The Light of God’s Countenance – Psalm 4:5-7

All-Glory-HHoeksema-2013For our final Sunday worship preparation meditation of 2013 we choose a quotation from the newly published book of meditations by Herman Hoeksema titled All Glory to the Only Good God: Reformed Spirituality (RFPA, 2013). Fitting for the end of the year is Hoeksema’s meditation on Psalm 4:5-7 which has the theme “The Light of God’s Countenance.” As he shows, if we have this light of Jehovah over us, then we have the greatest and deepest joy possible in this life, even though it may appear otherwise in this fallen world.

May this thought of the Lord’s face on us in Christ fill us with joy on this last Lord’s Day of 2013. And may it fill us with hope as we soon enter the year of our Lord 2014.

The shining face of God lifted over us is the highest good, filling the heart with purest joy, lasting gladness, truest delight. And the light of that countenance of our God, shining upon us in Jesus Christ our Lord, is the implication of all conceivable good. For shall not he, who gave us his only begotten Son and delivered him for us all, with him freely give us all things? Does not the blessed light of God’s shining face, beaming forth assurances of everlasting mercies, carry with it the joyous certainty that all things work together for good to those who love God?

Incomparably greater, richer, and deeper, because essentially different this gladness is than the joy of those who are exultant over ever-increasing luxuries of corn, wine, and oil. Surely the men of this world appear joyous. Their state would seem enviable and is often considered such even by the children of God in moments when their feet nearly slip. Worldly men appear to have more than heart could wish. They prosper in the world. …Without the worries of the poor, free from the cares of the indigent, independent from men, they walk day by day, boasting in their strength, proud in their prosperity, wanton in their abundance of goods. They say to their soul, ‘You have many goods, laid up for years to come; eat, drink, and be merry!’

…Envying the wicked in their apparent prosperity, God’s people are inclined to complain, ‘Is there no knowledge in the Most High?’

When the days come wherein even the measure of wheat for a penny and the three measures of barley for a penny fail them, when day by day they walk the streets in vain, wanting employment and finding none, they are in danger of wailing with the children of the world, ‘Who shall show us any good?’

So foolish are they and ignorant.

…Will not the gladness of the world perish with their corn and wine?

Does not the joy that fills the heart in the assurance that the light of God’s face is lifted up over us endure as long as the everlasting faithfulness of Jehovah?

Is not the gladness that has its reason in abundance of material things superficial, limited, carnal, a mere semblance of joy, the dance of death in the darkness of this world, the revelry of those who make it their foolish slogan, ‘Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die’? And is not the joy that is put into our hearts by the light of God’s countenance a joy of the heart, spiritual, all-comprehensive, the assurance of present guidance and the hope of eternal life through him who loved us even unto death?

O, we of little faith! (pp.176-78)

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