the past nine months, okay?

[8:18] That three seconds of perfect steps. It's just like dancing, okay? That's the way it is. It's glorious when you see it from up top. You think this is beautiful.

[8:29] Look at the huge hole they've created. What brilliance, right? Look, all of you have those places where you find glory in your life, whether it's American football, or painting, or symphonies, or conversation, or grammar, or novels, or whatever it is, okay?

[8:52] Now, all of those things are little tiny bitty microcosms that only give us a slight picture of what the grand archetypal glory is that is God's glory.

[9:04] He's giving us all those little images of glory and beauty so that we could learn just a little bit of what it is when we see that painting for the first time of what it is to see God.

[9:17] Glory, beauty, majesty, right? Listen to what Jonathan Edwards says about God's glory. Jonathan Edwards is the American theologian from the 18th century.

[9:29] God is glorified not only by his glory being seen through the majesty of creation. So seeing glory and all the things we see out around and about us, but he is most glorified by being rejoiced in.

[9:51] When those that see God's glory delight in it, cherish it, love it, God is more glorified than if they were just to see it.

[10:03] In another place he says this, now what is glorifying God? It's rejoicing at the majesty that he has displayed of himself in the world.

[10:15] In other words, Edwards is saying this, it's one thing to look out at the world and see majesty, see glory, see creation and know that it points to a much more infinite, majestic, invisible glory that we can't see.

[10:29] But what glorifies God even more than recognizing it is enjoying it, delighting in it, letting it be your happiness.

[10:40] In other words, letting him be your joy. Okay. All right, so that's God's glory. That's the big picture. Now let's look at the text for a few minutes and draw some more specifics out.

[10:54] And I just want to ask two questions and we'll be finished. Of course, you don't know how long those questions could last, but that's all. Just two questions.

[11:06] First question is this, what is the ultimate joy? More specifically, what is the ultimate joy? And the second question is what is the pen ultimate joy or the joy before the ultimate joy?

[11:21] Okay. So what is the ultimate joy first? Come with me to verse 11. We're going to work our way backwards in this text. You have made known to me the path of life.

[11:31] You will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Okay. So notice these two phrases here with me. Keep your head down.

[11:43] The last two, joy in your presence and then pleasure at your right hand. Now if you're reading through the Psalms very much, that's a literary device, okay?

[11:57] A poetical device. What it's doing is it's telling you about the exact same thing twice in different words. Okay. So look at it with me again. You fill me with joy in your presence.

[12:10] So we got joy in God's presence. That's where we find joy in God's presence. Secondly, with eternal pleasures, joy at your right hand. You see? That's the same thing.

[12:20] We find joy in God's presence. We find pleasure at God's right hand. To be at God's right hand is to be in His presence. Okay. It's the same thing. That's all over the Psalms.

[12:31] Okay. So when you're reading the Psalms and you're saying, okay, what does this line mean? What does this line mean? A lot of times you can look for those lines because what they're actually doing is just giving it to you in a different way.

[12:43] And it's just like the Psalm is saying, in other words, da, da, da, right? He's just giving it to you in a new, fresh way. Now look, we can answer the question really easily because the text just straight up gives it to us.

[12:56] What is the ultimate joy? Being in your presence. Being at your right hand is where I have eternal pleasure. That's what the Psalmist says.

[13:09] Being at your right hand. In other words, complete and final ultimate joy and happiness is to see God. It's to be at His right hand.

[13:22] That's the goal of life. To be with God. Now listen to how the New Testament reinforces this.

[13:32] Okay. Listen to what the New Testament says. This is what Paul says about life. 1 Corinthians 13, for one day we shall see Him.

[13:45] We shall see Him. Or Revelation 22, they shall see His face. They shall see His face.

[13:55] His name will be on their foreheads. Okay. For Revelation 19, the Lamb of God that descends to the earth will establish His kingdom and in His face we will see Him.

[14:10] Okay. So it's all over the New Testament too. Now, the question that's left for us after reading this about the Psalmist, David's talking about seeing the face of God, being at God's right hand is this.

[14:24] If you think about the Old Testament and all the places that people see God or try to see God, what happens? So one of the first instances we see is Moses and he's at the bush and he asked God to pass by.

[14:43] And what does he have to do? Get into the cleft of the rock because he can't see God face to face. God tells him, you will die. You can't see me.

[14:55] Right? Or we talked about this this morning in Isaiah chapter 6 when Isaiah bows in the throne room in the vision he's getting and says, woe is me.

[15:07] I am an unclean man. He curses himself. He says, I can't see you. I can't see this.

[15:18] The holiness, the glory, the majesty is too great for me. Right? Now we get a clue already a long time before the fulfillment of this in what he says, right?

[15:34] With eternal pleasures at your right hand. Now look, we just read Acts chapter 2, you remember, and he quoted this passage.

[15:48] And what did he say, Peter? He said that David, when he said this in Psalm 16, was talking about Jesus.

[15:58] Who is it that sits at God's right hand? It's the Christ, you see. In other words, here's what the psalmist is getting at. Here's what would be fulfilled.

[16:12] The ultimate goal of life is to sit at God's right hand, but you can't, right? You can't even see God. You can't even be in His presence.

[16:22] You do that, you die. But when Christ came, He defeated death in such a way that Hebrews says that when He was finished, He sat down at the right hand of the Father.

[16:37] Now we've been talking about this on Sunday nights throughout the past semester that the way that Paul construes the gospel is by saying that we are united with Jesus.

[16:48] You remember, if you were here for that, that 92 times in Paul's letters, 92 times, he says that we are with or in Christ. Now look, you cannot see God as He is except for the fact that by faith in Christ, Paul says that the gospel gives you the right to be united with Christ.

[17:10] In other words, you can sit down at the right hand of God because Jesus sat down at the right hand of God. And if by faith you are united to Christ's death and resurrection, you get to have what He has, you see.

[17:25] That's what Paul means when he says you are a brother or sister of Christ. You are a co-heir with Him. You're going to get His inheritance.

[17:36] The New Testament talks about you like you are a literal son of God, even if you're a daughter, because you get an inheritance. You get to have what Jesus got, and that's to be seated at the right hand of God.

[17:50] In other words, look, where do we see God? Where is the ultimate joy? What's it going to be? It's going to be to see Jesus Christ face to face.

[18:01] It's going to be to see Jesus. That's the highest good of the gospel. The highest good of Christian religion is to see Christ.

[18:11] All right, so what that leaves us with then is this. In verse 11 at the beginning, he says, you have made known to me the path of life.

[18:23] And then he goes on to say this, that the end of the path of life is to sit at God's right hand. He's answering it for us. What's the path of life?

[18:34] The goal of life is to sit at God's right hand, but what's the path of life? Jesus comes and says, I am the way. The path of life for David was the Messiah, and the path of life for you is the Messiah.

[18:52] Look, God, Jesus Christ, is the path of life and the goal of life. He is both the grounds you walk on and the place that you're going to.

[19:04] You see, Jesus is the goal of the gospel. Now I'll ask you this before we move to question two. What is the highest good of the gospel that you love?

[19:20] What is the highest good of the gospel that you love? In other words, when you think about the gospel, when you think about what Christ has done, when you think about why you exist, what is the highest good, the biggest goal, the telos, the end, the whole point, what is it for you?

[19:40] And there are so many things in the Christian religion, in our faith, that are great and majestic, like justification by faith. Like getting out of hell.

[19:54] But that's not the highest good of the gospel. Those are means to the big, greater good, and that's Jesus Christ himself, to see his face, to be with him.

[20:07] Okay, question two. Question two. Now, question two brings us to this. What's the penultimate joy? And by penultimate, I mean the joy before the final joy.

[20:22] So we've just established the final joy. The final joy is to see Jesus Christ. And the path to that final joy is Jesus Christ. But the question that leaves us with is what about today?

[20:37] Because here's the thing. We talk all the time about seeing Christ as he is in the new heavens and the new earth, that there's this hope out there in front of us, the hope of Revelation 19-22.

[20:49] That's the hope that we're looking at. It's out in front of us, resurrected bodies, living with God forever. Right? But listen, let's be honest.

[20:59] If you're standing in front of a forest, a dense forest, and I tell you, on the other side of that forest, there is a majestic, infinite, eternal tree.

[21:10] It's the most glorious tree you've ever seen, and it's the goal of your life. Look, what are you going to say? I can't see on the other side of the forest.

[21:21] Look, there are trees in the way. I can't see the tree because of the forest. In other words, life is in my way. I can't, you're telling me to make Jesus Christ and seeing him face to face the highest goal of my life.

[21:35] But look, I can't see him. And I wake up every day, and I feel sick, and I feel tired, and death, and disaster, and destruction, and disease surround me.

[21:45] How do we get that joy now? How do I live with that kind of a joy in a world that is penultimate, that is not ultimate, that's still broken?

[21:57] So that's the second question. That's the long version of the second question. What do we do about today? All right, come with me now.

[22:08] We're going to look at verse 5 to 9 just really quick, but come with me to verse 9. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices.

[22:20] My body also will rest secure because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your holy one see decay. Now look, in verse 11, he's talking about the future, okay?

[22:32] The ultimate joy. When we come to verse 9, he's talking about the present. Therefore, now, my heart is glad. I am glad right now.

[22:43] I have joy. My tongue rejoices. He's talking about the present. Actually, it says in verse 9, my heart is glad, my tongue rejoices.

[22:56] But with the word tongue there, a better way to say it is probably my whole being rejoices. He's literally saying all of me rejoices. Everything from my head to my toe, my heart, my guts.

[23:11] That's how the Hebrews talked. If you read the Old Testament, a lot of it's idiom. It's always body parts. It's never anger. It's always noses are hot and things like that.

[23:24] That's one of the ways he's doing here with the tongue. He's actually saying everything I am because of what I speak, my whole being is glad. Now look, what does he mean by that?

[23:34] Well, first of all, we have to think about the heart. The heart is glad. The whole being is glad. Look, the Bible constructs the body, the heart, the whole being in this way.

[23:47] You are comprised of a mind or a soul, as we call it, and a body. If you didn't know your composition, there it is.

[23:57] In the soul, within the mind, the New Testament gives us something like you have an intellect, you have feelings, and you have a will, you have desires. You're all those things.

[24:09] That's what makes you up as a person. What the Psalmist is saying is this, I'm not just about satisfying my intellect with truths about seeing God face to face with whether or not I can see him, with the realm of the invisible, with the immaterial world, with the spiritual world.

[24:32] I'm not just about that. Look, my whole being, intellect, emotive self, feelings, volition, will, desire, all of me from head to toe, body and soul rejoices and is glad.

[24:52] Now why? Why is he glad? Why is this whole person, this body and soul so thoroughly glad? Now look at what he says. Why? He addresses the whole person because first, my body is secure.

[25:10] You see that? This isn't just spiritual. You're not just a spirit. We don't talk about things just in terms of the spiritual.

[25:23] He says, my whole being, body and soul is glad because my body will rest secure. In other words, what he's doing is he's looking forward to the vision we just laid out about being at God's right hand and saying, look, I'm glad today as I suffer because I know the very next verse.

[25:44] You will not leave me in the grave. You will not abandon the Holy One. Because he will not abandon the Holy One that is Jesus Christ to the grave, he's saying, I know that he will not abandon me.

[26:00] Look, the psalmist does not go spiritual here. He goes physical. He says, I have joy in this life in the midst of my back aches because I know that Jesus Christ will not leave me in the grave.

[26:15] Okay? He addresses the entire human who you are as body and soul. What he's telling us is this, the vision that is set before us at God's right hand is a physical vision.

[26:28] It is to be united finally and fully, body and soul in perfection. It's full. It's not part. Okay?

[26:38] Now we're going to wrap up here. What prevents us from having that kind of a gladness and joy in seeing the future vision? What prevents us?

[26:49] There are so many things we could say here, but I just want to highlight one as we begin to close, and that's this, anxiety. Okay?

[26:59] Now anxiety comes in all sorts of ways. All of us struggle with anxiety.

[27:10] Anxiety can be worry. Anxiety can be guilt. Anxiety can be shame. It can be all sorts of things.

[27:22] In many ways, all sin that happens in our lives that disturbs us. Any time we are discomforted without joy, we are experiencing something that we might call anxiety.

[27:37] Okay? Anxiety is the opposite of joy and gladness. It's the opposite of what the psalmist is talking about here, and everybody struggles with it.

[27:49] Now I want you to flip with me to 1 Peter. Come with me there. If you have a Bible, please turn to 1 Peter because you should see this.

[27:59] See what 1 Peter says about this. Chapter 5, verse 6. Now don't read ahead.

[28:11] Just read as much as I read. First two words, humble yourselves. That's the command.

[28:22] Get rid of your pride. Make yourself low. Humble yourself. Why? Therefore under God's mighty hand that He may, alright, exalt you is what it says.

[28:38] That He may lift you up or that He may exalt you. Now look, just pause there. We've been talking this whole time about God, our lives being about God's glory, and in glorifying God we find our happiness.

[28:54] We find that true joy. But listen to what Peter says here. Humble yourself. In other words, make yourself small.

[29:04] Forget yourself. Here before the mighty hand of God, underneath the mighty hand of God. In other words, make yourself low, make God big. Glorify Him is the point, not yourself.

[29:15] And what does he say? That He may exalt you. You see the point? If you make yourself low in this life by glorifying God, He promises to glorify you.

[29:32] In other words, He promises for that to be your ultimate reward and happiness. He's saying, look, you want to be glorified? You want to have glory? That's why you struggle with anxiety and pride so bad?

[29:45] Guess what? If you glorify me by making yourself low, I will glorify you. I will give you the desires of your heart.

[29:57] I will set you at the right hand of the Father. I will make you a brother of Christ or a sister of Christ. You want glory?

[30:07] Glorify me and I'll give it to you. Now look, last clause of this, it gets even better. Listen to what sin He's talking about.

[30:19] Verse 7, cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. In other words, what's He saying?

[30:33] He's saying, do you struggle with wanting your own glory more than God's glory? Do you struggle with anxiety and being miserable?

[30:45] Those are the same thing. How do you get rid of it? Self-forgetfulness. Humble yourself under the hand of God and you will get what you want.

[30:59] Absolute happiness, pleasures forevermore at His right hand. God is about His glory.

[31:11] He's about His joy. He's made us to be about His glory and His joy and He's made it in such a way that when you are about His glory and joy, you will be about your glory and joy in Christ.

[31:24] Let's pray. Our Lord and our God, this leaves us with so many things to think about and so many practical applications that we just can't flesh out.

[31:35] We ask, Lord, that you would take this truth of the way you've oriented the end of all creation, your glory, to our happiness and that we would leave this place longing to know more and to find it and to find joy in the midst of sorrow and pain, the joy that is always there in suffering that comes with being a brother and sister of Christ.

[31:57] We ask that you would make yourself known, that you would help us to see Jesus in His name. Amen.