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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Joy of the Lord

In the past few days, God has been teaching me this simple truth--He wants me to enjoy Him. I wonder if this might be the biggest thing He wants from me? I wonder if joy in the beloved is the pinnacle of love? Out of enjoying Him flows faith/trust, hope, obedience, thanksgiving, love for others, etc. The more I know about God (primarily through His Word), the more I realize how enjoyable He is and how He does satisfy me like no one and nothing else (including my sin)! I don't mean this in a trite way, that is I don't mean this in a way that does not acknowledge the real pain of this life. Today I listened to the testimony of a beautiful woman of God. I have not known her long and I do not know her well, but upon meeting her, I immediately noted that she has a quiet, sincere, deep-rooted love and joy that simply radiates from her. Today I was very surprised and saddened to hear that she lost her husband to a horrible and sudden bout of cancer some years ago. She is a widow and single mom. If anyone ought to be bitter or angry or incapacitated by grief, I would think it would be a woman who lost the love of her life to a painful and devastating disease and was consequently left to raise her children alone. Yet, this woman is anything but bitter, angry or incapacitated. Hearing her testimony just reminded me of how great God is. His greatness is greater than the devastation of the deepest heartache this world can bring. This is the only reason this woman could have a real (i.e. not fake, not conjured, not a facade) kind of joy, love, and peace that truly eminates from her. This woman knows what it is to be satisfied by God with a joy that supercedes circumstances, and I think this is because she has tasted that God is truly good:

Philippians4:4-7 "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

God wants joy for us! Our deepest joy is found in Him. Now that IS a light burden!

Matthew 11:28-29 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls"

I love this account from the book of Nehemiah. See how good God is, that He is glorified in the rejoicing of His people!:

Nehemiah 8:1-12 "And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel. 2So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. 5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. 6And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. 8They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
9And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. 10Then he said to them, "Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 11So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved." 12And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them."

Dear Heavenly Father, Please help us to know you more, so that we can enjoy you more! Give us an ever-increasing hunger for your Word because it is how we can know you and your glorious character! Open our eyes to see you! Thank you for revealing yourself to be utterly enjoyable in a way that supercedes circumstances. Thank you that you want joy for us! What a Loving, Kind and Gracious God you are! In Jesus Name, Amen

1 comment:

Heather said...

That is amazing!

PS - I think you should email a link to this post to her - she would be so touched and encouraged by your words!