“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
What pleasures are found in God? Of course, we say ‘joy’. Rejoice in the Lord!
But the verse above says pleasures, plural. So there must be more than one, or at least more than one form. What forms does it take? Here are my thoughts…
1. Gratitude – One pleasure is gratitude to God for what he has done, is doing, and will do. Anyone who has been grateful to someone knows that this is certainly a pleasure!
2. Awe – marvelling at how amazing God is in His glory, also at God’s glory as expressed in relationship to us (His grace to us, His strength in us, His love for us). The pleasure of seeing a breathtaking sunset is similar, but a tiny reflection of the real thing.
3. Gladness – I think this is usually what is meant when the Bible tells us to rejoice. Whenever we enjoy thinking about something, when we feel good about an experience, a fond memory, a piece of news, we are glad. Our hearts are filled with gladness, a sense of “this is good, this is right, I am happy”, as we reflect on what God has done, is doing, and will do for us; and on our relationship with him.
4. Love – Nat King Cole sang, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return.” We are filled with love for God.
There may be other pleasures. For example, being comforted is surely a great pleasure for someone in distress. But I think these 4 are the most powerful, most significant pleasures of knowing God.
And these pleasures lead to:
1. Satisfaction – a deep contentment, because you have God you need nothing else. (Is this a pleasure in its own right, or a result of the other pleasures?)
2. Praise – the ultimate expression and consummation of pleasure:
“ I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise… The world rings with praise – lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game – praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians of scholars. …
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.” (C.S. Lewis)