The Joy of the Lord

BIBLICAL JOY ranges from being calmly content and happy to being beside oneself spinning around violently with shrieks of joyous emotion.

The Psalmist said “I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices, my flesh also shall rest in hope…in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand… pleasures forevermore” (Psalms 16:8-11). One aspect of God’s presence is joy.

Peter referred to believers having joy unspeakable and full of glory. 1 Peter 1:8

David danced before the Lord with all his might. He danced and leaped before the Lord, losing his linen ephod garment. 2 Samuel 6:12-23

Nehemiah told the people the “joy”, the “rejoicing” of the Lord was their strength.

Nehemiah 8:10 (Quoted definitions are taken from Strong’s Concordance.)

The Psalmist told how when the Lord turned the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream, then was our mouth filled with “laughter”, “meriment”. He wrote that those who sow in tears shall reap in “joy”, “a creaking shrill shout”. He who goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with “rejoicing”, with “creaking shrill shouts of joy”, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalms 126:2, 5, 6

Isaiah declared that with “joy”, with “cheerfulness”, shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation. He said to the inhabitant of Zion to cry out and “shout”, meaning with a “stridulous” voice i.e. a “loud, harsh, grating, shrill” sound, “for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee”.  Isaiah 12:3, 6

Zephaniah told the daughter of Zion to “sing”, “shout”, “be glad” and “rejoice” with all the heart. Biblically defined, that is to “creak, emit a stridulous sound, cry out greatly”, “brighten up, make blithe or gleesome”, and “jump for joy, exult” with all the heart. Why? Because the Lord has taken away our judgments, and he has cast out our enemy.  The Lord is in the midst of us, so our focus is not on the enemy any more, but on the Lord. That is the secret place of the Most High in which there is great peace, joy, and rejoicing in believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and yielding to the Spirit of God.

He goes on to tell the church to fear not, and let not your hands be slack. In other words, get on with the work of God in the power and presence of God, reaching the world with a joyous demonstration of the healing, delivering, saving power and goodness of God through Jesus Christ.

Then he declares the Lord your God in your midst is “mighty”, like a “powerful, warring tyrant” to save and deliver. He rejoices to do this with “joy”, with “blithesome glee”. He will rest in his love, he will “joy” over you, he will “spin around under violent emotion” with “singing”, with a creaking shrill shout of joyous triumph. Nehemiah 3:14-17

This is the Biblically defined joy of the Lord, the same joy of the Lord that is our strength. When we become partakers of this joy, it goes beyond the natural.

Jesus “rejoiced” in spirit – “to jump for joy, exult”. Luke 10:21; Hebrews 1:9

Paul said if he was “beside himself” it was to God – “to put out of wits, become astounded, insane” 2 Corinthians 5:13

On the day of Pentecost, the believers were so joyous and liberated, the onlookers thought all the disciples were drunk (Acts 2:13). Peter quoted Psalms 16:8-11 explaining what was going on. “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad” – glad means to “jump for joy, exult”. They were “full of joy with thy countenance” Acts 2:28. The presence of God can bring Biblical reactions and responses of a demonstration of radically extreme supernatural joy in believers.

Acts 8:8 and 13:52 tells how there was great joy pervading the city, and the disciples were filled with joy. This could be mild to radically extreme joy.

Acts 3:8; 5:41; 16:34 are other passages indicating the rejoicing and joy of the early believers.

Paul wrote in Philippians 4:4 to “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice.” That means to “to be full of cheer, that is, calmly happy or well off…be well”.

We see a whole spectrum of varying degrees of joy throughout the Bible. God can move on his people with his supernatural joy for the purpose of filling with the Spirit and liberating them. It is an operation of the second part of the fruit of the Spirit. There is love, JOY, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance – God moves to stir and exercise each part of this fruit in his people for the liberation of his people and for ministry purposes, to reach the world with the healing, delivering power of Jesus.

Can flesh and the devil manipulate and operate and try to duplicate the operation of God? It/he always has and it/he always will. Does that mean we should just shut the operation of God down for fear of the flesh and the devil? Absolutely not!

What we are to do is to allow God to move and judge each part of the operation as we move with God in the flow of his Spirit. In that,we can observe in time:

Does it praise and magnify the Lord Jesus and Father God?

Does it work to bring about outreach to others with the good news of Jesus?

Or, does it become an end in itself bringing attention to the people, and stopping there, instead of the people going on to bring attention to Jesus? The day of Pentecost brought the onlookers attention to the believers, but the believers brought the onlookers attention to the scriptural power of the Holy Spirit and to the suffering Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified and resurrected because of their sins. With that, the convicted onlookers were called to repent, be baptized, and receive the promise of the Spirit themselves.        

The heart of God is to reach the world with the healing delivering gospel of Jesus Christ. He said to go preach the gospel to every creature. This was the last message he left to the church before he ascended. Bodily healing and deliverance and remission of sins are presented together in the operation of this gospel of the kingdom of God. The Bible way is for healing and salvation to operate together.

Nobody desires a sad, sick, Savior or a sad, sick, representative of that Savior. The early church was not sad and sick. They were filled with healing, health, and joy and had “favor” (“graciousness, gratitude”) with the people, and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2:47).

God wants us to be filled with joy, liberated in the power of his Spirit, and in the leadership of the Spirit, freely sharing healing, casting out devils, raising the dead, and bringing salvation, everywhere we go. We are to freely receive and freely give the good news gospel of Jesus Christ in the joyous power of God to all people. Matthew 10:7, 8                                           Jackie Calhoun