Pleasures Forevermore

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. — Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

In today’s society people seem bent on getting as much pleasure as they can, while they can. From the most exotic gourmet foods, to the latest computer games, to the most avant-garde of fashion, people seem to be on an endless quest for more. But, after the momentary thrill or fun is over, most feel a sense of emptiness.

Why is this?

It’s fine as long as the pleasure comes from doing what is right and good in God’s sight. As it has been said, fun that’s good is fun today and still fun tomorrow. But in more cases than not, people get pleasure from doing what is wrong or sinful in God’s view.

Hebrews 11:24-25 [NKJV, throughout] speaks about the Israelite leader Moses, a man of faith who, “when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin…” The KJV renders the last phrase as “the pleasures of sin for a season.” The pleasures don’t last! And they could be fraught with guilt, conflict and confusion.

The pleasurable sin may be gorging on the most exotic menu of meat forbidden by God’s law {Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14; see: Did Christ Cleanse All Meats?], indulging in sexual acts contrary to God’s law [see: The Faces of Love, The Rainbow Connection and The Deceitfulness of Sin], and the list of such pleasures can be quite long.

The pleasures of sin are often intense, accompanied by some physical, emotional and psychological highs. Even if people engage in lawful or legitimate pleasures, there is an end to the experience. Like music that starts slow then builds up in tempo to a crescendo and a climax, it suddenly ends, or softly fades away – and then it’s all over. Then silence! God’s word says that everything we might enjoy in this present age will all “perish with the using” (Colossians 2:22).

We sing about “Endless Love.” But is there really such a thing? Lovers may relish a long relationship, but how can their love last forever when one or both of the partners eventually die, as God has appointed for all men (Hebrews 9:27)? [See:  What Happens to Man After Death?]

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 declares the grim end of all human experiences: “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten, Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished. Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.”

How can pleasures last forevermore?

In order for anyone to enjoy pleasures forevermore, one has — first of all – to have or receive everlasting life! That’s what it means to be able to stand in the presence of God in His full glory, as Psalm 16:121 says – for no mortal man can see God’s full glory and live (Exodus 33:17-20).

How then can we have everlasting life? That exactly was the question which a rich young man asked Jesus. Notice what Jesus told him: “…if you want to enter into life [everlasting], keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:16-17).

By our own human merits and power we cannot possibly keep God’s commandments. The apostle Paul wrote: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7).

It takes the Holy Spirit of God and of Christ to work in our minds and bodies so we can obey God’s commandments and thus live forever (Verse 13). [See: God’s Spirit and Obedience and The Higher Law of the Spirit.]

Isaiah 35:10 promises: “And The Ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads, they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

They will experience such joy that God and His angels in heaven have, as when even a single sinner truly repents (Luke 15:7, 10). As the ransomed and redeemed of Christ, true Christians will rule with Him at His return to earth (Revelation 20:6). They will help Him teach surviving mankind the way of God and lead them to repentance. What boundless joy they will experience as these mortal subjects of Christ’s rule come to repentance and eventually receive everlasting life also.

This is everlasting joy, with pleasures forevermore that all will enjoy in God’s glorious kingdom. Quoting Isaiah 64:4, Paul wrote: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). What a magnificent and glorious future awaits all true Christians, who love God and keep His commandments (John 14:15, 21; 1 John 5:2-3).

Can we even begin to fathom the joys and pleasures which we as Christ’s true followers will experience forever in God’s presence? Can you imagine what pleasures we will enjoy in God’s presence?

• While we will no longer marry nor experience the delights of marital sex (Matthew 22:30), but who knows what greater pure ecstasy will be ours in the loving embrace of God the Father , Jesus Christ, and other members of God’s divine family?
• As divine, immortal beings in God’s kingdom, we will not need food for sustenance. But Revelation 22:1-2 describes the “tree of life” in New Jerusalem, the eternal City of God. The tree will bear twelve kinds of fruit, one each month. The family of God will eat the fruit for the sheer pleasure of it such as we’ve never savored in this present life. The tree’s leaves will be for the healing or health of the nations. There will be “no sickness, toil, or danger in that bright world” to which we go (as the American spiritual song says, reflecting Revelation 21:4 and Isaiah 35:10).
• Excellent wines, taken moderately, are one of life’s delectable pleasures. Judges 9:13 says that wine “…cheers both God and man.” Jesus’ first recorded miracle was turning water into wine – and that of superior quality too (John 2:1-10).
• Fine, beautiful music is one of the human delights of this present life. Can it ever surpass the pleasures of heavenly and angelic music? Can the gifted in God’s divine family compose and make even more sublime music (Isaiah 35:10; 51:3)?
• God will re-landscape the earth and restore its Eden-like beauty (Isaiah 51:3).
• What excitement can we look forward to as we join God in “planting” the heavens (Isaiah 51:16)—perhaps starting new creations (Revelation 21:5)?

Meanwhile, we may – and will – suffer troubles while in this present world (Acts 14:22). But let’s take courage from Paul’s testimony: “For I consider that the sufferings of thus present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18) – the “redemption of our body” [from death and decay] (Verse 23). Paul also comforts us: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians10:13).

With the power of God’s Spirit we can overcome the temptations of Satan and his demons, the pulls of our evil society and our carnal, fleshly selves—all that could hinder us from making it to God’s glorious kingdom. [See: Does God Require Us to Do the Impossible?]

Let us overcome and endure to the end, and we will be saved (Matthew 24:13) – have everlasting life in Christ’s kingdom, and there enjoy pleasures forevermore in God’s presence!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
25022022

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