Concerning the state of man’s heart, Scripture tells us that “…every intention of the thoughts of his heart [is] only evil continually.”1 And in another place, the Lord tells us that “[man’s] heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick…”2 Hence, it is not surprising that we should read these words from David, for joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Paul explains that
… the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.3
Paul tells us that, among other things, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, and envy are all the works of the flesh. The fruit of the Spirit, on the other hand, includes joy. The man without Christ has a perverse joy at doing wicked, fighting tooth and nail to overthrow the moral order inherent to man’s very constitution, but this is not the joy of which David speaks. Rather, David’s joy is in God’s gracious and truthful nature. God is faithful to fulfill His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
7a. than they have when their grain and wine abound.
The “they” referenced here is the party mentioned above, i.e. Those who say “Who will show us any good?” Their joy, as we have mentioned, is not in God, the Lord who is Good and faithful to His Word, gracious toward His people – no, their joy is in their grain and wine abounding. In other words, their joy is in the abundance of material things that they have acquired. David’s joy stands in stark contrast to theirs, and serves to underscore what our own attitude should be in no matter how much or how little we have been given by the Lord. He has appointed the times and seasons for all things, and He has done so for the good of His church. Are we to rejoice then in the abundance of things we have? Or are we to rejoice in God’s love for sinners such as ourselves, who although we know God, and who although we have been redeemed by the precious blood of His Son Christ, nevertheless find reason to complain when our plans to have an abundance fail to come to succeed? Such is the attitude of the lost in this psalm, not the man of God.
But is there no grain and no wine for us to rejoice in? Is there no provision of bread and of the blood of grapes for us? Indeed, there is. For in the first place, our Lord likens His body to a grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies;4 and in the second place, our Lord speaks of His blood as wine poured out for us to partake of in remembrance of Him.5 Our joy is not in the abundance of earthly things we have, nor is it in the bread and wine we enjoy throughout our earthly sojourn. No. Our joy is in God, who has made us partakers of the bread of His Son’s broken body and the wine of His Son’s shed blood. So like David, let us remember that He is our exceedingly great reward,6 the portion of our inheritance and our cup.7
1Gen 6:5b; cf. 8:21b
2Jer 17:9 (emphasis added)
3Gal 5:19-23 (emphasis added)
4cf. John 12:24
5cf. Matt 26:27-28
6cf. Gen 15:1b (NKJV)
7cf. Ps 16:5; Gill: “This is said by Christ as a priest, and in allusion to the Levitical priests, who had no inheritance in the land of Canaan with their brethren, but the Lord was their part and portion, and their inheritance […] and it expresses the strong love and affection Christ had for the Lord as his God…”