God’s Word and Joy

The law of the LORD is perfect reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring for ever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them you servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 19.7-11

Joy is something very special. It lifts our spirits. It turns our thinking in good directions. It produces laughter and fun. When the people of Israel came together for their various festivals they did so with joy as they celebrated God’s goodness and faithfulness.

Sadly however joy can be an ephemeral thing. Here one moment and gone the next as the world throws many situations and experiences at us that can cause joy to turn suddenly to sadness. Death, illness, rejection by others, plans turned upside down.

However the testimony of thousands of God’s people through history is that there is a joy that is not dependant on our circumstances and cannot be taken away from us – namely the joy of being in Christ and being loved by him.

I have just been reading a biography of the Rev. Charles Simeon born 1759 died 1836, who ministered the gospel in Cambridge where he was Vicar of Holy Trinity Church throughout his adult life while also being instrumental in nation and worldwide ministry. His was an astonishing life which laid many foundations which we still benefit from today.

Towards the end of his earthly life, while preparing for one of his many journeys in the cause of the gospel he remarked as follows.

The Lord knows that I am thinking and longing, to a certain degree, for a far better journey, which in a few days, I shall take; but I find it difficult to realise the thought that I am so near the eternal world; I cannot imagine what a spirit is, I have no conception of it. But I rejoice in the thought, that my coffin is already cut down, and in the town at this very time; of this I have no doubt: – and my shroud is also ready; and in a few days I shall join the company of the redeemed above.

That is joy that cannot be taken away! Simeon was a contemporary of John Newton who wrote these lines in his great hymn – Glorious things of thee are spoken.

‘solid joys and lasting treasure, none but Zion’s children know’          

And the source of joy for them, and all who have gone before and all who will follow after is revealed in God’s precepts which are right and give joy to the heart.

Yet again Psalm 19 gives us indisputable reasons for immersing ourselves in God’s Word!

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