“How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:7-9 NIV
David, through the Holy Spirit, chooses some interesting descriptive wording in in Psalm 36, namely; “feast, abundance, your house, drink and river of delights”.
A Spirit of Poverty and a Promise
How often do we wrestle with a mentality of scarcity and poverty? We suffer from poverty in wisdom, a lack in love and provision, a feeling of destitution and separation from the Father and a deep thirst for real joy and delight. Often we lack true Peace and Joy!
In this passage the Lord is encouraging us through His promise that all our real needs will be met to the overflowing. The Lord is not impoverished and does not give us the bare minimum to survive. No! He supplies abundantly for our every need. One of the reasons for Jesus coming was to meet these real needs to the full.
I remember the time our family faced yet another financial crises. I spent days thinking and wondering how I could overcome these financial difficulties without compromising the ministry the Lord had given me. I analysed my situation, spent hours talking to my wife and friends about some of my ideas and slowly the reality dawned on me that my best ideas would not work in my context. I finally sat down and lifted my head towards Heaven: “Father, you know all these ideas and plans I am making. You see how I do not even like my own best ideas and that I can see no way out of this financial crisis? Now Father I ask you; what do YOU want me to know?”
As I listened for His response I started to see a desert, scattered with rocks and stones, all grey and lifeless. As I peered deeper into the vision I was troubled by the grey colours and dryness I witnessed all around me. I started to look for some green trees or even a blue stream or something that could break the barrenness all around me. I kept seeing only this desert with rocks scattered about.
I prayed once more: “Father, I do appreciate that you understand my situation but what are you telling me? I don’t understand how this vision is helping me?” Slowly the Father’s words become clearer as I perceived Him saying to me: “Francois, you are looking at your external environment for an answer, but you are sitting on the solution?” As I continued to meditate on these words, wondering what it could possibly mean that I am sitting on the solution? Slowly it began to dawn on me that in the vision there is nothing but rocks surrounding me. The only thing I can sit on is a Rock! I looked up to Heaven and said: “Father, if it is true that you are the solution, the Rock, then I am asking you now to let your provision flow, not only for others, but also for me and my family!” As I got up from where I was sitting I sensed a waterfall cascading over me and knew in my Spirit that the Father would take care of us.”
I stopped looking at my external environment and simply continued with my day to day ministry, trusting that my Heavenly Father had a plan and would take care of us. Two months later, as I connected with people in ministry the Father provided an added avenue of income I could never have foreseen and brought about the provision we longed for and needed as a family.
This testimony of how the Lord broke the financial barrenness at a time of need does not compare to the Father’s love experienced at times of spiritual barrenness! The times of encouragement that I received from the Father when I felt lonely and abandoned, the encouragement of the Holy Spirit when I was ready to quit. I can only echo the words of Paul, through the Holy Spirit, to Timothy “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” 2 Timothy 2:11-13 NIV (emphasis mine)
The Lord wants us to get rid of a poverty mentality!
How different would our lives be if we could grasp the tremendous provision the Father makes available to us, His children? The Father has indeed already, by the Holy Spirit and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, provided for ALL our needs.
Jesus Himself said: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV
Many of us are living like the older brother (see Luke 15) not knowing the abundant generosity of our Father. We live, as if we are slaves who have to prise open the hand of our reluctant Father to receive a small, skinny goat. We do this, not realizing that the Father was pleased to give us the Kingdom! (See Luke 12:32)
Listen to the words of the Father to his son: “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’” Luke 15:31 NIV
How many of us are angry and accuse the Father of being slow to answer our prayers? How many of us think He only gives us a sliver of what we have asked for? The truth is that He always gives us more than we can think or imagine! (See Ephesians 3:20)
There are two great truths locked up in the Father’s answer to the older son. Firstly, the Father assured him that He is always with him and secondly that all that the Father possesses also belongs to the son. It can be summed up by saying the Father gives us intimacy and inheritance. When he gives us intimacy He gives us Himself! He comes to us in the person of Holy Spirit and He gives Himself abundantly to us. (See Titus 3:4-6)
As we return, like the prodigal son, to the Father’s House, we discover that the Father is waiting for us with open arms of love. He shelters us within Himself. The Word of God makes it clear that when it comes to the Kingdom of God it is not so much about eating and drinking physical substances but it is all about consuming Christ spiritually, eating the Bread of Life (See John 8:58 & 63) and drinking the Living Water (See John 7:37-39) “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” Romans 14:17 NIV
A River of Life (delights)
David, looking ahead to what the Lord Jesus accomplished for us at the cross, compared the Spirit with a river. The Spirit is like a river that flows abundantly from the very throne of God into our lives. A Spiritual River that also flows out of the lives of all who have surrendered their lives to the King! (See John 7:38) We all can drink by faith from this Spiritual River just like the Israelites could drink from the river that the Lord made flow from the Rock (See Exodus 17:1-7). Indeed, Jesus Christ is the corner-stone, the great Rock, who was spilt for us at the Cross. (Jeremiah 2:13 & John 4:11-14) From Him flows the River of Life that makes glad the city of God. (See Psalm 46:4)
The Spirit, which is at work in our lives, is not a dried up tap that drips only a drop of water to wet our tongue and get us through the day. No! The Spirit is given abundantly, like a great river that flows inside of us and out of us to other thirsty pilgrims. “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” Psalm 46:4 NIV
Ezekiel also prophecies of the Spirit and likens Him to a river, a mighty stream that no-one can cross, that flows from the Throne of God, giving joy to the people. The Spirit is a powerful and joyful Person who shares His Joy and Peace The Spirit gives us the Joy and the Peace of Christ and He gives it abundantly!
“The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.” Ezekiel 47:1-9 NIV
Whose joy is it anyway?
In Jesus’ great prayer before His crucifixion He prayed that all who believe may be filled with the fullness of His Joy! (See John 17:13)
This is great news indeed. We do not have to produce our own joy. Jesus states clearly that He prayed so that we may have HIS JOY! “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” John 17:13 NIV (emphasis mine)
It is the will of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that the Joy and Peace of God (as seen in Jesus Christ) might be in each one of us. The Lord provides His joy abundantly for each one who will come and RECEIVE by faith from Jesus Christ, who is the fountain of life. (See Psalm 36:9 and John 4:14)
Will you bring Him your life and let Him touch you with His Love? Will you cry out to Him who is anointed with the Joy of the Holy Spirit to fill you with His Joy? If you will drink by faith from the life of Jesus Christ then the promise of Isaiah will become a reality in your life too! “Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. “I, even I, am he who comforts you.” Isaiah 51:11-12 NIV
Has the River of the Holy Spirit flowed into your life?
Are you swimming in the River of Delights?
Will you come to Jesus Christ and allow Him to baptize you with the Holy Spirit?
Are you experiencing the Joy and the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Do you possess this Joy and Peace that Jesus promised no-one can take away from you? (See John 16:22)