Looking for a Heart’s Desire

May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May Yahweh (the LORD) fulfill all your petitions! (Psalm 20:4-5, ESV)

I think many of us have heard or said to another the word’s, “Remember, God wants to give you your heart’s desires!” However, for many of us who have heard that saying, the reality is, our desires are not given to us. Psalm 20 gives us a key to understanding why this is the case. Psalm 20 is a cry for the king to be blessed by Yahweh. And one of the cries of the people is that the king’s desires and plans would be fulfilled. This is where we realise our cries for our hearts desires to be met are so often wrong. We ask for the desires of our own hearts to be fulfilled. Yet what do the people ask for? They ask for the king’s desires.

This is the key, we need to be asking for the desires and plans for our king to be granted. And who is our king but the Lord Jesus Christ! If this was what controlled our requests, then our desires and requests will be answered. How can I emphatically say will? Because all of Yahweh’s plans are fulfilled in Christ, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Even when we turn to the ‘get your desires’ passage, Psalm 37:4, “he will give you the desires of your heart.” We find this truth is the same, consider what comes just before it, “Delight yourself in Yahweh” (Psalm 37:4). The point of the verse is that, if one finds his delight in Yahweh, then Yahweh will give him the desires of his heart. How can that be true? Because when one delights in Yahweh then he will find his desires begin to be conformed to the desires of God. Therefore, you will indeed gain your heart’s desire, because your heart’s desire will be for God. No one can say they find their delight in God while their desires are for earthly sinful pursuits.

Do you want to gain the desires of your hearts? Then you must come to the Lord Jesus Christ and find your desires in him, let Jesus be your desire, and when you do this, you will see wonderful things!

The Heavens Declares the Works of God

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge. (Psalm 19:1-2, ESV)

There are times in our life when we need to be reminded that all things declare the glory of God. When you are surrounded by hard times, you need to look no further than to the creation of God to see the glory of God. Sometimes life is hard, well actually, more often than not life is hard. What we so desperately need is to fix our eyes on the God who created all things. For when we see his glory and how stupendous he is, we can relax and know that the one who created all these things is the same one who is looking over us and sorting all things in accordance with his will.

The question for us is are we looking to his glory or ours?

Filled with Worship

Video

The title doesn’t make sense because I completely forgot to mention in the sermon that Paul is effectively “eulogising” about God. Eulogy is derived from a Greek word to bless.

The video also includes the children’s talk from the service as well.

Satisfied by your likeness

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. (Psalm 17:15, ESV)

This is a prayer of David. He cries out to his LORD for his enemies are many. David says that they have surrounded him, that they close their mouth to pity, they are like lions eager to eat him. Yet even with all of this, his heart cry is that when he awakes he will be satisfied with God’s likeness. Worth noting that David is not saying he will be satisfied by being like God, but rather he will be satisfied by seeking God’s likeness, image, representation, or form. In other words, no matter what is going on in David’s life right now, there is one thing, one thing that he longs for, it is for the face of God.

I remember hearing a story by Ray Cortese who said that he knew of a man whose wife died. The man had a small son, and for weeks after the death of this small boy’s mother, he would sleep in his father’s bed. Throughout the night as the father was sleeping he would roll over away from his son. His son because of the trauma would wake up, he would look to his father and only see his back. This small boy would proceed to wake his father up and say to him, “your face Dad, I need to see your face”.

I wonder how many of us live in this reality? How many of us need one thing, one thing more than anything else, the Lord’s face, the Lord’s presence near to us, for our joy and satisfaction. If we only have that one thing, we can live through all circumstances, we can live through anything if we only have the Lord’s face. This was David’s reality, he faced a tremendous amount of trauma, and yet he would be satisfied if he had one simple thing, the likeness of God when he awoke in the morning. This was real for David and he did not have the incarnation to look at, how much more, should we, who live after the incarnation, look for our satisfaction in the likeness of God? We can look and see Jesus in the gospels and all throughout his words and be deeply satisfied.

Your face, Lord, I need to see your face…

To be Satisfied in God

1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16, ESV, emphasis mine)

One thing that has been impressed upon my mind as of late is the importance of finding our satisfaction in God. When we consider the story of redemption, one gigantic theme that runs throughout is the removal and restoration of our satisfaction in God. When Adam and Eve were created they were created with the express purpose of glorifying God. There are two aspects of glorifying God; worship (external glorifying of God) and satisfaction (internal glorifying of God). To worship is to express our praise towards God. To be satisfied is for God to be our greatest delight.

This is a beautiful self-feeding cycle. You find your delight in God because of what he does, so you express praise towards God because of the joy that is overflowing from within you. As you express praise towards God you find that you delight in him more, which causes you to worship him more, which in turn causes you to delight more. As I have been pondering this over the last few months I have begun to gain a ‘delight’ and ‘satisfaction’ radar in the Scriptures. What I am noticing is that over and over again, the Word of God talks about men and women finding their deep satisfaction in God. Psalm 16 is a classic example of this.

The Psalm is entitled by the editors of the ESV, “You Will Not Abandon My Soul”. Granted, there is a reference to this in verse 10. But do yourself a favour, go back to the Psalm above and re-read it. Look at those sections I have added emphasis to. I am serious, stop reading and go up and do it. Now consider, David (the author) says ten times, in one way or another, that his chief joy and satisfaction is found in the LORD. This Psalm is not about his soul not being abandoned – though this is undoubtedly true – it is about his soul finding pleasure in the LORD.

Too often we forget that the chief purpose of our redemption completed in Christ is not to get us into Heaven. Rather, it is to restore broken men and women into their place as worshippers of God. Let us apply our hearts with renewed vigour to finding our satisfaction, joy and contentment in the LORD, and to worship him out of what he has done for us.

Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill?

O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill? (Psalm 15:1, ESV)

In Psalm 15:1, David effectively asks the question, “Who can dwell in the presence of God?” He then provides us with the answer, ‘He who walks blamelessly and does what is right…’ (vs. 2) For the rest of this Psalm David then proceeds to explain what the person looks like who can enter the presence of God. To summarise his description only one word is needed, perfection.

The only person who may enter the presence of God is a perfect person. This leaves us with a problem. How can we enter the presence of God since we are so full of sin? The answer is called the imputed righteousness of Christ. When God places our sin upon Jesus he also places Jesus’ righteousness upon us. What does this mean? It means positionally (the way God sees us) that we are perfect. It means we can enter into the presence of God as blameless and righteous. Because we enter not with any righteousness of our own, nor any perfection obtained by us, but purely by Christ’s righteousness. This means that to whatever degree of righteousness or perfection you think have earned, to that degree, you cannot enter the presence of God.