June 13, 2013 my daughter Abrielle Joy was born. Up to this point I had never considered that I would have children, much less a daughter. And yet there she was, tiny, alert, and full of energy. I was so proud of my wife! I was so humbled that she would have carried our daughter for all those months, through morning sickness and other complications, to this birthing moment. I can say that that was one of the most joyous moments of my life.
What is Joy? According to Galatians 5:22 it is one of the evidences of a life submitted to the Holy Spirit. Joy is an emotion birthed by the Spirit.
I heard someone distinguish between joy and happiness. For this person, happiness was dependent upon what happens, and therefore was circumstantial. And so apparently joy for them was based on something higher than simply what happens to me.
What brings God joy? If we are in God’s image, and we can experience joy, does the Bible demonstrate God’s joy? What brings God’s joy?
Sorrow for Sin
Nehemiah and friends had just read to the Israelites the recovered Law of God. When the people heard it, they wept, because they realized they had not been keeping it. It was then that Nehemiah said:
Neh 8:10 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.
The chedvâh, the rejoicing and gladness, of the Lord was supposed to be enough for them to stop weeping. God was more happy to see their sorrow for sin than He was for judging them as sinners, and so the text says God rejoiced and was was glad.
The story of the talents in Matthew shows how Jesus views those who are faithful with the gifts God has given.
Mat 25:21, 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Apparently ‘chara’, the cheerfulness and calm delight or pride, of the Lord is something that can be entered into. It is almost as if God’s joy is an environment in which we find rest and peace. Our joy can influence an environment, but it cannot be an environment. God’s joy here seems to create an atmosphere of cheerfulness and calm delight in which we find peace and security
In this story, God likens himself to a woman, who has lost a most valuable coin. When she finds it she throws a party, celebrating the fact that she has found what was valuable to her.
Luk 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
This passage is not saying that the angels are celebrating, but that there is One who is celebrating in their midst the salvation of someone He values! God’s joy is visibly expressed, and is observed by angels every time some accepts Jesus! God Themself begin to celebrate!
Jesus is giving His farewell speech to the disciples before His Passion, and he promises them that if they keep His commandments, they will abide in His love, as He obeyed the Father and abides in His love
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. (11) These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. (12) This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Love in these verses is agape. The joy Jesus wants to remain in us is the joy He felt knowing we would be saved by His sacrifice. He goes on to promise that our joy will be full, yet this joy is only if we abide in His love by keeping His commandments. And what is this commandment that by keeping we abide in love and secure our joy? It is the command to agape, sacrificial love! We are the most satisfied when we do for other people! Loving Sacrifice is Jesus Joy!
On September 9, 2011 Melissa and I were married at the courthouse, and on December 30, 2011, we walked down the aisle. When I stood up there, waiting for Melissa to come, I began to cry. I was so grateful that she had agreed to marry me, I was so happy to actually be her husband, that I cried. When she began to walk down the aisle however, I straightened up and wiped my face. I didn’t want to mess this up for her; I wanted to make sure I did my part correctly...no tripping, falling over, or passing out. However, my desire to get it right didn’t translate to her as my loving her. She WANTED me to cry, weep aloud, to shout, because for her that showed how much I loved her!
In Genesis 1 we see God’s joy in creation. God made everything by His spoken Word. Everything he made he said was “good”, and when he made humanity, God called us “very good”. The God, with the joy that can only come from accomplishing a task mixed with that of a new father, had a Sabbath celebration over his creation. And yet when God redeems humanity from sin, the Bible says the following:
Zep 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice (be bright and gleeful) over thee with joy (the mirth and pleasure of a religious festival); he will rest in his love, he will joy (to spin around)over thee with singing.
If God created the world in 6 days simply by speaking, and when He was done he called it “very good”, what will He create once He has finalizes His salvation of humanity, rids the universe of sin, and begins to sing? What will it be like to have God dance over you? Over YOU? How hard, how passionately has God worked to save you? How His love for us must defy our understanding! How beautiful will the universe be when God creates “all things new” by singing and dancing with joy? We know that God’s voice sounds like thunder in conversation. How beautiful will his joyous singing voice be?