Revelation 22 provides more evidence about the joy that is waiting for us when we to heaven. We hear about the river of life, and beautiful fruit trees that are going to heal the nations. There will be no more curse, and we are going to be serving God for all eternity. God will reign for ever and ever, and we will enjoy His presence forever.
Doesn’t that evoke something within you? Doesn’t that make you excited? It makes me feel like John as he closes out this book asking Jesus to return.
Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Rev 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
CS Lewis wrote about this powerfully. He wrote about how remarkable it was that we have appetites and things that will satisfy those appetites. We’re hungry, and there is food. We’re thirsty, and there is liquid.
As you read about heaven here at the end of Revelation, I would hope that you felt the same kind of hunger I had for wanting to be in the presence of God. There is that appetite, and there is something that will satisfy. In fact, there’s only one thing that will satisfy.
You might think that heaven is just a fantasy. It is just a daydream of people who want to escape from the misery of reality. They want to hope that there is some ultimate justice, so they create a place of perfection where all of the good will make up for all the evil present in our world today.
In closing, let me then suggest this thought in response to this kind of hypothetical explanation. As we have learned, Christianity rises or falls on whether or not Jesus Christ was who He said He was. If Jesus was indeed the Son of God, we then have His word that He is preparing a place for us. There are many dwelling places in the house of God. If He is who He says He is, then heaven is real. That’s the bottom line.
If heaven is real, we’re going to find that satisfaction. As followers of Christ, that appetite for the presence of God is going to be satisfied. Someone once said that if you would be happy in heaven without God there, then you probably will not be in heaven in the first place. As Christians, that is where our desire is at. Sure, beautiful places and golden cities are excellent things, but being with God is what it is all about. We fellowship with God here on the earth, and we’re going to do it in person eternally.
Does it really get any better than that?
I am finding Hosea to be incredibly relevant to the world today, and chapter 10 begins with a discussion of the moral situation that the Israelites are finding themselves in.
Hos 10:1 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.
Hos 10:2 Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.
Hos 10:3 For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?
Hos 10:4 They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.
It is interesting to think about this. In verse one, we have Israel thinking about how all of this great stuff that happened to them and obviously taking credit for it. That never goes well in the Bible when people start to take credit for what God has done.
In verse two, they are going to be found deficient, so everything is going to fall apart, and verse three is where we really see the world coming today. What good is all the authority in the world if we are not in a right relationship with God?
It makes me think about the fact that nothing can replace God. Certainly the people of Israel could put someone in charge. That is not the question. The question is what a king could possibly do in that situation.
For me, I think that we are quick to try to put ourselves in the place of God. Kind of like Israel at the beginning of this chapter, we think that everything comes from our own efforts. However, we end up in a situation where we don’t know where to turn because we have wandered away from God.
The people of Israel always seemed to want a king, but at this point in Hosea, it doesn’t even seem like they want that. Whatever they possibly could want on earth simply isn’t satisfying. For you or I it might be something different that we really think will make us happy, but when we get there, we don’t know where to turn.
It seems to me that all things on earth are insufficient to bring us the satisfaction that we can only get through God.
Psalms 63 gives us a picture of what it looks like to be dependent on God. It shows the value that David put on having a relationship with God and sustaining himself through God.
Psa 63:3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Psa 63:4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
Psa 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
Psa 63:6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
Psa 63:7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
Psa 63:8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
Verse three is by far the most powerful in my mind. The lovingkindness of God is better than life. As a general rule, I like life. I think that life is a pretty big gift, and if we did not have it, we obviously would have never come in to physical being.
However, as amazing as the spark of life is, the love of God is greater than that. It makes your soul satisfied. David compares it to marrow and fatness. In other words, it is pretty filling and you can have all you want. You keep going until you are satisfied; you will not leave wanting more.
I think this shows us something important about what we can potentially be getting out of a relationship with God. David had a miserable life at times, but because of his perspective and because he understood and felt the love of God, he knew that God was better.
He also was probably pretty stressed out from time to time. I know that if I was running for my life, I would have a hard time relaxing. However, David talks about satisfaction. His soul is satisfied. When I think of a satisfied soul, I think of someone who is at peace. They are composed and not overly stressed out. David was satisfied with whatever happened because he had that relationship with God.
I guess this is something for all of us to work on. We can work on deriving satisfaction from our relationship with God rather than our earthly conditions that can change overnight.
Deuteronomy 33 was obviously written far before the birth of Jesus, but I found a passage that felt very much like it could have fit into the New Testament with a few modifications.
Deu 33:29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
The modification that I was referring to is obviously the fact that we can all be people saved by the Lord now. The gift of salvation is available to Jews and Gentiles.
Because of the similarity, I think that we can see a very important truth. We are people saved by the Lord, so we should be happy. We all try to pursue happiness in a variety of ways, but God is the only one who can provide unlimited and eternal happiness.
Isa 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
Now, if we combine my previous thought with this verse from Isaiah, it is possible to conclude that the happiness that we receive from being a child of God is also satisfaction.
I think that this is an important distinction.
In earthly terms, there are always more things that we could want. We might want a new house, a new car or really anything else.
However, when we are saved by God, we have all of God that we will ever have. We will definitely learn to recognize the will of God more strongly, but God is with us all the time. It is not like we can want to have more of Him. That is why God can be satisfying.
So, even though the verse I gave you from Deuteronomy was speaking to the children of Israel, we can think about the same thing today. God brings us happiness, and we should not be trying to find that same feeling anywhere else.
In Exodus chapter 16, I thought that there is a very interesting parallel between the children of Israel collecting manna and the Feeding of the 5000.
Let me start with the passage from Exodus.
Exo 16:16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.
Exo 16:17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
Exo 16:18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
Of course, people are not necessarily identical, so when people gathered in different amounts of manna, nobody was lacking. Everyone was satisfied with the outcome.
Similarly, when Jesus performed His miracle and fed 5000 people, everyone was satisfied.
Mat 14:17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
Mat 14:18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
Mat 14:19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
Mat 14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
Mat 14:21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
I think that what we can draw from these two stories is that God provides for people. In fact, when we have taken the time that we should and really realize everything that God has provided us with, we can be satisfied.
If we try to be entirely satisfied with all of this stuff that we can purchase in the store, we’re definitely going to be disappointed. All of our earthly possessions are limited. However, we are given the assurance that the things of God will bring the satisfaction.
Psa 145:16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
Psa 81:10 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
Overall, when we rely on God, we can be satisfied. It is important to remember that satisfaction is one of those things without we cannot provide by ourselves. God is the giver of that gift.