Hebrew Highlights 35 – JOY OF THE LORD
Shalom. This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
NEH 8:10 Then he said to them, "Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
This last phrase, “the joy of the Lord is your strength", is used in many songs, and has indeed become almost a cliché. Sometimes we use it in the same way we might say, “be warmed and be filled”. It is however, a very serious statement, and a genuine blessing to pronounce on people, when our heart is really in it. We see another reference to this joy in 1CH 16:23-27, “Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place.”
The question one may ask is, “Are strength and joy in our place?”. What I mean to say is this. We may sometimes dream of the day when we meet the Lord in his place. We probably imagine walking into His palace in heaven, down a long isle, passing angels and saints on either side, approaching His throne, and kneeling before Him. We can feel the strength and majesty all around us. Do we also feel the joy.
It could be that it’s normal, even proper, to imagine entering the palace of our Heavenly Father, and seeing ourselves as unworthy. After all, it is only by the redeeming grace of Yeshua, that we can enter at all. Yet, I think we may find, somewhat surprisingly, that our overwhelmingly prominent emotion at the time will be joy.
Joy, that we have finally arrived, joy that we are in God’s presence, and the joy of the brethren around us.
Remember that the kingdom of God is already here. When people enter “our place”, do they feel joy, strength, splendor, and refuge? Actually, I know that they sometimes do. Of course, we aren’t perfect, but many times, visiting unbelievers, who are not used to the things of the kingdom, sense a majesty in our home, that we often take for granted. It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit fills our “place”, even on our less-than-perfect days.
Maybe we should actually practice joy. I don’t mean faking it, but remembering to receive it. I think the Lord is happy to see us when we start our day with Him. He is happy to heal us, forgive us, and take our burdens. If we just receive His joy, it can be ours all day, or at least until we need to repent again, and “reboot” our joy disc.
Lets take a brief look at two more passages: PRO 15:13 A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. And then in PRO 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Consider those around us who could use cheering up. If our heart is joyful, our happiness will be contagious. Remember though, joy is gentle, and heals in its own time. Don’t be silly or obtuse when someone nearby is hurting. Let your joy sink in slowly, like a soothing salve.
You probably remember the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. A christian version my say, “Don’t be under condemnation, receive His joy.”
I bid you a joyful Shalom, Shalom, from Jerusalem