A happy heart with the Lord — Is God at your right hand?
I’m not sure how many of you have been following along with the Sunday School lessons for this quarter but they have been tremendous. In every lesson this quarter we have taken a look at a person of valor and courage in scripture. From Joshua to Paul, we saw that the acts of valor, courage, and boldness were born in the heart of those who had faith in the Lord.
So, I say to you today that I believe that we have reached a point of convergence from what we have been learning in our Sunday School for the past three months and the recent sermons from this month. As you know, for the past couple of months I have focused on being a vessel for the Lord and having a spiritually healthy heart. We have seen that the end results of living with a poor and unhealthy heart, spiritually, can lead to a spirit of infirmity. That is, a spirit that moves recklessly or a spirit that is paralyzed and unable to move. As Solomon once said, being in poor spiritual health dries the bones (Prov. 17:22).
Now, I believe that all of us desire to be in the best shape we can possibly be in spiritually. Why is that the case? Well, we know that there is a great benefit to letting the Lord be the medicine for our soul and dining at the buffet of His word. What I want to do today is take one last look at having a healthy and happy heart with God. I want us to see the benefit of living a healthy life spiritually.
God at Your Right Hand
In my sermon last week, you recall that I briefly mentioned David and how he often wrote in the Book of Psalms how his heart (spirit/soul) longed for the Lord. So, in this week’s sermon, I wanted to refer to a couple of psalms of David, a man who scripture describes as a man after God’s heart (1 Sam. 13:14). David, I tell you, had a very healthy heart, spiritually, and we should want to imitate his devotion to the Lord.
David’s devotion to the Lord
In my key verse for today, David tells us that he always sets the Lord before him. This statement, I believe, tells us a couple of very important things about David. First, I believe this statement tells us a great deal about David’s heart. Again, when I say heart in this instance, let us know that I am referring to the soul.
With that being said, secondly, I want to point out to you that I believe David’s statement also tells us a great deal about David’s mindset. David tells us that in his heart, he always put the Lord first. So, putting the Lord first tells us all about his mindset – his focus was always on the Lord. Therefore his thoughts were driven by his faith, his feelings were driven by his faith, and his actions were driven by his faith. His devotion to the Lord – putting God first – created a healthy heart which created a healthy mindset.
Putting God first is sometimes difficult for most of us to understand. Some of us attempt to take that statement literally, which I can certainly understand. Yet, I want us to tackle the idea of putting the Lord first from David’s perspective. So, let us consider what David expresses in both of my key verses today so that we can understand what it means to put the Lord before us.
I want you to understand that David, when he says that he always set the Lord before him, was expressing his devotion to the Lord. In his devotion, David was expressing his dedication to God in his own heart. David is telling all of us that he put all of his hope and his trust in the Lord. David allowed his heart to be consumed with the Lord so that his every decision and every step was guided by God.
David’s right hand
This again becomes very evident to us when we see David say in his own words, “He (God) is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” We again get to see how David’s heart was totally dependent on the Lord. We should pay very close attention to David saying that God was at his “right hand”. What does that mean?
To keep someone at your right hand shows just how much trust you are putting in that person. We could also consider that someone being at your right hand would be indicative of the bond and relationship. For example, I would consider that my brother is my right hand man and I imagine he would say the same about me. Typically our right hand person is someone we truly value and truly trust. We trust that they will be there in our times of need – when we need help, support, and when we are in need of assistance.
So, for David to say that the Lord was at his right hand, it shows us the kind of bond and relationship (fellowship) that David shared with the Lord. You see, David recognized that he needed God’s help, support, and assistance on this journey. The problem that many of us face today is that many of us do not recognize that we are in need of the Lord’s help and support. We end up trying to take on everything by ourselves without His assistance – this is not good for us.
Again, we live in a world that is constantly seeking to press down on us with burden after burden and many of us do nothing but try to bear all of our burdens, troubles, and stress. Carrying so much weight, again, is not good for the heart, yet, we attempt to do it anyway! So, we must determine whether or not we are allowing God to be at our right hand – our devotion – because this is the key to how happy we will be in our soul.
Do we recognize that we need God’s help, support, and assistance on this journey or are we taking on too much for our hearts to bear? The unfortunate answer to this question is that since many of us don’t recognize we need God’s help and support, we end up hurting our soul.
Led by the Lord
As I have expressed in recent weeks, there are great benefits to those who seek to care for their spiritual health. There are great benefits to those who make God their heart’s devotion.
God is our shepherd
The first couple of benefits we are going to take a look at, can be found in a very familiar Psalm. In Psalm 23, we find David speaking about how the Lord is his shepherd. Now, I want you to consider with me for a moment today that the Lord being a shepherd and guiding not only David, but all of us, by the hand.
Let us imagine that the Lord, as our shepherd, is herding and guiding us by our hands. David tells us that with God as his shepherd, he did not want for anything (Ps. 23:1). This means that the Lord was the caretaker and provider for David, which meant he did not want for or need anything. Now, imagine how wonderful that must have made David feel!
Our wants are what drives many of us. As I mentioned in last week’s sermon, most of us become consumed by our wants and a worldly diet. Unfortunately, as we all know, being on the grind and hustle to satisfy our wants can become overly burdensome and stressful which we know is not healthy for our soul. Yet, with the Lord as our caretaker and provider, that stress and burden is alleviated. So, we are already aware of one of the benefits of making the Lord our heart’s devotion – He is a stress reliever! Relieving us of our burdens and stress, again, creates a healthy heart, spiritually. Now, Let’s continue to add to this list of benefits.
Strength and confidence
Now, as our shepherd, David wrote that the Lord leads him by still waters and restores his soul (Ps. 23:2-3). So, again, as our shepherd, David tells us that the Lord not only cares for us, leads us, guides us, and provides for us, but that He also restores our soul. I want you to understand that this means that the Lord strengthens the soul – that, again, is the heart and spirit. So, another benefit we see for a healthy spirit is one that is renewed and strengthened by the Lord.
In Isaiah, it is written, “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Is. 40:31).”
Now, I want you to watch what happens to the heart that is being led by and strengthened by the Lord. David tells us that with God at his right hand, he is able to walk through the valley of the shadow of death and that his heart will not be troubled, stressed, or filled with fear (Ps. 23:4). So, with a healthy heart, spiritually, we see that fear is removed. I want you to understand that our fear is replaced with something else.
David said, with the Lord at his right hand, “in the presence of his enemies,” God prepares his table (Ps. 23:5). This is further expounded upon in Psalm 27, where David said, “When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident (Ps. 27:2-3).”
So, here is the next benefit to one whose heart is healthy and devoted to the Lord – confidence and courage. Let us consider today that when we are surrounded by our enemies – this can be all of our troubles, afflictions, and infirmities – we do not have to be fearful. No, we are filled with the confidence through the Lord to face all of our trials and tribulations when we put the Lord before us and have Him at our right hand. We are also filled with the courage to stand up to all that we may be going through knowing that God is going to carry us over every obstacle we face.
Peace of heart
Look at all of these wonderful benefits to those whose heart’s devotion is the Lord! Stress and burdens alleviated. Strength, confidence, and courage born in the soul and now a part of the mindset of those with a healthy heart. These, I believe, are truly wonderful benefits to having a healthy heart spiritually.
Now, there is an even greater benefit to having a spiritually healthy heart that I want us to see that David tells us about in my key verse.
I want to direct your attention back to Psalm 16 to where David tells us the last benefit we are going to look at. David says, “I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices.” The last benefit is one that I have been mentioning in my recent sermons – a happy heart.
Let us understand that the happiness that is being spoken of is talking about peace. This peace is not a peace born of this world but a peace given by the Lord! David has been expressing to us his peace of mind (heart) while on this journey. The kind of peace that David is speaking of can only come from the Lord.
Now, while we may consider that this happiness and peace is while we are living, I want you to understand that David is speaking beyond this physical life. David, I believe, was looking ahead at the greatest benefit that one can enjoy from having a healthy heart, spiritually.
At Pentecost, Peter quoted this psalm to those that were listening. I want to direct your attention to Acts 2:25-28 just for a moment. In Acts, we see that Peter said, “For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’”
Peter would then went on to conclude, “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David … he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption (Acts 2:29, 31).” Peter concluded that David’s psalm was also a psalm of resurrection. Hades (or Sheol) is the place that we would call Hell – the resting place for the souls of the unrighteous. Eternal suffering awaits all of those who lived their life with an unhealthy and corrupt heart (Rev. 20:11-15).
Get Your Heart Right
Truly, that is a sad ending for all of those who make the choice today to not eat a healthy spiritual diet or go to the doctor (which is God) to receive medicine for their soul. So, if you have an unhealthy heart, the thing that I hope you will take away from the sermons I have preached this month is that you take time to get your heart right (healthy) before it is too late. We only have so much time to get ourselves right in our hearts, so take advantage of the time you have.
I encourage you to take the necessary steps to get your heart into better shape. You can do this by turning to the Lord, making Him your heart’s devotion, and having Him at our right hand – meaning that you should put God first by truly being dedicated and faithful to Him.
Like David, when God becomes your devotion, He will constantly work to strengthen your soul so that it is in good health, especially for those days when you are encamped about by all of your troubles and burdens. Those who have an unhealthy heart struggle with being able to handle those days and often fall apart in their spirit. Yet, we are told that a righteous man – one with a healthy heart – may fall seven times and rise again (Prov. 24:16). Why? Because the Lord keeps the heart of those who have devoted their heart – their spiritual health – to Him.
You see, with a healthy heart, we can live a stress free life that gives us peace of mind knowing that we have nothing to worry about and that we will make it. All of our afflictions, burdens, and infirmities, though they may be great and though they may trouble us, we know that the Lord will shield and protect our heart (our soul). Not only that, but God will guide us and lift us over every obstacle that we face. This means nothing but peace for your soul. So, I again encourage you today to get your heart right so that you can have a happy heart.