This is from Psalm 16, verse 11: ” in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore”: one of many references in the bible to the joys of heaven.
The christian life is not an easy life. We live our lives in an alien environment. We are in a war which has many battles. The world is hostile to christianity, especially to christians who believe that the bible is the word of God, and the rule for life and teaching. We believe in applying the whole of the bible to the whole of life. Thankfully, this hostility is greatly compensated for us by many consolations; chiefly the assurance of heaven after death.
What a great blessing it is that we are given information about what is in heaven now, and that we are not kept in suspense till we get there to find out what awaits us. While this information is not exhaustive, the christian must make use of the information given in order to increase his present joy, and help him on his earthly pilgrimage. It is essential for the christian to spend some time in bible-based meditation, especially on the subject of heaven, not just as it will be for us when we get there, but as things are there now. So what is there? There is the ambience, or ‘atmosphere’ of heaven. It is a place where there is fullness of joy. In our thoughts, we struggle with the phrase, ‘fullness of joy’: it speaks of perfection of joy, and the absence of even the slightest speck of disturbance. This is really difficult for us to grasp, because the joys of this life are largely fleeting joys, and are often mixed with sorrows and heartbreaks. This is the norm of our present existence.
However, the christian can find great blessing in stretching his spiritual imagination regarding heaven with the help of scripture. In this, he is given special help: this fullness of joy is related to a Presence, without whom there would be no joy there. “In thy presence is fullness of Joy”. That Presence is, of course, the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God. In His presence there is always fullness of joy. Moreover, for us, one of these three persons is like us. God the Son is now the God/man, who took our human nature into union with His Person in the womb of the virgin Mary. This union is permanent, and will never be reversed. He will be visible to our human eyes, and He Himself looks forward to the time when He will have all His saved people with Him. “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory” (John 17:24). That will be fullness of joy indeed.
Our warfare in this world will continue till the end; that is the lot appointed to all who are RightWithGod through faith in Jesus Christ. However, we can exercise our faith while we battle on, to taste a little of the joy of heaven here and now. We can do so by meditating on the truths of the word of God, regarding the heavenly environment. In this, our hearts are lifted up with a little of the joy of that wonderful place. This is not fantasizing, but a legitimate exercise of faith based on biblical truths. It is one of the many ways in which God makes our time in this world not only survivable but often extremely pleasant.
God-willing we will look at the second part of this blessed text next week.