Scripture Memory Meditation | Psalm 4:7
You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound.
Psalm 4:7 (CSB)
More often than we might expect, the righteous appear to suffer while the wicked appear to prosper. Those who are seeking to orient their lives according to God’s Word often find themselves the subject of poverty and persecution. Other times the just and the unjust experience relatively similar pain and profit. Does this mean that following God is a pointless endeavor? Are physical health and financial flourishing the metrics by which we measure God’s blessing on his people?
A comprehensive Christian theology shows that we live in a broken world. Until the return of Christ, Christians can expect to experience all of the brokenness that goes along with this present life. We understand that our flourishing will always be mitigated by the presence of evil in this world. It is only on the new earth, governed by Christ the King, that we will be free of such influences.
As we wait for that day, we use a different metric to measure God’s blessing on his people—the presence of God as our security and our satisfaction. In this psalm, the author wrestles with the apparent security, satisfaction, and prospering of the wicked while the righteous experience only suffering. But in the end, he recognizes that God instills in his people a joy that can come from him alone. In the psalmist’s day, economic success was represented by a good harvest—when grain and new wine abound. But material possessions and economic success do not provide ultimate satisfaction or joy because they are ultimately gifts. And where the giver of the gift is not recognized, the gift provides only fleeting pleasure.
Where we experience physical flourishing and prosperity in the present world, we must recognize that prosperity as a gift from God, taking more joy and satisfaction in the giver than the gift itself. Because the gift comes from God, we must be thankful for it and, in doing so, find more joy than those who fail to recognize God’s kind hand in granting the gift. Ultimately though, like the psalmist, we must learn to find our security and our joy in God alone—not in our physical health, personal possessions, or financial prosperity. Thus, like the psalmist, we can say that we have more joy than when the wicked have every material possession they could ever desire because we enjoy the abiding presence of the Giver of those gifts.