“Make a joyful noise!”
Joy is a very important subject in God’s Word. Words like joy, joyful, rejoice are found over 300 times in the Bible.
God makes it very clear, particularly in the Psalms, that He wants His people to be noisy when they are joyful. What the Lord desires is for us to make an outward, vocal expression of the joy with which He has filled our hearts!
Of course, this rejoicing is beyond the mere sound or rejoicing for rejoicing’s sake. It is as we read in Psalm 47:7: “Sing ye praises with understanding.” The rejoicing is the product of knowledge–knowing how we have been delivered from the bondage of sin and the fear of death through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s consider further what the Scirtptures have to say on the subject of joy: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
Not only is Jesus the object of our faith, He is the Cause of our faith and the Finisher of our faith. This is so because He unswervingly stayed with the course which His Father set before Him. Jesus remained on course because of the joy that awaited Him at its completion.
The joy would be found in His exaltation and in the fact that the mission to save sinful mankind was accomplished. His great joy is to welcome each penitent believer into His Father’s home. The course that brought Him to such great joy passed through excruciating suffering and shame, but He despised it and would not let that deter Him from reaching His goal. His joy is our redeemed souls.
“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 Jn. 1:4). All that John and the other inspired writers had written was for the purpose of giving joy to their readers. It is a deep and abiding joy which the children of God glean from these writings.
Worldly joys are here today and gone tomorrow, but the joy which the Holy Spirit instills through Word and Sacrament is a never-ending joy. The more we come to know our Savior and the thoroughness of His work of saving us, the more complete our joy is. It lacks nothing.
Through times of sorrow and of tempest, this joy is a constant that no worldly disappointments can diminish. That is because it depends upon the objective truth of God’s mercy. Even when we are persecuted and suffering for the sake of our faith, the joy vanishes not.
This world’s pains and troubles will pass, but the joy granted us in Christ will never dim. Truly, it will one day be experienced in fullness without the hindrances of sin. As we read: “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Pet. 4:13).
–Pastor Delwyn Maas