Tuesday, April 17, 2012
LIFE BEYOND ALL LIMITS
“Lord, You are my portion and my cup [of blessing]; You hold my future. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6 HCSB)
God means for us to have limitless life. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b). Eternal life is more than an endless quantity of time; it is a boundless quality of life. A life beyond all limits is one that has been touched by a limitless God. In Christ, the infinite became incarnate, so that the eternal might become internal.
Who is this limitless God? David used three different names for Him: “God” (v.1) is “El” in the Hebrew. We know Him as Creator. He is life—God our Maker. “Yahweh” is the name given in verse 2a. We know Him as Covenanter. He is love—God our Mediator. “Lord” (2b) is “Adonai.” We know Him as Commander. He is Lord—God our Master. This is how David knew God, and in that relationship he discovered limitless life!
It wasn’t just a doctrine the psalmist had embraced—as important as that is—but, a delight he had experienced. Imagine how he felt—a shepherd that God had made a sovereign! He had exchanged a staff for a scepter. God had brought David out of a wilderness cave and into the throne room! He rejoices at the thought and bursts into song. There are three stanzas.
He sings of the ABUNDANT PROTECTION FOR GOD’S PEOPLE (v.1-4). David often found himself in peril, yet, he always knew God’s protection. This world is a dangerous place and we live in perilous times. Don’t forget, David’s God is our God. He is no respecter of persons. If the Lord will do this for David, He will do that for us.
In God we find REAL SECURITY, “Protect me, God, for I take refuge in You.” (v.1) Our security isn’t grounded in the ability of our might or the dependability of other men. Our faith is in God alone. When we put our trust in God, that trust is well-founded. As Bible teacher, John Phillips says, “No fear can haunt us and no foe can daunt us.”
In God we have RIGHTEOUS STANDING, “I said to Yahweh, ‘You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides You.’ As for the holy people who are in the land, they are the noble ones. All my delight is in them.” (v.2-3) God alone is good and is the only source of goodness. Compared to His moral perfection, all our righteousness is as filthy rags. That is why we must have the righteousness which is by faith—the very righteousness of Christ Himself. God transforms sinners into saints, from those who would be the objects of Divine displeasure to those who are objects of Divine delight! All God does, he does with excellence. He makes the universe and all that is in it and pronounces, “Good!” and of man, “Very good!” and with the new creation, “Excellent!” Of the Son, He decreed, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!” Now, being in Christ and having Christ in us, God views us likewise. John says, “As He is, so are we in this world.” David found exceeding delight in spending time with the saints. There is a richness of fellowship among the godly that builds us up. As iron sharpens iron, so these “noble ones” stimulate us toward noble ways.
In God we find REJECTED SORROW, “The sorrows of those who take another [god] for themselves will multiply; I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, and I will not speak their names with my lips.” (v.4) There is no hope, then, for those who reject the One True God. The multiplying of sorrows caused by sin begins now, and exponentially increases, ending in eternal sorrow, in a place where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. We must reject anything that smacks of idolatry. In refusing a false God, and receiving the true God, we reject sorrow. There are tears that are unavoidable in this life, but there are those which we might not have known had we made the right choice. Best of all, in choosing Jesus, we are going to a place where God will wipe away every tear from our eyes!
Life beyond all limits means ABUNDANT PROTECTION FOR GOD’S PEOPLE, and also ABUNDANT PORTIONS FOR GOD’S PEOPLE (v.5-6). God is all we need. In Him, we have all we need…and then some!
We are given THE PLEASURE OF FELLOWSHIP, “Lord, You are my portion and my cup [of blessing]; You hold my future.” (v.5) God doesn’t just give us an inheritance in eternity—though that would be wonderful indeed—He gives us Himself! The Eternal One is our inheritance. God is our portion and our cup overflows! King George VI, of England, visited Canada, where he met the Indian Chief Whitefeather. The chief was asked to sing something for his Majesty. King George expected a war song, but Whitefeather began to sing, “I’d rather have Jesus, than silver or gold; I’d rather have Jesus, than riches untold; I’d rather have Jesus, than houses or land; I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand…” and when he concluded the song, King George told him, “I’d rather have Jesus too!”
We are blessed with THE PROMISE OF FAITH, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (v.6) The Jews looked at the Holy Land as the blessing of God and its possession as the fulfillment of the covenant promise. It was a land flowing with milk and honey, and pictures abundant life in Christ. You can put your faith in God’s promises. God who was faithful to honor the Old Covenant with the Jews will be faithful to keep the New Covenant with you!
Limitless life means ABUNDANT PROTECTION, ABUNDANT PORTIONS and ABUNDANT PRESERVATION FOR GOD’S PEOPLE (v.7-11). Some of these verses were quoted by Peter in his preaching at Pentecost. He applied them to Jesus Christ—specifically the resurrection, “For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay. (v.10, cf. Acts 2:25-28).
There is DIRECTION, “I will praise the Lord who counsels me--even at night my conscience instructs me.” (v.7). He directs us in the paths of righteousness by day and implants His word in our hearts as we meditate by night. We are never left to wonder and wander. Our world is in such a state of confusion. The old landmarks have been discarded. People turn to the occult for guidance (remember the folly of Saul, 1 Sam.28). God gives us His Word to clearly light our path.
There is DELIVERANCE, “I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (v.8). When our focus is on God, we shall not stumble. He stands beside us to strengthen us. He is our deliverer.
There is DELIGHT, “Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely.” (v.9) In this relationship with Him, there is a gladness and glory that overflows! God’s people are to be a people of happiness and hopefulness; who express rejoicing and experience rest. Everything we have named so far is the abundant life God has for us now. But there is even more to come! This is just a foretaste of what is waiting! Doesn’t it make you salivate?
This is our DESTINY, “For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay. You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.” (v.10-11) The grave is not the end. Death is vanquished; the resurrection is assured! This verse finds its ultimate fulfillment in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because He lives, we shall live also. We must be shown the right path or we will stumble in the darkness. It takes the initiative of God through the revelation of Scripture and illumination of the Spirit. We are to be those bearing that message and shining that light. It is knowing God and being in communion with Him—the fullness of His glory—that brings fullness of joy. This is the ultimate satisfaction—pleasures (plural) that are not passing, but permanent!
This is the limitless life we can have in Christ. Have you settled for less?