Provocative Devotion: Psalm 16

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.[d]
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being[e] rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.[f]

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 16:7-11

Religious people don’t understand this Psalm. By religious people I mean any of us who deep down think that we need behave in a certain way in order to please God and that if we don’t then God will be angry with us. I hear it all the time, people have something go badly in life and they ask, “what did I do to deserve this from God?” Ot the opposite, “I have done everything right, why are things going better for me God?”

Both of those sentiments are born in religiosity, the view that God is a great accountant in the sky adding up the columns of our good and bad deeds and we hope we have more good than bad, or that God grades on a curve. Religious people live under the cloud of uncertainty, have I done enough, am I good enough, am I going to be allowed into heaven? They know nothing of the delight and joy of having God as a heavenly Father who loves them unconditionally. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross becomes just an example for what we should do rather than the most loving sacrifice ever made on our behalf. the cross becomes a metaphor rather than the power of salvation. The resurrection becomes an illustration of starting over rather than the assurance of our future hope and resurrection.

Religion knows no joy. It finds no pleasure at God’s right hand. The Gospel and grace and salvation and being loved by Jesus Christ to the point of the Cross, to knows those things is fullness of joy and pleasures forever more.

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