Let me ask you this question, what sets apart someone who is in favor with God and on the way to enjoy the blessings of heaven and someone who is turning away from God and on the path of destruction? The answer is, what makes you happy. I mean deep down, what you really want to satisfy your heart desire.
The last entry was about the Greek mythological figures of the sirens. They were these sea creatures that sang a honey-sweet song to sailors that lured them to their death. We talked about how that was a picture of sin and how it doesn’t scream and yell at us to disobey, but it sings a sweet song to our hearts and we willingly walk down the path of destruction. In Psalm 1, David warns about following that path because it leads from bad to worse. Little daily choices add up to lead to greater and greater problems as your heart gets colder and further away from God.
There is another figure from Greek mythology that I want to talk about and that is the muses. Muses were goddesses of inspiration of literature, science, and the arts. They were daughters of Zeus, the all supreme god. We get the English word “music” from them. They inspired and stirred up thoughts and desires from within, from the soul. They were good. Very good. They inspired people to write poetry, sing beautiful songs, create spectacular plays, write amazing books, and dive deep into the world of science. They inspired knowledge, wonder, and curiosity.
In some ways, they were similar to the sirens, but here was the one key difference. The sirens promised something outside of yourself, something you didn’t have, the knowledge of the unknown, the future. The muses inspired you to use what you were given, things from within. To learn from those that had gone before. One brought death, the other brought forth life. In Proverbs 1, David’s son Solomon writes that wisdom calls aloud and raises her voice in the streets. There are voices everywhere. Calling out to us. How do we know which ones are the sirens song and which ones are the voices of the muses? One is the voice of truth and the other tells us half-truths and lies. We must train our heart to love truth and hate what is false. To listen to things that are truly lovely, beautiful and of lasting value, and not be seduced by things that are cheap, easy, self-serving and popular.
Think of it this way. How many of you are picky eaters? Your mom serves you something green and says this is good for you but you don’t eat it. Why? Because when you taste it, it tastes disgusting. Especially if all you have been eating is fast food. You have trained your appetite to actually love and crave things that in excess are bad for you and you hate things that your body actually wants and needs. You get up the courage to try this green thing again, you change your mind towards it and think this is good for me. And, to your surprise, it’s not that bad. You try it again later and it actually tastes good and you feel so much better after you eat it. You have listened to your body and trained your taste to enjoy good food. The same is true with enjoying listening to the voices of the muses, the voice of wisdom. We naturally do not want to hear those voices because, in our fallen nature, we hate to hear the truth.
Our hearts have to be trained and tuned by grace to fall in love with what is lovely.
We were all created to love things. To get excited. To delight. So what things do we delight in? On football Saturdays, over 90,000 people will drive to Lincoln, Nebraska to sit and watch Husker football. In fact, since 1962, people have been selling out Memorial Stadium to watch football. Why? Because some people believe it is worth the time and money to watch football. Not that it is valuable in and of itself, but some people think it is and they make great sacrifices to experience it. Here is another way to think about it. If I have a dollar bill, and if I gave you a suitcase full of them, I am guessing you would be excited. What makes it worth one dollar? Is there a dollar’s worth of material? Is it made up of a dollar’s worth of paper and ink? No. The paper it is printed on is worth only a few pennies. It is worth a dollar because someone has said, this is worth a dollar. It has assigned value. And if we get enough of these, we get excited.
So we delight in things that really have no value, except the value we put on them. The value we assign to them. They are only as important as we think that is important. So getting that special toy at Christmas, the latest video game system, getting all A’s, having that one person as a friend, making people laugh, being in charge, taking care of myself, all are important to us because we think they will bring us satisfaction and delight. We train our appetite to desire these things. Here is what Psalm 1 says is important. God’s Word. And it’s important whether you say it is or not. Here is why, it is the truth. God, not man, has assigned value to it and that changes everything. It is invaluable. You cannot put a price on how much it is worth. There is a voice inside you that whispers to your heart, this is true, this is good, this is beautiful. David says, follow that voice because that is where you will find delight.
Does it seem weird to talk about delighting and getting excited about reading and studying God’s Word? As excited as would get if you went to your favorite team’s home game? Or getting a suitcase full of money? Yes, I get to read the Bible! But that is exactly what David is talking about and in fact, he is saying that it is so much more delightful than anything else you could do in this world.
Is that true of you? Is it true of me? Let’s check and see. When you are asked to memorize Bible verses, are you excited to be able to hide another passage of God’s word in your heart or do you groan and think, not another one. David said God’s word is to be treasured. Something you can’t get enough of. It guides you and keeps you from sinning. That is amazing! When it is time for Bible class, are you immediately bored or are you excited to learn more about God’s word? What about church? Psalm 122 says I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” David is saying, I can’t wait to go to church again! I don’t know about you, but I have some work to do. I have to keep asking God to teach my heart to love Him and His word more and more each day. We don’t change our love and desire for these things by making ourselves do it. No, we humbly ask God to give this change of heart by His Holy Spirit. And it’s not just a one-time prayer, but daily we must ask God to change our heart to love Him more and more and our own ways, less and less.
We are called to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Does it seem weird to think about enjoying God? Finding more pleasure in a relationship with God than with your mom or dad or grandparents or favorite relative? Do you enjoy God? Or does He bore you? Seem mean to you? Distant from you? If you are glorifying God, you are enjoying Him and if you are enjoying God, you are glorifying Him. You don’t glorify someone you don’t like. You have to enjoy and love God to truly glorify Him. The way you teach your heart to enjoy God is to listen to the voice of wisdom that is in the Bible. When you obey with a happy heart, it changes your desire to love the things of the world less and to love Him more.
That is the voice you want to hear and the song your soul was created to sing along to. Psalm 1 said the person who delights in God’s word, that person is on the right path and they will be blessed.
May Psalm 119:14-16 be our heartfelt prayer:
In the way of your testimonies, I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.