How to Multiply Your Sorrows

In nearly every conceivable way, people in our world tend to flee from sorrow. Generally, we would much rather prefer to be happy, at peace, or simply left alone. Sorrow describes the dolorous feelings of loss, disappointment, and deep distress that we seek to be rid of if at all possible. So how could one be interested in how to multiply sorrow? There are indeed passages in the scriptures that describe the seemingly illogical concept of a person choosing to multiply sorrows upon themselves. Hopefully soon this will not seem so strange at all. Rather, it may be all too familiar.

Psalm 16 is a beautiful psalm of David, which is classified as an Individual psalm of trust. This type of psalm identifies God as the source of all of our trust and hope. “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (Ps. 4:8) In these psalms, however, is also expressed a lament for those men who would not trust in God. In Psalm 16 we find our topic in v.4: “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply.” In this one sentence we find the situation of most people in our world, including those who would call themselves true followers of God. In their mad race to accomplish much, to gain much, or to be seen by many, they instead multiply sorrows unto themselves.

What are you pursuing? What do you spend your waking moments thinking about? What is it that dominates your attention and thoughts during the day? What are the things that you decide to devote your time and effort to? News Flash: If the service of God isn’t your primary solitary pursuit, you are looking to multiply your sorrows! We must be people that decide that we will not turn aside “…neither to the right hand nor to the left.” (Josh.23:6) Joshua continues the thought in the following verse: “that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them.” (Joshua 23:7)

Isn’t this our problem though? Have we turned away from having God as a Solitary pursuit, and have allowed God to become our Primary pursuit (among other things)? Or worse, does the service of Almighty God even top the list of things that we pursue while on this earth? “You shall have no other gods before me” is literally the first commandment! (Ex. 20:2) We worship the same God that the Israelites surrounding Mt. Sinai worshipped, and He will not tolerate any sort of imagined competition for His attention among His servants. Sadly, however, so many in our world seek these other gods, they allow themselves to be bought with gadgets and hobbies and pursuits and relationships that creep higher and higher up the priority list, pushing God from the top of their minds and relegating Him just to the times whenever it seems convenient to them! How sad that some people think they pursue an eternal reward in the eternal presence of God, when HE scarcely crosses their minds outside of a worship service here on Earth!

David shows us that he will not associate himself with these other gods in the remainder of verse 4: “…their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.” In these words, David tells us how we may shun those things that we would put before God. We must be a people that does as David writes in the verses that follow, a people that “set the LORD always before (us)”. (v.8) We must learn to do this, because it is only through God that we can have the blessings that are written for us at the end of the psalm.

You make known to me the paths of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps. 16:11)