Psa. 46:4 ¶ There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
Far too often, the missing ingredient in the church is joy. As C.S. Lewis famously said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven”. Jonathan Edwards also said, “Heaven is a world of love”. Being loved is the source of our Christian joy. Heaven is a place of joy because it is a world of love. So what about this happy river that David sang about? The river is a picture of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us a foretaste of heaven, an actual taste of what heaven is like.
Are you beginning to connect the dots? Joy is connected to God’s love and the Holy Spirit is the outpouring of God’s love. If that is true, the River of God, the Holy Spirit, flows through His church and fills His church with an abundance of joy. Here is how Augustine saw it some 1600 years ago.
“ When the mountains shake, when the sea rages, God deserteth not His City, by the streams of the river. What are these streams of the river? That overflowing of the Holy Spirit, of which the Lord said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, out of his bosom shall flow rivers of living water.” These rivers then flowed out of the bosom of Paul, Peter, John, the other Apostles, the other faithful Evangelists. Since these rivers flowed from one river, many “streams of the river make glad the City of God.” For that ye might know this to be said of the Holy Spirit, in the same Gospel next said the Evangelist, “But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that were to believe on Him should receive. For the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” Jesus being glorified after His Resurrection, glorified after His Ascension, on the day of Pentecost came the Holy Spirit, and filled the believers, who spake with tongues, and began to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. Hence was the City of God made glad…”
So maybe what our church, or every church, needs is more of the Holy Spirit. David was familiar with the River of the Holy Spirit. He sang about the presence, prophesied by the power of the Spirit, conquered armies by God’s power, and even danced with all his might in the presence of the Lord. So let’s be about that serious business of heaven, step into the river and maybe you will be dancing too.