God my Exceeding Joy

hope.jpg“…I will go to the alter of God, to God my exceeding joy.” Psalm 43:4

David is not in a joyful place when he says this. David says that God is his exceeding joy with his mind, but he doesn’t feel it in his heart. David is actually in great turmoil inside his soul. The very next verse says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God…”

In the previous verses we learn that this turmoil is due to “the oppression of the enemy.” People wanted to kill David. How would you feel if you knew someone was on the prowl desiring to kill you. There’s a reason to thank God for today if you were looking for one: no one is out to kill you. If someone was though, how would you feel? I would be in great turmoil I’m sure, and David was, but he still says, “God my exceeding joy.”

So what is the point in this short devotional reading? This: Always believe with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength that God is your exceeding joy even when all your soul’s experience is currently turmoil. This is what we see David doing, but we must know why that is important if we should care to do this.

Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist who was a holocaust survivor said, “life only has meaning if you have a hope that neither suffering nor death can take away.” That’s what David had, David had God. And in reality God is all we have that neither suffering nor death can take away. Think about it, you could lose your job, your house, your car, your ability to walk, your ability to see, etc. Would you be in despair if you lost any or all of these things? Is your hope on ground that can be removed? In other words, fill in the blank, I would go into despair if I lost _______. There’s only one answer that will never fail you. God. Everything and everyone else will fail. Even the things you do for God will fail you. Martyn Lloyd Jones was asked on his deathbed, “You were a great preacher, aren’t you sad you’ll never be able to preach again?” He responded, “I’m not sad, I never lived for preaching, I lived for God.”

Many Christians would say their hope is in God. It’s a simple Christian answer: “Yes, my hope is in God.” But hope is not just based on the minds knowledge, it’s also based on the hearts function. Is God truly and functionally the hope of your heart as well?

If God is functioning as the hope of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then your joy may be functionally hurting now, but it will return eventually, because you’re standing on the one that neither suffering nor death can take away from you. Don’t get off that ground. Don’t look elsewhere for your ultimate joy. Your heart’s experience will eventually kick back into gear as your mind’s hope is set on the living God. That’s what David is believing will happen in the last verse:

“Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

Don’t give up friend, hope in God today with all your mind and with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. The experience of that will be restored soon.

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