♣ Abundance in the Wilderness

filled with gladness

“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” – Psalm 4:7

THE GENERAL MENTALITY of society believes that to abound in wealth is the key to joy, happiness and satisfaction in life. As Christians we know that such a perspective runs contrary to the Scriptures, yet while there are many who profess faith in Christ and decry such an outlook, the true heart of one’s attitude is put to the test when hard times hit – especially long durations of financial setbacks; there you find out whether or not you are loyal to the Word of God. It is easy to be blasé in the high times, but a prolonged spiritual turbulence will quickly reveal where our treasure truly lies.

It is somewhat irritating to hear theological-parrots regurgitate great doctrines without having encountered God in the midst of trials where those truths become a reality in one’s life, but to listen to one tried child of God, who having gone through the mill, is worth all the time of day; there you hear of jewels branded in the fire – fire that promotes true growth in faith and grace. Such souls are where you find depth, maturity, sincerity and integrity. Spiritual maturity is not about length of years or how old one may be in the faith. The likes of David Brainerd and Robert Murray M’Cheyne alone prove that; to read of their short-lived lives and what manner and abundance of fruit was produced is enough to embarrass any Christian of the 21st century – and if that’s being judgemental, then muse over their biographies – prayerfully – and see how shamefully we have become like the world in all its narcissistic political correctness.

No, the Christian who pursues God, by first having been pursued and won by Him, finds their source of joy, fulfilment and happiness in the Triune God. Their nature has been so altered that they can no longer slake their thirst at the world’s well; they cannot feel at home in this world. Once having seen and tasted of the Lord’s goodness nothing is worthy to be compared. Granted that God has given us many things to enjoy in this world, but the heart is not set on them; joy, peace, rest and contentment is found in and through Christ alone.

Those who pursue God are not promised that wealth shall follow them. More often than not, those who trust in God for everything are the ones that know Him in the extremities. How many wrongly interpret David’s most well-loved psalm, where he declared, “I shall not want.” You can count on it, that if the Shepherd has made you His own, you will know times where you think the bottom of your world has fallen out; you will know adversity where you think that even God has abandoned you, but that is fallen human perception. Such times are preparation where God ensures that only in Him do we find refuge; only to Him do we run and only Him do we may make our life-long pursuit. Everything else falls secondary to that no matter how noble and honouring.

Despite the pinch of suffering the opposite of financial wealth, where one is free to do whatever they want, go wherever they want and more or less buy whatever they want – the Christian, whose God is their Rock, even in their ‘lack’ shall know a richness that the world never tastes in all their extravagant living. The Christian shall know God’s abundance in the wilderness. The man or woman of the world is never satisfied – never! They are always craving for the next hit; their search is endless and when having reached the pinnacle of their highest dreams, they are sorrily disillusioned. For the Christian, the very antonym is true, for either the Son of God is a liar or He is the Truth when He said – and still says – “…whoever drinks of this water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (John 4:14). That is not to say that Christians never thirst for God or for more of Him, or that they don’t hunger and thirst after righteousness. A lot of thirsting is the result of wandering from God, but for the one who wants more of God is promised to be filled and satisfied. Tozer said, “We have as much of God as we actually want” God never has – nor ever will – fail to fulfil His promises. He is the God Who abundantly, above and beyond, gives more than we can ever imagine or ask for.

John Gill said “…for, nothing so rejoices the hearts of God’s people as the light of his countenance, or the enjoyment of his gracious presence…” There is no higher aspiration or unspeakable satisfaction than for man or woman to know the smile of God upon them; it is the deepest aching abyss of the human heart – to be at one with our Maker and to be loved by Him – “…Your steadfast love is better than life…” (Psalm 63:3). It is what makes the bitter sweet and where in the midst of pain we “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” It is a gladness the world does not know and a joy no earthly achievement can ever compete with or match.

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Posted on August 5, 2013, in ♣ Devotional and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Good article Brother. I’ve missed you the last few days, glad to see you are back. I pray that all is well with you and your loved ones.

    It’s amazing how often and how many people we run into on a day to day basis that are happy ,or appear to be happy and yet they are void of any spiritual life.They go through life never experiencing true joy. For most people, they suppose, happiness and joy, are the same thing. Especially those that are not of the elect. As a babe in Christ I had the two confused also, but soon learned by experience the tremendous difference between the two. As a result of my not abiding in Christ Jesus and in His Word, I lost that blessed joy that was truly unspeakable. As I was brought lower than the dust of the ground I sought God’s face for hours on end, I was crushed. I never doubted my salvation through it all. I began to prayerfully search throughout His Word for answers as to why I had suffered such a loss, as I did the Sweet Holy Spirit began to shine so much light on my life and sinfulness, even to this day, I’m without words to describe it all. Needless to say, the result was my turning to God in a much deeper way and a much deeper trust than I had ever dreamed possible. Since that time so long ago I have been through countless experiences in my walk with Him and can, with great joy, shout ! OUR GOD IS FAITHFUL ! HE IS JUST ! HE IS GOD ! HE IS OUR ALL IN ALL !

    Happiness is a result of the external, it comes from without.
    Joy is a result of the eternal, it burst forth from within.

    In the physical realm I have seen a good but very simple illustration that has often helped children to understand how it is that so much of what is wrong in our lives is fully exposed in God’s Glorious Light. I have set with them and gazed upon the early morning sun light brightly shinning through a window, and as we watched, the tiniest specks of dust and dirt that fills the air becomes clearly visible. I shared with them that all the dust and dirt in our lives becomes visible to us in God’s Glorious Light, and the Word of God calls it sin and it separates us from Him. I would then take them for a prayerful walk through the scriptures.

    God is great my friend !

    GOD BLESS YOU & YOUR HOUSE BROTHER MARK
    Dale

    • Hi Dale,

      I have hardly been on the computer much at all this week; been tied up with yard work and art work, so only now getting chance to reply to mail. Always good to hear from you, Brother and also good to put a face to the name (great profile pic).

      Amen, brother – our God is faithful, He is good and He is our all in all. I couldn’t number the times I should have left the faith but for God’s grace. I’m about to post something that moved me some minutes ago, but wanted to reply to you first. Grace will be our eternal anthem, for only by grace are we going to reach the shores of glory. Yes, we are to persevere, we are to fight on – but all of our resolves are purely because His grace works powerfully in us. Lloyd-Jones said, “The most powerful thing next to God is sin.” Profound, but more amazingly, God’s grace reigns in us. I love our Shepherd, Dale. My prayer is that I love Him more – not just in feeling per se, but in obedience and greater sensitivity to His ways.

      Joy and pain; they often go together in this life. I have known it a number of times. The world can NEVER manufacture such joy. It is a joy that bursts forth and nothing can block that (but our disobedience). In our losses (an embarrassment to the world) is our gain (an enigma to the world); in our lack is where God meets us and fills us. It is not so much what He gives but in how He gives that amazes me. To the world’s standards I am a fool, but I see through the world’s standards which are empty shells. God give me the true substance – Himself:

      “My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
      Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
      ’Tis His to lead me there—not mine, but His—
      At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.”
      – (Frederick Brook)

      God Bless you, Dale and your loved ones. Continuing in prayer.
      Your Brother and friend in Christ,
      Mark.

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