Count it all joy
Count it all as joy
Nehemiah told the people the joy of the Lord that the joy of the Lord was their strength. “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10 KJV).
And in Nehemiah 12:43, we read the people offered great sacrifices and rejoiced, “so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.” As I read that verse, I could imagine the sound that was going out from Jerusalem. The sounds of joy echoed across the valleys and mountains like a mighty roaring. Can you see people “afar off” turning toward Jerusalem as they heard the shouts of rejoicing. I’m sure it rose above every other sound as it was amplified in the heavens – more so than the sound of cheering at the ball game.
Joy is mentioned some 161 times in the Bible, in addition to the rejoicing and gladness manifested. In the Old Testament, there was joy after victory, at the building of the temple and the restoration of the walls, keeping the dedication of the temple and keeping the feast, and yes, when offering were given willingly. Now that is beautiful – to see offerings being brought into the House of the Lord with joy. Don’t you just love to participate in giving – the heart is full of joy and it just spills over and you just wish you had more to give. You know the Word tells us that God loves a cheerful giver –that special joy just swallows you up because the giving comes from a perfect heart. (1 Chronicles 29:9 KJV) “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”
Job, in all of his troubles, talked about Joy. And David’s focus in his writing of the Psalms especially, is on joy. And when he lost that joy, he cried out to God, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (Psalm 51:12 KJV). He realized without the joy of the Lord, he was nothing.
Isaiah proclaimed “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). In Isaiah 29:19, he wrote “The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD.” Don’t you love the song he gives us (Isaiah 51:11) about returning with joy? “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”
Much joy was expressed at the birth of Jesus and joy came with the resurrection of Christ. Our joy, our hope, our strength, our faith is secure in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Jesus himself emphasized joy with receiving the Word, faithfulness, obedience – with the reward, “Enter into the joy of the Lord.” And He tells the disciples there is joy in heaven over a sinner repenting.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22 KJV), and James goes so far as to say, “Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2 KJV).
Jude 1:24-25 sums it up for us — “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
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