June 10, 2016 • Life for Leaders
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
When I was growing up in Glendale, California, I lived about a quarter-mile from my grandparents. In fact, their house was on my route home from school, so I often stopped in to visit them. Now, to be sure, I loved my grandparents and enjoyed their company. I still consider them to be some of the best friends I ever had. But I must confess that one reason I was such a regular guest at their home had to do with food. They had plenty of it, including some of my favorite items. My grandmother was always sure to have an abundance of ice cream and Doritos. I don’t think these fatty foods helped me to be healthier, but they sure made my life happier. I will never forget the joy of sitting in my grandparents’ breakfast room, feasting on the abundance in their house and enjoying their company.
Psalm 36 reminds us that God wants to bless us, to give us good things, to fill us with his joy. This can happen anywhere, whether you’re sitting in your grandparents’ breakfast room, or in your office at work, or even on the subway as you commute.
Psalm 36:7-8 uses a similar image to speak of how God feeds us from “the abundance of [his] house” (36:8). Notice that those who feast in this case are not only God’s chosen people. Rather, “all people” receive the blessing of God’s goodness (36:7).
If you were to read the original Hebrew of verse 8, you might be surprised by what you found. Where our English says, “They feast on the abundance of your house,” the original language reads, “They are satiated from the fat of your house.” In the world of ancient Israel, fat was associated with feasting, even with celebrations in the temple. God feeds us, not only with real food that is delicious, but also with the even tastier joys of his presence. He wants our relationship with him to be something wonderful, not just something we have to do because it’s right. In the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, our chief purpose in life is to “glorify God and enjoy him forever.” In more poetic language, we feast from the “fat” of his house and drink from his “river of delights.”
Psalm 36 reminds us that God wants to bless us, to give us good things, to fill us with his joy. This can happen anywhere, whether you’re sitting in your grandparents’ breakfast room, or in your office at work, or even on the subway as you commute. God’s grace is rich beyond measure as it is poured out upon us.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
When have you feasted from the abundance of God’s house?
How can we participate in this feast on a regular basis?
When do you enjoy God the most?
Thank you, gracious God, for inviting us to “feast on the abundance of your house.” Thank you for “stocking your shelves” with that which we love. We know, Lord, that we should want to be with you simply for fellowship. But the fact that you bless us so richly draws us to you, rather like ice cream and Doritos once beckoned me to my grandparents’ house.
Dear Lord, teach us to feed regularly from your abundance. Help us to visit you often, to spend time with you, to sample your delights.
All praise be to you, God of abundance, for your innumerable gifts to your people. Amen.
Explore online Bible commentary: Introduction to Psalms at the Theology of Work Project.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.