For your consideration…
The Joy of the Lord is not optional.
In scripture we find certain expectations given concerning behavior and response, initially towards the children of Israel, and later towards the followers of Christ in the New Testament. Isaiah 65:13,14 is one of these places.
Isaiah 65:13,14 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.
The Joy of the Lord far outweighs our suffering!
Throughout scripture we are made aware of the fact that we are only here temporarily. Our lives are but a vapour. We are aliens, sojourners, pilgrims, so then the momentary afflictions, that we must endure, though weighty at times and most assuredly real, should not dissuade us from our goal nor from our disposition- which is one of Joy in the Lord. Our affirmation is not of, nor does it originate from this world, nor should it. Our affirmation comes from Jesus Christ. He alone is our joy, our longing, our hope and our promise. If we derive any of these encouragements from any other source we are in jeopardy of failure as all other sources will at some future juncture disappoint and leave us empty and hollow. But not so with the Lord, for He provides all things for us.
Isaiah points to the primary reason for our joy originating from the Lord; Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
The Joy of the Lord motivates me, encourages me, protects me.
We like Nehemiah are often quick to say, “the Joy of the Lord is my strength”. (Nehemiah 8:10) Do we live in this strength? Do we exhibit this joy?
Looking at Isaiah again, remember here is a prophet speaking several hundred years before Jesus. And yet, he speaks of the rejoicing and finding great strength and promise in the salvation of the Lord.
Isaiah 12:1-6 And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. 5 Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. 6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.
The Lord is my strength, my song; I will sing and rejoice and praise Him! Why? Because He has done great things! He is my salvation! A wretched sinner am I, an enemy of God- putrid and decaying in this dead flesh- not even looking for God and He came to me and He offered to me, life and His love. Why should we have joy? Right there is why. If you have no other reason in life; if you cannot find one single solitary reason beyond your having been given the precious gift of salvation, then that alone is reason enough to awaken every morning with JOY UNSPEAKABLE AND FULL OF GLORY!
You say you have salvation. You say you are redeemed of God. Then let the redeemed say so. Earlier we read in Isaiah 65 where God said, “My Servants” shall eat (be fed); They shall drink (be nourished); They shall rejoice (be strong); and sing for JOY (be ALIVE!) Are you, alive?
The following proverbs say something interesting, it seems our mouths have something to do with our satisfaction and joy.
Proverbs 12:14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth…
Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth…
What is coming out of your mouth? Joyful praise to the One who has clothed you with salvation. Honoring speech reflecting the One who has covered you in His righteousness? Words that demonstrate the beauty of holiness which must spill from within as you are continually filled by that never-ending fountain flowing from Christ?
If no, why not?
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
2 Corinthians 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
Again I ask, if not, why not? These promises and assurances are given for all God’s people.