“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
David was hurt. He had been deeply offended by someone and was bothered so much by it that he couldn’t sleep. Rather than just stewing about angrily, he took all of his angst and cried out to God. And as he cried out to God, He gradually began to gain some perspective on the whole situation. Perspective doesn’t often actually solve a problem, but it does give us peace in the midst of it. For David here near the end of his prayer, he realized that his joy in the Lord was deeper than anything his enemies knew. And when we realize that we have something good our enemies don’t, we usually start to feel better.
Now, it is easy to see how this kind of a realization could become a point of arrogance and pride. “I have something you don’t have!” We do indeed have to watch out for this. But for David—and for us too if we will receive it—this was something noted with a touch of sympathy. This is what perspective can bring. They may have hurt us, but they’re hurt too. And hurt people, hurt people.
And how were they hurt? They lacked a source of real and lasting joy in their lives. They sought joy from an abundance of “grain and new wine.” In other words, they looked for joy in material increase. When we seek joy from our stuff, we will always only ever be partially filled. Such joy is situationally-dependent and leaves us when the situation changes. Joy that comes from the Lord, though, pervades no matter what our external reality may be.
As people, we are all on a search for joy. It is an appetite we all need to have filled. True and lasting joy, however, only comes from one place. If we don’t seek it there, we will only be trying to satisfy ourselves with an inferior product and that’s just never going to do it.
If we are in possession of such joy, it should fill our hearts with pity to see folks who don’t have it. It should fill our hearts with empathy because there was a time when we didn’t have it either. Even if these folks are our enemies who have wounded us deeply, wanting the worst for them only makes us like them and that won’t make us feel any better.
Let us be glad for the joy we have—the joy that lets us rest peacefully even when turmoil seems to be the rule of the day—and let us seek to share this joy with those who don’t know it…even and especially with our enemies. Because then they won’t be our enemies. They’ll become our friends.