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What satisfies a person says a lot about them.  It says what they value, what they ultimately desire, what they think is the goal of their life.  Essentially, what a person sees as their satisfaction will control their lives because we all actively pursue satisfaction.  David’s speaks of the contrast of satisfaction between the wicked and the righteous in Psalm 17…

Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him!
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
from men by your hand, O LORD,
from men of the world whose portion is in this life.
You fill their womb with treasure;
they are satisfied with children,
and they leave their abundance to their infants.
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
(Psalm 17:13-15 ESV)

According to David, the wicked men who are oppressing him have their satisfaction “in this life”.  They are focused on temporal success: money, family, prestige, etc.  And to some degree, they achieve satisfaction.  They have large families, which were a major status symbol of the day, and “abundance” of wealth to leave to their heirs.  This is enough for the wicked.

Now contrast what David says about himself.  His satisfaction is future oriented.  It is to behold the face of God – to have the fullest experience of the presence of God.  This is available to a degree in this life, but can only be fully realized in the next.  This is why David says “when I awake I shall be satisfied with your likeness”.  To “awake” is not from ordinary sleep, but rather, from the sleep of death.  David is confident that his ultimate satisfaction will be found beyond this life, when he awakes in the presence of God and is completely fulfilled by seeing the likeness of the Lord.

What David is expressing here is faith.  The organizing principle of his life is not achievable in this life, but is based on a future promise.  He is able to endure his suffering at the hands of others, because they cannot touch what he is ultimately satisfied in.  They can take his family, his money, even his life, but they cannot take the presence of God and the future fulfillment of that presence away from him.

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