You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11
Fullness of Joy – Today is my birthday. Maybe I should take the day off. But then I wouldn’t get the joy of learning one more deep thing about God’s Word with all of you. My fullness of joy would be shortened. So, enjoy my birthday gift with me and we’ll take a look at shova semakhot. Literally, the words mean “abundance of joys.” The phrase is followed by the Hebrew place holder, et, telling me that fullness of joys is the face of God. This is the gift that I need today. All of my greatest joys are found when I am before His face.
When I think about the past years, I realize what was really missing was joy. If I had only experienced the fullness of His presence more often, my life would undoubtedly have taken a very different direction. I don’t mean it would have been more prosperous. That is not a measure of joy. I mean it would have avoided a great deal of trauma, stress, anxiety and disappointment. I would have been far more obedient and consequently, avoided a lot of chastisement. I would not have wasted or despoiled so much of His good gifts. Yes, more than anything else, joy was what I needed.
The tragedy is that joy was always available. I just didn’t avail myself of this great gift. Why? Because I valued doing things my own way. Oh, I had plenty of the right Christian vocabulary. After all, I have a D. Phil. in theology. But what you say doesn’t matter. It’s what you do that counts, and too often what I did was follow my inner voice of personal desire and leverage. Not living by the path that He teaches led me away from what I desperately sought. I had everything a man could want in this world – and no joy in having it. I was a perfect example of Yeshua’s comment about gaining the whole world and losing your soul.
Fortunately, God didn’t give up on me. He very rarely does. Today, I am discovering joy. Much of the trappings of success that led me astray are gone. It is a great relief. “Can’t buy me love,” is a tune that tells the real story. Can’t buy me joy either. And joy is a treasure highly valued.
I’m glad that the Hebrew text puts “joy” in the plural form. God gives lots of little joys, doesn’t He? We don’t have to store it all up for one big joy at the end. He provides fullness all along the way. I see His butterflies and find joy in His flying works of art. I read His word and find joy in its intricate construction. I hold Rosanne’s hand and discover joy in my belonging to my ‘ezer. My world is populated with joys – including each of you. So, thanks for this birthday present. It’s shova semakhot. Gee, it sounds a lot like Yeshua’s comment, doesn’t it? “My joy made full in themselves” (John 17:13).
Today is one of God’s gifts of joy. Share it with me.
Today’s Word: fullness, joy, shova semakhot, Psalm 16:11