Today's Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou has broken may rejoice.”
Psalm 51: 8
King James Version
“Why God Loved David?” Part IX
“Joy is the natural outcome of the Christian’s obedience to the revealed will of God.”
Is there a time in my life when I found myself living a life without joy because I was not walking within the will of God?
Looking at my life, what times in my personal history have been the most joy-filled?
Have I found a spirit of gladness filling my life as I have followed God’s leading and purpose for me?
“Our Joy Is God”
“Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no number. And man desires to praise Thee. He is but a tiny part of all that Thou hast created. He bears about him his mortality, the evidence of his sinfulness, and the evidence that Thou dost resist the proud: yet this tiny part of all that Thou past created desires to praise Thee.
Thou dost so excite him that to praise Thee is his joy. For Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.
For there is a joy which is not given to the ungodly but only to those who love Thee for Thy own sake, whose joy is Thyself. And this is happiness, to be joyful in Thee and for Thee and because of Thee, this and no other. Those who think happiness is any other, pursue a joy that is apart from Thee and is no true joy.”
“Joy has its spring deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy.”
Samuel Dickey Gordon
Many years ago, when I was a young, single girl, I will honestly admit that following a purpose-filled life, laid out by my heavenly Father, for a number of years, held little appeal to me. Looking back on that time in my life, one of the deep emotions that I have come to recognize was missing was an inner joy. You may understand what I’m talking about for there is truly a joy that the world doesn’t give us, and furthermore, it is a joy the world can’t take away from us either, that is missing when we think we can manage on our own.
Our text today is all about this abiding joy and it is obvious that David also found out that all the women in the world; all the victories on the battlefield; and all the wealth that came with the power of being king, were not good enough to fill him with a joy that was absent when he had all the “things” his heart could desire.
This fact is why we see Hollywood stars and business titans, who can snap their fingers and get anything they want or need, taking mountains of drugs or acquiring more and more of whatever it is they believe will satisfy an unfulfilled desire, and yet, they still aren’t filled with joy.
After David’s affair with Bathsheba, what David found out was that not only did he need God’s mercy, forgiveness and redemption, but David also had a yearning in his heart for God to give him back a treasured gift he had lost. C. C. Colton wrote, “To be simply ensconced in God is true joy.” The word ensconced means: “To be settled comfortably or securely in a safe place.” David learned the hard way that when he decided he could handle his own life, his own way – he became unsettled, uncomfortable and insecure. He was no longer “ensconced” in the safety and security of his Father’s protective love. This happens to us too when we disconnect ourselves from our Father. We become unhooked from the “Source” of our everlasting joy. It’s really very simple. However, the results can be devastating to our lives, especially our emotional lives.
G. A. Studdert Kennedy observed that “Joy is the wine that God is ever pouring into the hearts of those who strive with Him, lighting their eye to vision… strengthening their arms to warfare glad and grim.” In this particular statement, we find the real truth about joy. Joy and gladness, which David wrote his Father about in Psalm 51: 8, doesn’t mean we are problem free or pain free. It means we are never, “Father-Free.” Our Father is always with us! And it is the continual presence of our eternal Father, who is with us in every moment of our lives which allows us to live in joy and gladness.
To better understand the joy that David wanted in his life again, I went to the New Testament to the book of Romans where the Apostle Paul wrote to his friends, “May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing through the experience of your faith” (Romans 15: 13, Amplified Bible). Just in case we get the wrong idea that life was all “peaches and cream” for Paul, he reminds us in
II Corinthians 11: 24 that “Five times I received forty lashes but one. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once. I was stoned. Three times I have been aboard a ship wrecked at sea; a whole night and a day I have spent adrift on the deep.” This isn’t all. Paul continued with a detailed listing of the hardships he sustained and then he says something interesting. “The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ knows, He Who is blessed and to be praised forevermore” (II Corinthians 11: 31, Amplified Bible). Exactly where does the praise and joy come from that Paul could draw on in the bitterest of times? It came from God’s river of joy, which is present in our lives when we are living in the way of our Father. As Samuel Gordon penned, “Joy has its spring deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy.”
I love the story found in John 4: 5-34. It is about a desperate woman who came to a well in the city of Samaria where she happened to run into a man named Jesus. Believe it or not, this Samaritan woman had a lot in common with David. They were both serial adulterers. They both longed for a better life. They both were hunting for mercy. And they both found a Saviour. When you look at these two people, separated by time and cultures-- it gets you to thinking about how alike we all are! When we get to the heart of the matter – the eternal matter – we all need the same thing – mercy and a Saviour.
As we get to know the Samaritan woman, and see how she tapped into what Jesus promised her, “a well of water springing up…that would never run dry,” we find that something happened to this lonely girl who came to the city well by herself in the noonday heat because she was an outcast. As soon as this precious daughter of God dipped her cup into her Father’s spring of life – she got more than a drink of living water – she was filled with joy.
As I was working on this devotional something struck me about the story of the woman at the well, something I’d never thought about before! I think that just possibly, the reason the whole town turned out to see Jesus wasn’t that the Samaritan woman asked them to. It was because these townsfolk had never seen anyone so joyful before – especially this societal cast away. When they saw this lonely, depressed, forgotten daughter of God overflowing with a joy unlike anything they had ever seen before, they looked at each other and said, “I want what she has. I want to go meet the person who gave her this gift.” The great reformer Martin Luther said that a Christian “ought to be a living doxology.” Joy should simply ooze out of us! I really like what the old-time evangelist Billy Sunday said about joy. “If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere!”
Heaven’s joy was what the woman at the well found when she came to Jesus and accepted His gift of living water. This is the gift of joy that David wanted back in his life. He thought he had lost it so he went to his Father and told Him, “I want Your gift of joy back within me again!” No wonder God loved David so much, for when we come to our “Dad” with our cups empty, He promises to fill them to overflowing with a joy that will help us weather all the storms of life.
“Joy is like a well containing sweet water. It is not enough to know the water is there or even to drill the well. If the well is to be useful, the water must be brought to the surface. Those who know Christ have found the source of joy.”
Charles R. Hembree
“Joy Is the Flag Flown High Over My Heart”
“Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart,
from the castle of my heart,
from the castle of my heart.
Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart
When the King is in residence there.
So let it fly in the sky, let the whole world know,
Let the whole world know, let the whole world know.
So let it fly in the sky, let the whole world know
That the King is in residence there.”
Chorus of unknown origin
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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