“They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; and You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. (Psalm 36:8)
Speaking of those who have been touched by the grace of God (:7), the present verse describes the pleasures which those who take refuge in God experience. And it does it in very expressive terms:
The phrase “river of Your delights” is a rich one. “River” in Hebrew is “torrent” (BDB). And “delights” is a Hebrew word (“edenica”) which means “bliss, dainty, delight (BDB). Interestingly, the latter word is used in the following contexts in the Old Testament:
— Genesis 18:12 of Sarah, who laughed, “after I am old, shall I experience ‘pleasure’?”
— In II Samuel 1:24, Saul clothed Israel with “luxuries”.
— Jer. 51:24 describes how Nebuchadnezzar filled his belly with God’s “delicacies.”
— and then it is used here of the delights of worshiping God.
So we see that the Hebrew word here is used to describe 4 varied kinds of “delights”: sexual pleasure, material luxury, culinary taste — and spiritual worship.
It is instructive to us that God gave us these examples to help us understand “the joy that is set before us.” What we will receive from the Lord is somewhat comparable to the aforementioned earthly pleasures — only magnificently better! In fact, that word “edenica” is related to the word translated “Eden” in Genesis’ description of the original garden where God placed Adam & Eve. Eden was, literally speaking, the “Garden of Delights”. This is what mankind lost in our sin — but is also what we regain when we receive God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Through Him we may begin to taste now in worship, and will forever drink in heaven, from the “torrents” of the river of inconceivable delights which God has awaiting us in heaven!