KILLING SIN…PART TWENTY THREE

 

 

Psalm 63:title–11 (ESV)

 

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

 

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

 

my soul thirsts for you;

 

my flesh faints for you,

 

as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

 

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,

 

beholding your power and glory.

 

Because your steadfast love is better than life,

 

my lips will praise you.

 

So I will bless you as long as I live;

 

in your name I will lift up my hands.

 

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,

 

and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

 

when I remember you upon my bed,

 

and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

 

for you have been my help,

 

and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

 

My soul clings to you;

 

your right hand upholds me.

 

But those who seek to destroy my life

 

shall go down into the depths of the earth;

 

10  they shall be given over to the power of the sword;

 

they shall be a portion for jackals.

 

11  But the king shall rejoice in God;

 

all who swear by him shall exult,

 

for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

 

 

So we’ve seen the first three issues in this Psalm. First of all, there is an intense desire for God’s manifest presence. Secondly, there is an anticipation of being together in corporate worship back in Jerusalem and thirdly, there is the satisfaction that comes in clinging to Christ in times of private worship.

 

But this is not where the Psalm ends. There is a fourth issue that is somewhat foreign to us as we don’t normally speak like this about our enemies.

 

The fourth issue we see is in verses 9-11 and it is confidence in God’s just purposes.

 

 

He is praying what we call an imprecatory prayer for God to judge his enemies and bring justice. He wants those who are hunting him down to kill him to actually be killed and be buried and be destroyed by the sword and die in the desert and be food for jackals.

 

 

In the midst of extreme agony and loneliness and pain, David just wants justice to be done.  He wants God to vindicate him.

 

 

One thing we need to be careful about here is that it is okay for us to want justice and to be vindicated and for God to work in His sovereign ways to bring about punishment for evildoers, but we must remember, that is not our job. Our job is not to exact revenge or takes matters in our own hands. To play God!

 

Romans 12:19–2119 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

In verse 11, the final verse, David as king—the rightful king who is being pursued by his enemies calls on all of God’s people to join him in rejoicing with God and praising God that He is a God of justice.

 

Now where do we see Christ in this Psalm?

 

 

David is the King of Israel and serves as God’s representative for the people. Those who are of the House of David are those who have sworn allegiance to the King and join him in worshipping God.  Those who are enemies of the King of Israel are liars and will find their end in destruction.

 

 

Jesus, is the true Son of David, and not only the King of Israel, but the supreme King of kings and Lord of lords. All who have sworn allegiance to the King are Christians. We as believers are subjects of the King and we owe Jesus all allegiance and worship and surrender. And yet there are those who are enemies of the King—those who refuse to bow the knee to King Jesus and they will suffer destruction in eternal hell as those who have rebelled against God in their sin.

 

 

So our only hope for life here and life eternal is to bow the knee to King Jesus as our ultimate and supreme authority.

 

 

But we can bow to a King in surrender because of his power and we are afraid that if we don’t we will be punished. We can bow begrudgingly and not truly love the King, but do it out of duty or fear of punishment.

 

 

That is not the heart of a true believer. Yes, we bow before Jesus as our Lord because He is sovereign and supreme, but we also bow before Him because we love Him and we see in Him a beauty and glory and treasure beyond compare.

 

 

Not only do we bow, but also we seek Him. We thirst for Him. We faint for Him. We cling to Him! We meditate upon Him. We long to behold his power and glory.

 

 

We see Jesus not only as our Sovereign Lord, but also as our Supreme Treasure. We bow to Him as King, but we also love Him because He is glorious and beautiful and worth losing all!

 

 

Do you have intense desire for Jesus?

 

 

Do you have an anticipation to be in corporate worship so that you can praise Jesus?

 

 

Do you have times of private worship where you can be satisfied by the joy of intimate times with Jesus?

 

Do you have confidence that God will be just in the end and right all wrongs through King Jesus?

 

 

Do you see Jesus as not only as dominant, but also as desirable.

 

 

Do you see Jesus as not only King, but as Treasure.

 

 

Do you see Jesus as not only Lord, but as Beautiful?

 

 

Cling to Him! Long for Him! Earnestly seek Him! Thirst for Him! Meditate upon Him!

 

 

The Lord satisfies those who earnestly seek Him.

 

Hebrews 12:2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Would we all have our eyes fixed on Jesus as we cling to Him and find in Him ultimate satisfaction, fullness, and joy in His presence alone.

 

Satisfaction comes from earnest seeking! Cling to Jesus!

 

 

 

 

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KILLING SIN…PART TWENTY TWO

 

Psalm 63:5–8 (ESV)

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,

and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

when I remember you upon my bed,

and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

for you have been my help,

and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

My soul clings to you;

your right hand upholds me.

But there is a third issue in this Psalm and it is connected to the first two.

 

 

The third issue we see is in verses 5-8 and it is the satisfaction that comes through private worship.

 

 

If David longs for being together with God’s people in corporate worship to experience God’s presence, there are also those alone times with just us and the Lord where we go to Him in private worship, or what some people call a quiet time or daily devotion, where we encounter His presence in a powerful way.

 

 

In verse 5, David uses this metaphor of being satisfied with a great feast. Is he literally talking about eating this wonderful meal that makes him full or is this a picture of what Jesus does for the thirsty and hungry soul for Him?

 

 

Remember what Jesus said in the Beatitudes about hungering and thirsting?

 

Matthew 5:6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

 

Christ delights in satisfying His people with Himself.  Jesus desires to make our cups overflow with Him.

 

John 15:1111 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

 

Jesus has a great desire for us to have a joy that is overflowing. He wants us to be overflowing with His love and joy and to be satisfied.

 

How do we have this joy and intimacy with Christ? How do we abide in Christ? How do we foster a hunger and thirst for Jesus?  Is it something that just comes automatically?

 

Listen to what David says in verse 6. He remembers and meditates upon Jesus while lying in bed or waking up late at night. In those alone times, He spends quality time with the Lord.

 

Some of you may get up early in the morning and spend time with Jesus and others may do it late at night before you go to bed and some of you have been awakened in the middle of the night to pray.  The timing is not the important thing, but that we actually spend time in prayer and private worship with Jesus.

 

How often to do spend time reading and meditating upon His word and going to Jesus in private prayer.

 

In verse 7, David praises God for being his help and that he has been able to hide in the shadow of God’s protective wings.  This imagery of “shadow of your wings” evokes images of a huge and powerful eagle protecting his little eaglets from harm. It is this picture of God’s great protection.

 

Psalm 17:8Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,

 

Psalm 36:7–9How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

 

Again, we see the joy and singing and delight that David has in the Lord. He longs for Jesus. He thirsts for His power. He longs to be in corporate worship as well as he pours out his heart to the Lord in prayer and meditation upon His word and he thinks about God’s protection and sovereignty. His mind and heart is wrapped up in the glory and power of the living God.

 

And in verse 8, we see this very interesting term that David uses to describe all that he can do—CLING to God.

 

This is one of my life verses that has meant a lot to me over the past 10 or so years. I come back to this often because I love the imagery.

 

This word is “dabaq” and was used back in Genesis 2:24 when a man and woman shall cling to one another and become one flesh in the most permanent and intimate human expression there could ever be—a marriage between one man and one woman.

 

It’s amazing how this word “debar” or cling is used throughout the Old Testament. It always involves this intimate almost marriage like arrangement between God and His people.

 

 

 

This is the word used in Ruth.

 

 

 

Ruth 1:14  And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

 

 

 

Orpah means back of the neck. She went back to Moab. She never repented—she is a symbol of refusing to follow the LORD. But Ruth on the other hand clung to Naomi and pledged her undying devotion to go back to Bethlehem and be a part of the covenant people. She expressed this deep longing to remain committed to Naomi and Naomi’s God when she clung to her.

 

 

 

So this word “dabaq” is equated with loyalty and devotion.

 

 

 

This word also shows up in Deuteronomy when Moses reminds them of how the Lord fought their battles and how in turn they should remain faithful to the covenant.

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 10:20-21  You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear.  21 He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen.

 

 

 

We also see this word show up in Proverbs

 

 

 

Proverbs 18:24  A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

 

 

 

This is a wonderful proverb about having faithful and close friends. They stick—they cling—they are devoted—they are loyal in this very intimate way—just like a brother.

 

 

 

So positively, we see this word “dabaq” as a very strong way to show the most intimate of human relationships—marriage—a clinging between a husband and wife—friendship—a clinging in loyalty like Ruth and Naomi—and in obedience to the Lord—clinging to Him and His Word. 

 

 

 

Taken as a whole, this word is very expressive way to show intimate loyalty, devotion, and faithfulness no matter what the situation.

 

 

 

In verse 8, David gives the powerful expression of devotion to the Lord. My soul “clings” to you. I am totally dependent on the living God for my life, my salvation. I am nothing without Christ. I am a sinner saved by grace. I am nothing without the hand of the Lord to sustain me. I am thirsty and weary and bankrupt and nothing without Jesus.

 

 

 

That is a cry of a person who is humbled before the living God and who truly understand grace. What’s the only thing we can do? Cling to God. Hold fast to Christ. Find our satisfaction in Him.

 

And while David clings to God he has the ultimate hope in God’s ability to uphold him. To make him secure. To protect him. To see him through to the end.

 

Sometimes all we can do is CLING!

 

Remember David’s situation. He is alone. He is isolated. He is on the run. He is being hunted down like a dog out in the wilderness. He is thirsty. He is in the scorching heat. He has nothing but Christ. All he can do is to cry out for help and cling to Jesus.

 

That’s why we sing “All I Have is Christ, Jesus is my life!”

 

Do you cling to Jesus?

 

KILLING SIN…PART TWENTY ONE

 

Psalm 63:2–4 (ESV)

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,

beholding your power and glory.

Because your steadfast love is better than life,

my lips will praise you.

So I will bless you as long as I live;

in your name I will lift up my hands.

The second issue we see is in verses 2-4 and it is the anticipation of corporate worship.

 

 

Now, what does this mean? An anticipation of corporate worship? What is David hoping for? What is he longing to be a part of again? He longs to be a part of the corporate worship that he enjoyed with other Israelites in the tabernacle with the Ark of the Covenant.

 

 

In essence, he wanted to be in church with other believers to experience the joy of worshipping together as God’s people.

 

Remember, he is isolated out in the desert living on the run from his son Absalom and he desperately wants to go back to Jerusalem to experience the joy of corporate worship.

 

 

In verse 2, David harkens back to an experience he had in the sanctuary—that is the tabernacle—where he beheld or saw first hand the power and glory of God.   We really don’t know if David literally saw God in all his majesty face-to-face in the tabernacle, but we know that Moses was not allowed to see God and live.  Others like Daniel and Isaiah and Ezekiel who saw the glory of God fell down as dead men utterly ruined in their sins.

 

 

So what exactly did David see in the sanctuary?

 

 

Most scholars believe that David was referring to the symbol of God’s manifest presence among God’s people—the Ark of the Covenant in the sanctuary. In other words, no one can actually see God and live so the Ark is the visible expression of an invisible God in that time. It was the mediated presence of God for the Israelites. It was a visually reminder that God was truly indeed with them.

 

 

During the times of Moses, God would descend in a cloud on the Ark in the sanctuary and the people would worship and tremble in awe.

 

 

What David longs here for is the experience of being together in worship again with God’s people to come to the tabernacle and to experience the power and glory of God.

 

 

Is that your desire when you come to worship on Sunday mornings? Do you long to be with God’s people so that you can experience the power and glory of God? Or is Sunday morning just a duty? What do you truly expect to happen when you show up at this place? Do you expect to experience the power and glory of God?

 

 

Do we truly long for God to do something special when we meet? Do we long for the manifest presence of God? Maybe God is withholding a special measure of His presence because our hearts don’t really want it. We just want to show up and be comfortable and sing a few songs and hear a good message, but do we really want to encounter the Living God in a very profound and special way?

 

 

How does David view being in the presence of God in worship?

 

 

In verse 3 he praises God for his steadfast love. Again this word is “hesed” in the original language, which means God’s faithful, tenacious, pursuing love for His people where He promises to never leave or forsake them, but to love them to the end because He’s sworn upon Himself in covenant that He will be true to His promises.

 

 

He sees this love of God as better than life itself.

 

 

Can we truly say that? We believe that the love of Jesus is better than life itself?

 

 

Many of you know I have recently read an abridged version of the Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards. In this Edwards lays forth twelve proofs or evidences of true conversion of a person who has authentically been born again. Listen to what he says about valuing Jesus:  “To have a conviction, so clear and evident and assuring, as to be sufficient to induce them, with boldness, to sell all, confidently and fearlessly to run the venture of the loss of all things, and of enduring the most exquisite and long-continued torments, and to trample the world under foot, and to count all things but dung, for Christ.”

 

 

Are we willing to lose our life to save it for the surpassing greatness of the steadfast love of God?

 

 

David longs for corporate worship so that he can come back to the sanctuary and praise God and bless Him and lift up his hands and worship and sing.

 

 

When you come to this place on Sunday mornings with these people that you call your church family, is your ultimate joy to lift your hands in worship and bask in the love of God for you as a sinner and to find in Jesus your greatest satisfaction?

 

 

There’s something powerful about being in corporate worship where God chooses to show up in power and glory as a way to give us an opportunity to praise Him with our lips and to raise hands in worship to Him.

 

 

So we’ve seen the first two issues with this Psalm. First of all, David has an intense desire for God’s manifest presence, as he is isolated in the wilderness being hunted down by his wicked son. And secondly, he longs to go back to Jerusalem so that he can worship again in the sanctuary among God’s people.

 

 

KILLING SIN…PART TWENTY

He was a 22-year-old college student from Australia who made headlines in 1992 when he survived the Himalayas in Nepal without food for 43 days.  His name is James Scott. How did he survive? He survived on melted snowballs and one caterpillar. He wasn’t dressed properly and had to endure the isolation and hunger of being alone in the freezing mountains. He saw numerous attempts by helicopter to find him, but they never came. Only the scavenging birds circled over him as his body began to deteriorate. He lost 1/3 his body weight.  Just how did he survive? He was young, fit, and used his training in karate to discipline himself.  He was also in his senior year of medical school so he knew about how the body works.

 

 

 

He understood that he would not survive if he started vomiting and had severe cramping. So he would read two pages of a book between each mouthful of a snowball to pace himself so that he would not vomit. He also knew that most body heat was lost through his head so he used spare clothing to cover his head.  Nobody predicted him to survive, but after 43 days his sister found him after a long and involved search process.

 

 

 

He wrote about his endurance and sustained hope in the book “Lost in the Himalayas”.

 

 

 

That’s an amazing story of a human being undergoing extreme weather conditions to survive.

 

 

 

Most of us will never relate to what he went through. How many of us have truly been hungry? Thirsty? How many of us have survived in the desserts of the Middle East under the excruciating heat? Our soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan understand this experience.

 

 

 

King David experienced hunger, thirst, isolation and pain in the wilderness of Judah.

 

 

 

Many years before, David committed adultery with Bathsheeba and murdered Uriah and even though his sins were forgiven, there would be dire consequences.  Nathan, the prophet, told David that the “sword” would never depart from his house. In other words, from this point forward, David would have to see anger, jealousy, and violence tear apart his family. And as he is older, his son Absalom instigates an insurrection and tries to overthrow his father from the throne, so David has to flee into the wilderness and hide out so his son doesn’t kill him.

 

 

 

In 2 Samuel 15, we see Absalom’s conspiracy and how David has to flee Jerusalem and hide out in the wilderness.

 

 

 

Most scholars believe that this is the context for Psalm 63.

 

 

 

At a point of extreme pain and isolation in the hot dessert, David pens this Psalm as a lament to God for help.  David is on the run. He is alone. He is hiding out. He is fearful for his life. His own evil son is unjustly pursuing him. He is also taken away from Jerusalem where the tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant and worship were vital to David’s spiritual growth.  He is alone and he desperately wants to return to Jerusalem so that he can experience the manifest presence of the Lord again.

 

 

 

Read Psalm 63

 

 

 

Here is the overarching theme or big idea from this Psalm: The Lord satisfies those who earnestly seek Him.

 

 

 

From this Psalm, we see FOUR major movements or sections that show this overwhelming desire for God’s presence.

 

 

 

The first issue we see is in verses 1 and it is intense desire for God’s manifest presence.

 

 

 

David begins this Psalm with this intense desire for God’s presence. He earnestly seeks God. This word “earnestly seek” is a good translation of the Hebrew word because in the original language there is intensity to the seeking. It means to diligently or passionately seek God.

 

 

 

We often hear people talking about “seekers” or seeker-sensitive or seeker-driven worship services geared toward making the entire worship experience catered to non-believers who are seeking God.

 

 

 

It’s interesting that when we see people “seeking” God in the Bible, it is almost always used to describe God’s people, not non-believers. As a matter of fact, Romans 3 tells us that no one as a sinner dead in trespasses seeks after God.

 

 

 

The great paradox of being a Christian is that once we are saved, we are not content with just a simple knowledge of God, but we want to seek Him and passionately pursue Christ with all diligence.  When the Bible shows this intense seeking and desiring of God it is almost always use of believers.

 


A. W. Tozer captured this idea of the Christian passionately seeking Jesus when he writes, “
To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.”

 

 

 

Do you see the paradox? We’ve found God. We’ve been saved. We are born again, but that’s not enough. We want to pursue and seek after Jesus. It’s the ultimate goal of our lives to pursue Jesus as our all in all.

 

 

 

We seek for God’s presence.  Now why do I use the word “manifest presence” of God? Isn’t God everywhere present in what theologians call the omnipresence of God? Yes, that is true. God is infinite and He is always present and you can’t run away from God. What David wants is his “real” or “felt” presence. His manifest presence. To have that experiential knowledge deep in our souls that God is there. That God is near. It is that deep sense of joy and contentment and confidence that the Holy Spirit puts in our hearts to confirm God’s presence and love for us.

 

 

 

We thirst as David says. We faint.

 

 

 

David is using imagery that he was probably very familiar with as he was hiding out in the dessert wilderness. He is literally thirsty and hungry and weak and ready to faint physically, but he uses these physical descriptions to articulate spiritual thirst and hunger for the living God.

 

 

 

He is alone, hot, thirsty, tired, and weak and all he wants is God to show up.

 

Psalm 73:25–2625  Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

 

This is spiritual desperation. This is being poor in spirit. This is pouring your heart out to God and wanting nothing but Christ as your portion.

 


It’s very similar to the cry of Paul.

 

Philippians 3:8–10Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

 

Is this your passion? To know Jesus more deeply? To count all as rubbish for Him alone? To earnestly seek and hunger and thirst and faint for Jesus?

 

 

So the first thing we see is an intense desire for God’s manifest presence..

In the next post we will continue to explore this Psalm….

KILLIN SIN…PART NINETEEN

Secondly, the Bible uses the idea or being thirsty to show our desperate need to treasure Christ in gospel repentance.

Psalm 42:1-2   As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.  2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

 Psalm 63:1-5   O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.  3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.  4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.  5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

Isaiah 55:1-3  Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.

This is an invitation from a loving God to those who are desperately thirsty. In the original language when God invites us to “come” it is an expression of love and sadness over our thirst. In the ancient near east at that time water was a scarce commodity and you would have water vendors—modern day Culligan men—who would stand in the street markets and invite people to come and buy water as they were parched in the desert heat. But God in His mercy invites us to come and drink not only water but wine and milk that is FREE!!

This water alone quenches our thirst and leaves us satisfied.

John 7:37-38  On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”

Thirdly, we see this idea of longing or yearning for Christ.

Psalm 77:3  When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints.

This word “moan” really means to grow or roar. What happens when a lion roars? It means he’s hungry.  We often say that our stomach is growling when we’re hungry.

His spirit also faints. He is overwhelmed.

Think about this idea of hungering and longing and being totally overwhelmed by Christ. When we remember and meditate upon Him—that is when we treasure Him and keep our eyes fixed on Him—we realize that we have a deep longing in our souls to be satisfied. We have a longing for true lasting pleasure and everywhere we look in this world to find it will never satisfy.

The only true source of everlasting joy and pleasure is in Christ.

Have you ever growled and moaned and fainted in desperation for Christ?

Psalm 84:2  My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.

 So when we think about gospel repentance it is a two-fold issue. We turn from, hate, kill, abominate, flee, and mortify our sin. We kill sin constantly, but that’s not enough. Killing sin alone is only half of gospel repentance.

We must also turn toward Christ and see Him as supremely glorious. We must treasure Him. We thirst after Him. We taste and see that He is good. We long, faint, and yearn for Him. We seek Him. We find in Him our ultimate satisfaction. We desire Him. We find in Him our greatest pleasure.

Sam Storms in his great book “Pleasures Evermore: The Life-Changing Power of Enjoying God” gives some great phrases in relation to how we can treasure Christ.

Are you: enamored, enthralled, entranced, excited, astounded, absorbed, stunned, consumed, thrilled, pre-occupied, overwhelmed, enthused, mesmerized, monopolized, captivated, fascinated, exhilarated…with JESUS!

KILLING SIN…PART EIGHTEEN

In our battle against sin, not only are we to be killing sin, but we are to be treasuring Jesus.

What I find interesting is that when you trace this truth through the Scriptures, you find the use of metaphors related to our senses.

As we think about gospel repentance in treasuring Christ, let’s explore some of these metaphors.

First of all, the Bible often uses the sense of taste to show us our desperate desire for Jesus.

Psalm 34:8  Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

What does it mean to taste the LORD? This is a very interesting metaphor?

We are to taste and see.

 Let me give you an example the best I know how. Have you ever gone to Cold Stone ice cream or an ice cream shop and you weren’t quite sure what the flavor tasted like and they gave you a sample on this little spoon to try it out. It was a quick little taste.

But if you really liked it you got this huge waffle cone with triple scoops and you devoured the ice cream because you loved its taste.

Think about it with Jesus for a moment. How often are we content with just a little sampling of Christ in our lives. Instead, we need to find our greatest desire in tasting and seeing that He is good. We need to spend time in prayer and worship and reading our Bible and truly tasting the goodness of Christ.

But why?  There are many things you can feast on in this world. You can taste a lot of things in this world and find your pleasure in them. Things that you think will bring you happiness and joy and satisfaction. We are consumers to the core and we are tasting everything this world has to offer except Jesus.

But why is Jesus worthy of our taste?

Peter answer this for us.

1 Peter 2:2-4  2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation-  3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.  4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious.

Notice in verse 4 that Jesus is chosen and precious.

The word precious here is key. Jesus is worthy, He is exalted, He is far above any other thing, and He is to be treasured because He is supremely valuable.

What do we find when we taste and see that the Lord is good? We find in Christ a valuable treasure that satisfies our deepest longing as the precious and chosen Savior that He is.

In my times of spiritual dryness I have been encouraged by one paragraph in an ancient book by John Owen called “Communion with God”. I was reading it at a point in my life when I was dry and frustrated and God used his words to minister to me and I often go back and reread it. It may not mean anything to you, but let me just share this with you.

I’m going to paraphrase it for you because it was written in 1657

“When we see the love of God, we will delight in Him…once the heart is taken up with the height and majesty of God’s love, we cannot choose but to be overpowered, conquered, and endeared to Him…exercise your thoughts upon the eternal, free, and fruitful love of the Father and when you do this, you will find that your heart is wrapped up in delight for Him…Sit down a little at the fountain and you will quickly discover the sweetness of the streams. You who have run from Him, will not be able to keep a distance from Him for a moment.”

In our next post we will continue exploring these metaphors related to our senses…

KILLING SIN…PART SEVENTEEN

The other half of gospel repentance involves treasuring Christ above all.

Why do I use the word “treasure”? It means that you value Him as supreme. You can use other words as well. You find your ultimate satisfaction in Him alone. You desire Him as your all in all. He is your magnificent obsession.

Where do we see this in Scripture?

Matthew 6:9–10Pray then like this “Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.

Why do I start here with the Lord’s prayer?

It’s for a number of reasons. First of all, this is where we get from the very mouth of Jesus how we are to pray. Secondly, this is the first and most important petition in the entire prayer. Thirdly, this shows us what it truly means to treasure the living God.

We are commanded to hallow or to treasure or to glorify or to magnify or to find great joy and pleasure in the name of God.

God who is in heaven as our wonderful Father who has given us His Son Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit desires to be hallowed. He is worthy to be praised above all. Before we ask Him for anything or try to get anything from Him. The first and most important response we have to God is to enjoy Him as God. To find our greatest satisfaction in hallowing or glorifying or magnifying His holy name as our all in all.

Psalm 16:11 – 11You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

In God’s presence there is fullness of joy. Not just a little bit of joy. But fullness of joy. In Hebrew poetry like the Psalms often the hymn writer will give two statements that are parallel and that’s what we find here. The fullness of joy is said in a different way with pleasures evermore.  In God’s presence or from His right hand there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.

The word “pleasure” is a very interesting word. It really means “spiritual delicacies”. Blessings that are so exquisite and wonderful that Christ gives to us in His grace. And they last forever.

So if you want to experience true lasting joy and unending pleasure—where do you find it? In the presence of Christ. By seeking and treasuring and desiring Him above all. Not in the things of this world or by the fleeting pleasures of sin, but in true lasting pleasure. We find our ultimate satisfaction in Christ alone.

Don’t be scared off as Christians by the word “pleasure”—God has created us for pleasure IN HIM!

Is this true for you? Do you find unending pleasure and joy in the presence of Christ and nowhere else?

Hebrews 12:2  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is one of my life verses and you all know that by now. But we must continually be looking to and fixing our eyes and keeping our gaze on Jesus. He is the Finish Line. He is the prize? He is our Treasure and our eyes must be on Him!

Psalm 27:4  4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

What is this one thing that David so longs for? What is his ultimate desire? It’s expressed in three ways. He seeks, he dwells, and he gazes.

The word for seek here is very strong in the Hebrew. He desperately desires something. He is seeking diligently after something. What is David so hungry for?

He also wants to dwell. To stay. To linger. To not rush. To be in God’s presence.

But then we get the clincher. He wants to gaze upon something. He wants to keep his eyes fixed on something. He wants his focus to be laser sharp on one single thing.

What is it? The beauty of the LORD.

He wants to see the glory and beauty and majesty of the Lord. It’s David’s way of saying what the writer of Hebrews was saying about fixing our eyes on Jesus.

Treasuring Christ means gazing upon Him. Looking to Him. Finding in Him our ultimate pleasure and satisfaction.

Paul says it another way.

2 Corinthians 3:18 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

What Paul is saying here is that the more we look at Jesus, the more we look like Jesus. When we behold or look at or take in and are mesmerized by the glory of Christ, the more we are transformed into looking like Him.

The Holy Spirit grants us this wonderful gift in the Christian life—the ability to see Jesus and to marvel at Him and to fix our gaze upon Him and to treasure Him and the more we do that, the more the Holy Spirit does this amazing work of grace in our lives to make us look more like Jesus.

John Owen said this, “One of the greatest privileges and advancements of believers, both in this world and to eternity, consists in their beholding the glory of Christ.”

Sam Storms, “It grieves me to say this but the primary reason people are in bondage to sin is because people are bored with God…That sinful habit you struggle with daily, that low-grade addiction that keeps you in the throes of guilt and shame, that inability to walk with consistency in the things you know please God, ultimately will be overcome when your heart, soul, mind, spirit, and will are captivated by the majesty, mercy, splendor, beauty, and magnificence of who God is and what He has and will do for you in Jesus.”

Listen to the compelling words of Jonathan Edwards from one of his sermons:

Have your eyes ever been opened to see the glorious excellency of Jesus Christ? Has the light of the Word of God ever shined into your hearts so that to see the excellency of that Word that teaches Christ and the way of salvation by him? Has the Word of Christ been sweeter to you than the honey on the honeycomb?

Is the Word of Christ sweet food to your soul that puts new life into you and is better than silver or gold? Do you see your need you have of Christ? The Blessing of God: Unpublished Sermons from Jonathan Edwards

That’s our desire in gospel-repentance. To see the excellencies of Christ. To behold Him in all of His beauty. To be captivated by Christ alone as our ultimate treasure.

In our next post we will continue to see what it means to desire or treasure Jesus…