Chapter-6.6   Seven Irresistible Characteristics Of God

 
In Your Right Hand, Oh Lord, Are Pleasures Forever
(The Ebb And Flow of Leanness and Pleasure — REVISED)
 
When it comes to the ELEMENTS of PLEASURE, I consider myself to be a master in the realm of enjoyment, but a novice in the realm of understanding.
 
However, I have observed a fair amount, and would like to share some of my elementary perceptions.
 
(1a) I believe that to the extent that the Father wants His children to become like Jesus in all of their pursuits – He works in their lives to purify their desires. *1*
 
(1b) For most of us, it takes a lifetime to get with The Program!
 
(2a) Since God, who lives in Eternity, created us, he knows what is best for us, and what will ultimately bring us the most pleasure.
 
(2b) Most of us at one time or another think we know better.
 
(3a) Solomon, considered to be one of the wisest men to ever live (who lived some 1500 years before Jesus) refused to deny himself and decided to pursue any and every pleasure that came to mind. *2*
 
(3b) In the end, he found such pursuits to be vain and meaningless.
 
(4a) Jesus on the other hand, admonishes us to deny ourselves and serve as His disciples – realizing herein is great reward / joy / pleasure. *3*
 
(4b) We are often convinced that indulging ourselves brings greater satisfaction
 
(5a) He has set eternity into the hearts of men and women to wean us to maturity. *4*
 
(5b) We tend to want to live for the moment!
 
(6a) God commended Moses for choosing [and thus preferring] the ill treatments with the people of God, rather than enjoying the “pleasures of sin for a season”. *5*
 
(6b) Our natural tendancies are to shun suffering and justify our yielding to the pleasures of our sins.
 
(7a) God in leading us toward maturity will on occasions say, “No more” to things that He once tolerated in His great patience and grace!
 
(7b) We tend to confuse His tolerance for permission or worse yet, approval, and tempt His patience insisting on more of our own ways.
 
(8a) He has indicated that it is more of a blessing (yields more happiness and joy) to give than to receive. *6*
 
(8b) Our natural tendency is to cling tightly to what we have worked so hard to earn.
 
(9a) Everything we have has been a Gift From God. *7*
 
(9b) As Abraham Lincoln said in his call for a day of prayer and fasting: “we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.” *8*
 
(10a) Because God recognizes that in our natural strength it is impossible for us to achieve the righteous and holy life that He requires/desires, when we come to faith in Jesus, He infuses that pure and holy life of Jesus into our very beings. *9*
 
(10b) The new challenge for us becomes one of yielding to that NEW LIFE within, when faced with life’s complications and temptations rather than trying to slug it out on our own!
 
I believe in response to our natural tendencies, God uses five primary responses to draw us on to maturity. I call them the 5 smooth stones through which He slays the Goliath in each of us.
 
These particular stones are composed to deliver blunt force trauma for the shattering of our pretenses and dispositions that hinder our entry into the fulfilling things He has prepared for us in the ‘very real here and now’.
 
And in ways that we shall see, our present faith reality is inexorably linked to that heavenly realm we think of as being, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. Yes, this mysterious ‘Kingdom of God’ that is presented to us, is actually “…here in your (our) midst.” And we will one day be startled, by the realization, that as truth entered each inner chamber of our being we were immediately and incrementally translated into that place He went to, “to prepare for us!” *10*
 
Those 5 Smooth Stones:
 
A. Abounding Love, Grace & Goodness – “God is Love.” “Love is patient and kind.“ “It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.” *11*
 
B. Revelation / Pleasure / Reward – He is constantly breathing into our spirits the realization that He holds and controls everything: “In His right hand are pleasures forever more!”. As we mature, we more readily accept His provision, His timing, and these realities. When we yield to Him and do things His way, He “rewards us openly”. *12*
 
C. Leanness – when the people of Israel tempted him in the wilderness by demanding what they wanted (their own way – in their case, meat instead of ‘manna from heaven’), it is written, “After giving them the desires of their hearts, He sent leanness into their souls.” Have you ever found that after you finally got what you wanted, it just didn’t bring the satisfaction you had anticipated? Isn’t this “leanness” working in your life, at those moments, to get your attention? *13*
 
D. He Gives Us Over (To Our ‘Sinful‘ Desires) – the verse (Romans 1:24) is about how on occasions when we persist on our own way, God gives us over to our Sinful desires.
 
Please note here that it is the more fortunate ones (like the Prodigal Son) who “find themselves” when they are in this condition, the unfortunate ones typically continue unknowingly in the Great Downward Spiral of Humanity (apart from God) depicted in the remainder of Romans chapter 1. *14*
 
I believe that this ‘giving us over’ is one of the indicators we are probing the limits of God’s patience. When God resorts to this, it is with the hope and intention that we might come to our senses and return to the ever open arms of our Heavenly Father.
 
E. Pain and The Threat of Death – He chastens and disciplines those whom He loves! An additional element of pain that we all carry, is the fear of dying, the timing of which is a constant unknown for all of us. Faith is the anecdote for such fears. The Egyptians and Pharaoh, Lot, Abimelek, Moses, Balaam, and Jezebel (from the church at Thyatira, in Revelation) are all individuals whom the Lord confronted with the threat or fear of death if they did not take the course of action He directed.
 
As one studies the great characters in the Bible, they will see to varying degrees, God at work in the lives of those great people, shattering their natural dispositions and erroneous perceptions. Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Israelites in the Wilderness, Israel under the Judges, King Saul, King David, Jonah, King Nebuchadnezzar (from the book of Daniel), The Prodigal Son, and Peter, Mark, and Paul (to name a few). They all were touched by these 5 smooth stones through which God slays the Goliath (our natural tendancies) in each of us:
 
This is why in Romans chapter 12, Paul admonishes us “…to be transformed by the renewing of our minds!” Thus like David, we need to pray, “Create in me a clean heart Oh, God, and renew a right spirit within me!” *15*
 
Unfortunately, people who are not familiar with these concepts, blame someone else (their spouses, their kids, their parents, or people of a different race or persuasion) when leanness comes into their souls.  Because it is always easier to point the finger than to face up to one’s own responsibility in a situation.
 
But fortunately, in all of this, God draws us ever onward with the promise that in his right hand are pleasures forever – pleasures most of which have never been conceived by the mind of any man or woman nor have their realizations ever entered into human hearts. *16*
 
In the meantime, like the great ebb and flow of the tides along our shores, there remains for us, the ebb and flow of leanness (or in the extreme, abject pain) and pleasure. Our great assurance as believers in Christ is that when the tide rolls out for the last time in our lives, we will be left standing, with sure footing, on/in the LAND OF PURE PLEASURE, bidding farewell forever to those mighty forces of leanness and pain that have shaped our lives for Jesus.
 
America where are you? Reader, where are you?
 
When the tide rolls out for the last time in your lives, will you be left standing on the shores of PURE PLEASURE, or stuck in the mud of PURE PAIN? It all depends on your lifetime of responses to Jesus.
 
 
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REFERENCES AND NOTES:
 
All Scripture References in this chapter are from:
 
A New International Version / Zondervan / Distributed through Tecarta Bible Study App / Tecarta, Inc. / ©️2019 Tecarta, Inc.
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*1*. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
[18] And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
 
*2*. Ecclesiastes 2:1 NIV
[1] I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 NIV
[10] I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. [11] Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
 
*3*. Luke 9:23 NIV
[23] Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
 
*4*. Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
[11] He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
 
*5*. Hebrews 11:24-25 NIV
[24] By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. [25] He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
 
*6*. Acts 20:35 NIV
[35] In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
 
*7*. 1 Timothy 6:17 NIV
[17] Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
 
 
*9*. Ephesians 3:17 NIV
[17] so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love…
Galatians 2:20 NIV. [20] I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
 
*10*. Luke 17:21 NIV
[21] nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”. John 6:19-21 NIV
[19] When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. [20] But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” [21] Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. Colossians 1:13 NIV. [13] For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves… Revelation 1:5-6 NIV. [5] and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, [6] and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
 
*11*. 1 John 4:8 NIV
[8] Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV. [4] Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Romans 2:4 NIV. [4] Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
 
*12*. Psalm 16:11 NIV
[11] You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Matthew 6:4 NIV. [4] so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (KJV adds “openly”). Matthew 6:6 NIV. [6] But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (KJV adds “openly”).
 
*13*. Psalm 106:15 NIV
[15] So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them. (KJV says, “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul(s).”. Psalm 106:15 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Psalm%20106:15&versionwa=KJV
 
*14*. The Story Of The Wayward Son:
 
Note two of the key Verses:
Luke 15:16-17 NIV
[16] He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. [17] “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death![He then returned home to his Father — please read this story — one of the most touching stories ever told].
 
Downward Spiral Described in Romans-1:
 
*15*. Psalm 51:10 NIV
[10] Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 
*16*. Psalm 16:11 NIV
[11] You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV. [9] However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him.
 
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–©️2019, Dale Petersen, all rights reserved. Published for Non-profit by Pleasepraywithus.info