God is Good
Next, David reflects on another truth in his fight for joy: God is his greatest treasure. In Verse 2 he says, “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord;’ I have no good apart from you.” David is acknowledging that everything good in his life is because of God. James 1:7 tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
This is a comforting truth; God is a good God who gives good gifts. But David is actually saying something more than this. It’s not just that God is the giver of good things; family, friends, sunrises, sunsets, safety, a good laugh, provision, or whatever of God’s good gifts you enjoy. David is stating the goodness of the giver himself. Here’s his logic: God, you are my everything, you are my treasure. Why then would I, in my despair, go anywhere or to anyone else, but to you?
Treasuring Him is a Community Project
David isn’t the only one who recognizes this. In verse 3 he says, “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” As David begins to meditate on the goodness of God, he realizes that he is not alone. David delights in the people of God because they help him delight in God.
Treasuring God is a community project. Often times, when we are in the midst of struggle or in despair we are tempted to isolate ourselves. It’s easy to start thinking that we are the only ones struggling in the fight for joy in God. This is why a commitment to the local church is crucial to our spiritual health. To be more specific, this is one reason why gathered worship is so important. What do you do when you participate in the gathered worship of the church? You are delighting in God, not alone, but together. The singing, the prayers, the scripture reading, the preaching, and the sacraments are not just about the individual and God, but the family of God.
Many times I have entered into gathered worship as an anxious, grumbling mess. Then my soul has been stirred as I hear my brothers and sisters singing, “Then sings my soul, my savior God to Thee, how great Thou art!” When we come together in corporate worship we are collectively encouraging one another to see God as our greatest treasure.
David then contrasts this treasure in God with the empty promises of false gods. Verse 4 says, “The sorrows of those who run after another God shall multiply. I will not pour out or take their name on my lips.” Imagine an old weight scale: David places God on one side of the scale. On the other side, he places all the false gods of this world. The treasure of God outweighs the empty promises of this world every single time. Whether it is the blatant idols of the Old Testament like Baal or Molech, or the false gods of our day; money, sex, power, the approval of others, etc. God wins.
God is David’s portion and allotment (v.5-6). David has something far better than what this world has to offer. He has God himself. The reality of God as his greater treasure brings him to a place of contentment. Even in the midst of struggle, he is satisfied with God.
If God is your greatest treasure, your life will be marked by a supernatural contentment. You’ll be able to say with David, “God is my portion.” Or, as the Apostle Paul puts it in Philippians 4:12-13,
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Testing Our Treasure
Trials have a way of revealing what we treasure most. If we only see God as our treasure when life is good, then we are revealing that our ultimate treasure really isn’t God, but only in the gifts he gives. The heart that truly treasures God says, “You are my portion. You are my lot. I have no good apart from you. I may lose everything else. In fact, one day I will, but I will still have my treasure; you.”
Is God your greatest treasure? In his book God is The Gospel, John Piper gives a soul-searching way to help answer this important question:
The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?