Psalm 21

O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips.

You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked you for life, and you gave it to him- length of days, forever and ever. Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.

Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.

Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes. At the time of your appearing you will make them like a fiery furnace. In his wrath the LORD will swallow them up, and his fire will consume them. You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind. Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed; for you will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow. Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might.

Victories in this world, eternal life in the presence of the Lord, vengeance upon our enemies, what more could anyone ask?

It’s said that we determine the enjoyment we derive from any situation by mentally comparing the expectation we formed going in with the experience we have coming out. Going to McDonald’s for a burger, we expect a certain level of quality and service. When we get what we expect we feel OK. On those rare occasions when our experience exceeds our expectation we’re delighted, and when it fails to live up to what we expected we’re disappointed. It’s all done in a flash by our sub-conscious, but that’s the way it works.

Obviously, we wouldn’t be happy with a gourmet restaurant that served us a McDonald’s type burger because our expectations of a gourmet dinner would be different. And likewise, if we were used to diving into dumpsters for whatever leftover scraps we could find to eat and came up with a fresh Big Mac one time, we’d be overjoyed. So like I said, our joy comes from a comparison between our expectation and our experience.

Why are we talking about this? In Psalm 21 and other places, we’re given glimpses of life in the Kingdom; blessings without number, endless joy, peace, security, freedom, and happiness. Our enemies will be vanquished and required to admit in our presence that we were right and they were wrong. They’ll suffer the consequences of their behavior, while we enjoy the rewards of ours. Satan will be restrained, unable to tempt or afflict us, while we’ll be in the presence of the Lord as His co-regent, sharing in His inheritance.

Pretty high expectations. It’s going to take a lot to maintain our enjoyment. And while every successful company on earth knows that the best way to assure customer satisfaction is to under promise and over perform, the Lord has made no attempt to moderate our expectations regarding His Kingdom.

In fact the opposite is true. Listen to Paul’s claim: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9)

Not only is there no attempt to under-promise, we’re told that what’s in store for us is beyond our comprehension, exceeding even our ability to imagine it. And remember, this joy we’ll experience will last for eternity. Every day and in every way, it’ll just get better and better. Forever.

No wonder he also told us when we get discouraged to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor 4:18)

This unimaginable joy will soon be our portion every moment of every day. The more we learn about it, the higher our expectations become, and yet we’re told that at our best, our sin infested minds can’t even begin to conjure up what God is about to send our way. But what little we do see gives us hope, and helps maintain a more optimistic outlook in those bleak moments of our lives. It lets us say, “I can put up with this, in exchange for that.” Good advice, Paul, thanks.