As I was driving home from school last night, I was thinking about the start of a new ministry year and all the many things that will take place in this coming year. While I was praying for the children we will have in our Sunday school classes this year, these verses came to mind:
“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:14-17)
For whatever we do this year to have any meaningful or lasting value, it has to come from hearts that have been satisfied with Jesus and all he is for us. Knowing his great love for us should make us deeply joyful (v. 14). But Moses, the writer of this psalm, doesn’t want to eventually be satisfied in God or find God after chasing after God-substitutes all day long (Jer. 2:13). He is asking God for this to happen early in the morning. He is thirsting for the water that eternally satisfies (Jn. 7:37-38).
For most of us, our lives have had pain, suffering, or loss. But the writer of this psalm is asking God to make them glad for as many years as they have experienced suffering (v. 15). It’s like he knows that is actually going to take place! That one day it is entirely possible to have a joy in God that is so overwhelmingly great as to make all the sorrow from the past days and years simply fade away (Rev. 21:4).
He also wants God’s works to be shown to both his people but also to their children. He longs for the next generation to be amazed at the glory of God in what God does (v. 16). But he has also had enough experience with humanity to know that the only way one can see God as glorious, amazing, and powerful is to first behold him for who he really is and to be deeply satisfied in him. The same goes for children…how will they see Jesus as the treasure he is if they do not see the adults in their lives delighting in Jesus?
Moses then closes his psalm by asking for the favor of God to rest upon them, but also to establish the work they will do (v. 17). He doesn’t want to just do things, as he surely remembers what it is like to do things a part from God (Num. 20). And he doesn’t want to simply do all the right things if they don’t come from a place of both knowing God but also knowing that his smile is upon them.
Ministry can and does happen with God only making a cameo appearance. It is entirely possible to serve without being satisfied in Jesus. Things get done, but there is not the joy in Jesus that should characterize our service. Instead, we are left feeling incredibly empty, lonely, and sad. It was never how it was supposed to be. Nor should we ever be content with doing the right things if they do not come from a place of deeply knowing and loving Jesus.
We must behold Jesus and delight in him as our One Thing (Luke 10:42), joyfully serve his people, and be all there in our relationships with him and with his people.