My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. (Psalm 63:8, KJV)
Today I started a new book study (The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer) and this verse was the start of chapter 1. What a way to start. The reason I chose this verse was because of what I needed to hear, to follow hard after God. These past few days and weeks there has been a theme that keeps coming up: Enjoying and delighting in God and His Word.
It is interesting when we hear something like, enjoying God’s Word more, and we like the thought but it is hard to apply. Or we don’t even know how to apply. This has been a theme for me in a couple of devotionals, a book and now another book. I felt it even came up in a sermon. So finally, it hit me, only after being hit over the head for the 100th time, that I don’t only need to pray to enjoy God and His Word more, but I need to constantly pray that. I need constant reminders to not just read the Word of God, not just go before Him in prayer, but to truly enjoy Him. To truly behold and enjoy His insights. To seek Him that I may find Him and not just mark off a box. It is funny as I write that, I am reminded of a verse that I have committed to memorize, Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”.
When we seek God, truly seek God, isn’t our prayer time so much sweeter and better. Isn’t it so much more of a joy when we don’t come to him to make ourselves feel better but to learn and grow from Him? In the book Desiring God by John Piper, he quotes from George Mueller about Scripture. Here is what Mueller said:
I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished…. I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it.
I have started to try to apply this in my morning devotionals. As I go from my mundane prayers marked with motions and not of value until the last few minutes when I am late and need to get done, I am doing my best to focus on feeding this inner man. Realizing that I can’t do this day on my own. I can’t drive to work, I can’t accomplish my responsibilities, and I can’t even breathe without God. I am completely dependent on Him for everything, yet all too often I live a life of independence. I don’t follow hard after God. The NIV of this verse says “I cling to you; your right hand upholds me”. That is definitely what I need to do, every hour and every moment of the day. I need and desire to cling to God, to cling to the cross and remember what God has done, to cling to my Savior who because of Him I can be a child of God. I cling to God and follow and seek Him because He is what my soul needs. It is what my soul desires. It is the only thing that will satisfy.
I recently read a devotional in the YouVersion app from “15 days in the Word with John Piper”. On one of the days he talked about struggling reading the Bible and why we should do it even when it feels like a duty. He also mentions this in the revised editions of his Desiring God book in the last chapter, but the main thing that hit me was to confess to God that I don’t always enjoy His Word like I should. I have broadened this to my prayer life as well mainly because as much as I pray throughout the day, somehow I make talking to the amazing, awe-inspiring Almighty a box to check off to make myself feel better. Then, the next step was to asking God to help me enjoy Him, enjoy and delight in His insights that He gives and behold the awe of God. So, I have started that and today God answered in awesome ways.
In different parts of the Old Testament, there are several verses that talk about the right hand of God upholding us. Isaiah 41 mentions this and how it strengthens and upholds us. There are several Psalms that make mention to this. I have wondered about the right hand of God and even going as far to think of God holding my hand with His but then I would start thinking about how Jesus was at His right hand and it would throw me off. Today it hit me and there was such joy in an awesome insight that I completely forgot about. An insight I never thought of. While this isn’t new to many, it was of great delight to me.
The reason I am upheld by the right hand of God is simply Jesus Christ who is at the right hand. I am in Christ. When the Father looks at me, He sees Jesus. He sees His only Son. I am upheld because “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, italics mine). I can enter the throne room and be near God because of the eternally great and awesome sacrifice of Jesus. I am declared righteous because Jesus took the full brunt of the wrath of God. How awesome is that!!! I am new. God is making me and all things new!
Here is the thing with this verse. I think it is a great reminder about not being satisfied in things of this world. It reminds how we should seek after God. I think it is reminding us that the only thing that satisfies is not found in this world and what it treasures. The money, the fame, the popularity, the power, the security, the relationships will all fail us and leave us empty. We will keep building broken cisterns. But if we seek after God, He will uphold us. He will strengthen us. He will show us the beauty of a relationship with Him. A relationship we will never be able to fully grasp because of the infiniteness of God.
But here is what I want to focus on: seek God with all your heart and follow Him. Enjoy and delight yourself in God. Enjoy His teachings. Let Him teach you and show you new things. It may not happen immediately. Maybe it will. But the thing is if we have the right attitude and pursue our Lord, what an awesome promise He makes in upholding and strengthening us. During all periods of life, He is there and will be there. Ask God to help you. Ask Him to enjoy His Word, prayer and restore the joy of your salvation. He will help you and lead you. He won’t let you down. He won’t disappoint. Instead, He will encourage and open new things to you. Your “inner man” will be fed and nourished in new ways or in ways of delighting in Him again. I am on this journey with you and need so much help to enjoy God each day. I let stresses and other things distract me. But, when those light bulb moments come, my soul rejoices and leaps in joy. God has so much to offer, it is a joy to know more about Him.