Thursday, June 2, 2016

Some scriptures about pleasure

For curiosity’s sake, I thought I would look pleasure up in the Topical Guide to see what could be found there.  Here is what I found, organized a bit to put similar insights together.

·      I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure … this also is vanity: Eccl. 2:1 .
·      lovers of pleasures more than … God: 2 Tim. 3:4 .
·      And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with…pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. Luke 8:14 .
·      For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient…serving divers lusts and pleasures: Titus 3:3 .
·      she that liveth in pleasure is dead: 1 Tim. 5:6 .
·      He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: Prov. 21:17 .
·      Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? the day of your fast ye find pleasure: Isa. 58:3 .
·      Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton: James 5:5 .
·      And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time: 2 Pet. 2:13 .
·      ye … have pleasure in unrighteousness: D&C 56:15 .
·      Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound: Acts 24:27 .
·      Laman and Lemuel thought Nephi meant to make himself king so he could do with his brothers according to his own will and pleasure. (1 Ne. 16:38)

I get the sense from the above scriptures that pleasure can be dangerous, that they tend to distract us from God, that and that it is possible to find pleasure in the wrong kinds of things.  In particular, I was struck by Ecclesiastes 2:1, which implies that our pleasures prove what kind of people we are.

God, on the other hand, has His own special brand of pleasure, which we can find out about.

for thy pleasure they are and were created: Rev. 4:11 .
the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his [Christ’s] hand: Isa. 53:10 .
God adopts the Saints to himself through Jesus Christ according to his will and pleasure (Eph. 1:5)
It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom: Luke 12:32 .
The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him: Ps. 147:11 .
I make known unto them [that fear and serve me to the end] the good pleasure of my will concerning all things: D&C 76:5, 7
Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: Ps. 51:18 .
Who buildeth up at his own will and pleasure: D&C 63:4 .
Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant: Ps. 35:27 .
these things [scriptures] shall go forth according to the will and pleasure of God (2 Ne. 25:22)
according to mine own will and pleasure, that great things be required at the hand of their fathers. (D&C 29:48)

From the above, I get the sense that the Lord takes pleasure in every stage of the work of salvation, from the creation, to the atonement, to conversion, to placing the kingdom in the hands of his righteous servants, to revealing his will, and in all that serve him.

What does the Lord not have pleasure in?

·      When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: Eccl. 5:4 .
·      thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: Ps. 5:4 .   
·      Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die: Ezek. 18:23 .

I also ran across a great example of Moses, who, according to Paul (Heb 11:24-25), chose to forsake pleasure and his high status as Pharaoh’s daughter’s son in exchange for affliction just to be with the people of God.  You have to give him credit for priorities in the right place and great strength of purpose.  How many of us are willing to sacrifice our pleasures like that?

One of the things I learn from this study is how important it is to find pleasure in the right things (things of eternity). I also learn that it is important to have some, but not to overdo the harmless temporary pleasures of life.  The Family Proclamation lists “wholesome recreational activities” as one of a list of important principles of establishing successful families. When I think of recreation, I like to read it as “re-creation,” as a way to re-create bonds of unity and re-create strength.  That gives a good way to judge the quality of my pleasure and fun.