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April 26 – Counterfeit joy (4)

May my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord.Psalm 104:34

Scripture reading: Psalm 104:1-35

I live in Colorado and most days I can see the Rocky Mountains. When on a clear day, I see the distant white-capped peaks, my heart rejoices in wonder and praise. But I’m sure that when unbelievers see the same sight, though they do not acknowledge the Creator, they still experience a certain awe and wonder.

Simply living in this world is a blessing. Although many will not acknowledge it, God has blessed us humans. We have talents and abilities, enjoy good health, have material possessions, have family and friends. We can appreciate beautiful art, wonder at a colorful sunset, and be in awe of majestic mountains. Whether a Christian or not, there is a joy that comes with living. It is the joy of God’s common grace.

Psalm 104 recounts God’s great creative work. The psalmist looks at the mountains and is in awe. He recognizes that God sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. He hears birds singing, watches animals feed, sees ships navigate the oceans. At the end of the Psalm he says, “I rejoice in the Lord.” Not the ships, the rain, the animals, the mountains, but I rejoice in the Lord.

Joy in God’s creation will not last because there is so much more. Jesus asked, ”For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:36). True, lasting joy comes not in the earthly gifts we enjoy from our Creator, as wonderful as they are, but in trusting and rejoicing in the Creator Himself.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that your joy would not consist simply in the gifts God has given, but would be in God Himself and that you would have a thankful heart for all of God’s gifts.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen is the minister of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) in Littleton, Colorado.

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