The Dancing Puritan

Sunday, August 4, 2013

How Playing Glorifies God

Are you overwhelmed and astonished by the greatness and goodness of God? I find, that too often, I am not. Do you want to live in a deeper awareness of God? The best remedy for a distracted and anxious heart is to meditate deeply on the Psalms.

One of the awe-inspiring truths about God is that he gives us what is necessary (food, clothing, and shelter) and he gives us that which is simply designed to make us smile (wine and face oil). Psalm 104 must have been the inspiration for the children's blessing, God is great and God is good . . .

God is great!  He is very great (104:1). He is great in his clothing of splendor and majesty (1) and in his  power in creating, sustaining, and utilizing creation (3-4). God is good. He provides refreshment for thirsty and hungry animals. He created work for man to do. He gives wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen man's heart (15). God gives external means that cultivates a joyful heart and a shining face.

Psalm 104 tells us that God gives wine, oil, and bread but he also gives play.

Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it (26).

Leviathan, the sea creature, was created to glorify God by playing in the sea. When Leviathan splashed in the water--God smiled. If you are a dad you know what that is like, don't you? You look out of your window and see your children running and playing and you smile. Your heart is filled with happiness at the happiness of your children. You find your joy in their joy. God is the author of such an attitude. He delights when his children delight in him by using and enjoying his gifts.

Some of God's gifts have as their primary purpose the happiness of his children. Such is the case with wine. It is clear from the passage that the purpose of wine reaches beyond merely being necessary for survival. One of the reasons for wine is to gladden the heart of man. Though happiness is first of all an internal matter and is not dependent on external circumstances, God gives external means that help to cultivate internal gladness.

God is great and God is good.

A Prayer

Lord, I want to be so overwhelmed with you that I stand in amazement and with a heart of perpetual thanksgiving for your greatness displayed in creation and your goodness in providing for my needs. I desire a heart that wells up with gladness over the thought that you give to me not only what is necessary, but also that which is also designed to simply work for my gladness. It is difficult for me to fathom that you are concerned not only that I am supplied with all of my needs but that you are glorified when, like the Leviathan, I can splash in the water and play for your glory. You smile when my heart is glad in you. You provide food for me to eat and you provide the excitement of the hunt so that I can go and kill and dress the beast. You provide the skill so that my wife can then take the beast, season it, cook it, and serve it up. You dazzle me with the glorious sunrise and sunset, with the vastness of the ocean, with the energy of my children, and with the beauty of my wife.  I loathe my complaining, anxious, restless, and discontented heart.  Please forgive me. Please give me fresh eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to love, and a fresh awareness of your power and your presence. Help me to learn what it means to live for your glory when I work and when I play. My heart is heavy burdened with the cares of this life. My feet are like weights that shackle me to the ground. Let my feet dance, my voice sing, and my heart delight in your greatness and your goodness. Cleanse me, renew me, help me, and change me.