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Rivers of delight

How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your rivers of delight. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. — Psalm 36:7-9

The differences between men and women have been well documented—and exaggerated!

We are told, with some justification, that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. But it should be pointed out that not all men and women fit neatly into these stellar stereotypes. Men have been sighted caring for infants and women now play rugby!

In the frontier days of America, men used to stand outside the doors of churches, purportedly to guard the worshiping women from marauding Natives. At least, that is what they claimed! Perhaps it was an effort to explain their traditional masculine disdain for religion and their assumption that spiritual activity was for women. “Men go to bars, women sit in pews!”—or so the thinking went.

This kind of spiritual stereotyping is not uncommon to this day. Many men today would have difficulty imagining what David was talking about when he said of the Lord, “All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your rivers of delight” (Psalm 36:7-8).

Talk of “shadow of your wings” and “rivers of delight” has too much of a feminine ring for testosterone-driven males. And yet it was David, who was not lacking in traditional masculinity, who penned these words.

He spoke of the Lord in contrast to his observations of men. His was a rugged life, which had included close encounters with “blind conceit,” the “sinful plots,” and the “crooked and deceitful” activities of men (36:2-4). He knew enough about the way “sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts” and the inability of the godless to “see how wicked they really are” (36:1-2) to recognize that men, for all their posturing, are not the masterful creatures they fondly imagine themselves to be.

There are qualities of character and experiences of life that men would do well to explore and discover. Qualities like unfailing love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice (36:5-6), which enrich the life and ennoble the soul. But for this to happen, men need “honest hearts” (36:10)—honest enough to admit need and deficiency, to confess sin and unrighteousness, to forsake postures of self-sufficiency, and to admit the need to take “shelter in the shadow of [his] wings” (36:7).

Men need hearts that confess to spiritual thirst and unabashedly turn to the one who is “the fountain of life, the light by which we see” (36:9). To do this is not to deny masculine uniqueness. It is to discover divine fullness.

For further study: Psalm 36

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.