In this Psalm the Psalmist is praying to God to vindicate and protect him from his enemies. He is looking to God as his refuge. But if we only see God like this – as a vindicator, protector or a refuge – we miss the beauty and the wonder of Him. And to the Psalmist He is more. It is not just about what God does. It is about who He is.
What is God to us? That is a huge question. It is a question for everyone since in some way, shape or form all of us have to deal with God. Do we come to Him merely because of what he does for us? I love my wife. I love all of the things that she does for me. But it is not in those things that I find that love for her. I love her because she is the one I love. I love my kids. I love them because they are my kids. I don’t base that love on whether or not they love me (but they do). I don’t base that love on their looks or talent or personality or success or even their faith being the same as mine. I love them. And so they are a joy to me.
But, above all of these joys in our lives, above all of the things that in this life are a delight to me, above all that the world has to offer, above everything, is there a joy that exceeds all of the others? Is there a joy that is greater than my wife or my kids? Is there a joy that is greater than my possessions or my country or my work?
What is God to us? Is He the one who saves us? Is He the one who is all wonderful, powerful, beautiful and glorious? He is certainly all of these and much more. But is He our “exceeding joy?” Is He the one in whom is all our delight? Is He everything to us?
Or, is He something less?
As I age I am finding that there are fewer and fewer things that bring real joy. Well, it might be better to say that I am discovering the difference between real joy and pleasure or even happiness. And I am more and more thankful and appreciative of those few important things. And even in these joys I think that I am learning to finding God as my exceeding joy because these other, lesser joys are His good gifts to me. Maybe this is wisdom.