“Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4.8). Wisdom’s “ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace” (Proverbs 3.17). Moses lived with a generation of men and women who did not believe those two verses. Our own generation is like the generation of Moses’ day. Even many Christians remain unsatisfied today. There is no gladness only disillusionment and despair. But it need not be this way. Moses writes, “Oh, satisfy us early with your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!”
There are two precious truths related to one another in this verse. First, satisfaction is found in God’s mercy. Second, those who find this satisfaction are glad and rejoice all their days. So, the verse explains to us how satisfaction and joy come into our lives.
How to Abide Satisfied
“Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy.” David asked, ”
“Who will show us any good?” He concluded, “LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. You have put gladness in my heart.” – Psalm 4.6-7
There is no satisfaction in life apart from Christ.
The Book of Ecclesiastes attests to this when Solomon wrote, “All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1.1). Work for the sake of work leads to despair. Our eyes are never satisfied with seeing, nor our ears with hearing (1.8). There is nothing new under the sun (1.9). Solomon had the gold, the girls, and the glamor. But none of the things on this earth are meant to bring satisfaction to our lives. Wealth and prestige mean little on your deathbed. If we had it all, we would still want more. Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard. Haman wanted the honor Mordecai had. It’s the same old story. Nothing on this earth will satisfy because it isn’t meant to satisfy. The things of this world are tools to reach the people of this world for the true God of Heaven and earth. They were never meant to satisfy or to be an end in and of themselves.
There is no satisfaction in religion apart from Christ.
All religions and religious activity are vain when performed by self-righteous people. Self-righteousness drains life from people. It turns us into duty-oriented slaves of whatever religious or secular system. Self-righteousness always leads to despair. We are left asking, “Have I done enough to atone for my sin? Will God be finally pleased with me and bring me to Heaven?” There is no assurance in that kind of life. The self-righteous person will be unsettled in the end. Death and judgment loom largely, and the self-righteous person will see the futility of it all. A self-righteous person will grow jaded, hypocritical, and very legalistic in his or her outlook on life. Such people will be very surprised when they cry out, “Lord! Lord!” And Jesus will say, “I never knew you.”
There is only satisfaction in the LORD’s mercy.
All of us have sinned a fall short of the glory of God. We will give an account of our lives to God. Those who trust in Christ alone for eternal life are ready to enter into God’s presence. We need not be ashamed at judgment because we “know whom we have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what we have committed to Him until that Day” of judgment (2 Timothy 1.12). We will be accepted into God’s presence when we die because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Our acceptance and hope are found in Him alone. Our physical bodies are likened to tents that will one day be destroyed only to be given a house not made with hands (a glorified, resurrected body), eternal in the heavens. We want a heavenly, eternal body in Heaven. This awaits us because and only because of the mercy of God (2 Corinthians 5.1ff.).
We will not be eternally condemned so we ought not participate in temporal activity and thinking that will be (Romans 8.1). I have not seen Christ with my physical eyes. Yet, believing, I rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory (1 Peter 1.8). This will lead to the end of faith – the salvation of my soul. That is true satisfaction. Mercy satisfies and leads to abiding joy.
How to Abide with Joy
This kind of joy benefits a person early on in life. When we seek the mercy of God early in life, we find great blessing and joy. We are reaping what we sow. Relieved from sin’s burden and offered the clarity and discernment to live eternal life, we experience satisfaction that cannot be found in any other earthly pleasure. Even if we get swept away by the things of this world, we come to a crisis point and long for the old paths of mercy once again. The wonder of wonders is that we find these paths every single time.
We grow through seasons of affliction. Circumstances don’t roll out in the way we expect them to. We are born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward. Yet, even so, we know that God loves us. His love is poured out in our hearts in such measure that it overwhelms the deepest miseries of life.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5.1-4).
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? The Lord’s voice cries to the city— Wisdom shall see Your name: “Hear the rod! Who has appointed it” (Micah 6.8-9).
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8.28).
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4.17).
I have not reached my death bed. I’ve come close. But I am confident when I do that a crown of righteousness is waiting for me. I know this because God has had mercy upon me. His mercy pardoned my soul and took away the sting of death. If we grab hold of this truth by knowing and believing it, if we consider it as a truth to be lived out practically in our lives, and if we present ourselves and all we have to God for His service, our obedience will be rewarded. We indeed will be hard-pressed between two desires: 1) to depart and be with Christ through death; or 2) to remain here in continual service for the Lord and His people. See Philippians 1.23.
It’s never too early to pursue God’s mercy. Seek satisfaction and happiness in spiritual things not material things. Be satisfied with God’s goodness.
“Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,
Streaming to the goodness of the Lord
For wheat and new wine and oil,
For the young of the flock and the herd;
Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden,
And they shall sorrow no more at all.
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together;
For I will turn their mourning to joy,
Will comfort them,
And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.
I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.”
– Jeremiah 31:12–14
We have to work and provide for our families. But our zeal and fervency for God must be evident in all we do. We don’t labor for food that rots or cars that rust. We look for enduring, everlasting life. We look forward to the kingdom and glory of God.
When we grow old, much of our time on earth is done. But while we live, we must lose no time. We redeem the time we have because the days are evil. We still must cry out for God’s daily mercy. We shall have it. We shall abide satisfied with the joy of the LORD as our strength!