Joy & Pleasure in God (Psalm 16:11)

I’m back to writing after being in Louisville for a week and a half and then coming home to catch the stomach flu. With that said, God has graciously allowed me to stay completely caught up on the reading. This entry is from yesterday’s reading.

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.


Many people think of Christianity, of following God, as a duty. It may not be something they think they want to do, but they look at following God as the only means whereby they can have what they want. So, they go to church or read the Bible in much the same way that a child takes bad-tasting medicine.

Genuine Christianity, however, is not like a bitter pill that must be swallowed. Instead, genuine Christianity is the greatest of all joys. And notice, from the passage above, that the joy that comes from following God has always been a part of being the people of God. Whether from the Old Testament or the New, being a follower of God is a joyful thing.

The parts of this verse that truly grab my attention are the last two lines. In God’s presence is fullness of joy. Complete, full, utterly satisfying joy is something that can only be found in the presence of God. In god’s right hand are pleasures forevermore. The true source of genuine pleasure is our God. Following such a God is not a burden. He is the source of all pleasure and joy. To follow him is, by his grace, to follow after the one who gives the greatest and highest joys.

Today, you might want to put your own faith in God to a simple test. Do you see God as joyfully as the psalmist? Do you understand that in God’s presence is fullness of joy? Do you sense that in God’s right hand are eternal pleasures? Do you look at following God as your joy or as some sort of unpleasant but necessary duty? Genuine faith in God, truly knowing him, is bound up in having a real picture of him. Such a picture of God must include a picture of our God as the giver of all good things and the source of all true and lasting pleasure. To seek God is to seek the greatest joy one could ever seek. To be in God’s presence is to have fullness of joy. To be used by God is to have eternal pleasure.

Today, ask if you find your joy in serving and being near your God. If you do not find joy in God’s presence and pleasure in his service, I would ask you if you truly know him. If God truly is such a source of great joy, it would make little sense to me that someone would know him without also finding delight in him. Therefore, if someone claims to know God, but has no delight in being in his presence or in his service, I fear that they have missed truly getting to know God. This is serious business to be sure. God wants you to know him. Knowing him is to know fullness of joy and eternal pleasure. So, as John Piper might call us, we must be about the duty of delighting in God.

Lord, I thank you that you reveal to us that in your presence is fullness of joy and in your right hand are pleasures forevermore. I deeply desire to know you more. I deeply desire the fullness of joy that is in your presence. I deeply desire the pleasures of being in your hand, used by you, and honoring you. I pray that this day, I will experience the fullest of joys by being in your presence. I pray that I will experience the highest of pleasures by being used by you for your glory. I recognize that following you is no drudgery. Following you is no bitter pill to be swallowed, but it is the greatest of joys. I pray that you will make yourself known to me more and more, and in doing so, I pray that you will make my joy complete in you.