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Joy
Posted By Nan

Psalm 149

This is a good way to end the exploration of Joy in the Psalms. After all the psalms of lament, here is one that sings a new song to God.

This is a song of Joy.

The dark days are over. God has restored the people.

They are no longer wandering in the wilderness.

They are no longer mourning separation from their land.

They no longer feel cut off from God.

They are back in God’s presence. 

They feel Him.

They feel free to worship Him.

Now they feel unfettered Joy.

No longer is there a struggle to feel Joy.

It is free flowing.

It is a timely reminder that the darkness and wilderness times come to an end.

The time for being in the wilderness ends and the time for Joy starts.

Now to explore what the rest of the Bible says about joy.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Psalm 137

Do you feel you are being asked to sing songs of Joy when you are devastated and feel far away from God?
Have you found yourself in a dark place, made darker by the well meaning people who tell you all you need to do is praise God and you will feel better?
In this psalm the exiles in Babylon felt anything but joyful. They had lost what they valued most, living in God’s promised land with easy access to the temple in Jerusalem. Some had forgotten God and were paying the price. Others had continued to be faithful to God and He had spared them as a remnant.
The exiles were hurt, they were desperate not to forget God. Remember, for the people of that time, their access to God was at the temple. Unlike today they could not worship God anywhere else. God was found in the temple. So they were cut off from their source. From God. 
For us, exile from God is more about us feeling in a wilderness. Try as we might we cannot feel God near. We feel hurt and desperate. We don’t want to forget God. We don’t want God to forget us.
From my reading of the Bible, I don’t think God always calls us to praise Him, no matter what. He doesn’t want us to stop thanking Him. But there are times when all the thanks and praise will not produce the desired Joy. 
Ecclesiastes 3 speaks of there being a time for everything. Although joy is not mentioned specifically, we see from the words that joy, or its lack, is an undercurrent under much of what is written there. 
There is a time for Joy and there is a time for separation from Joy. 
There is a time to feel in the wilderness.
We may receive momentary flashes of joy as we spy a wonderful sunset, or a beautiful flower. We may feel momentarily joyful as we catch up with a special friend. But those moments will not be the all sustaining joy we feel when things are going well.
There is enough in the flashes of joy to sustain us. As for the larger Joy, that will come in God’s time.
All we can do is the best we can. We continue to talk to God, to listen for His voice and thank Him for all He does. We can do all this and wait, knowing how much He loves us, and wait for Joy to come in its time.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Psalm 132

The songs of ascents are lovely songs for those pilgrims heading to Jerusalem to worship God. 

Back in the days these psalms were written God’s home was in Jerusalem and people were directed to go there to worship Him.

Today it is different. Because of Jesus, we can worship God anywhere.

The songs of ascents are still meaningful to us. Maybe we don’t have to go on a pilgrimage, but we still make a decision to worship God.

We can get up and go to a favourite prayer place to praise God and be in conversation with Him.

We can determine to go somewhere quiet where we can just focus on God and be with Him.

We can set aside time, a figurative going to the temple, to pray and praise right where we are.

We can send an arrow prayer to God in the middle of a meeting because we suddenly need His help, or remember something to praise Him for, or have just glimpsed a beautiful scene out of the window and want to acknowledge His magnificence.

We can pray and praise anywhere.

We can receive joy as a response anywhere.

Isn’t that a wonderful source of praise and joy? 

God is accessible and will meet us wherever we are.

God’s dwelling place is with us and we can rest in Him.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Psalm 126

When things are going well, such as happened for the Israelites who returned from exile to Jersualem, there is great joy. It is like a dream and there is laughter, and praise, and singing.

But these wonderful times do not continue. 

We have our wonderful times, and we have our hard times.

There are times of drought, when crops fail to produce a harvest.

There are times of sadness, when nothing seems to go well.

There are times of tragedy, when life seems so dark.

There are times of pandemic, when it seems our worlds will come crashing down.

In those times the good times are a distant memory.

In those times you question whether there ever were good times.

In those times you wonder if you will ever feel joy again.

For some, joy is possible even in the bad times. They find glimpses of wonder to be joyful about. For others, those glimpses are not seen.

We are reminded in this psalm, in verses 5 and 6 that those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. 

There will be good times again. 

There will be times of joy. 

In the meantime, ask God to open your eyes to those glimpses that remind you that

God is watching over you. 

Those glimpses that remind you of God’s love. 

Those glimpses that give you a moment’s joy.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Psalm 119:105-112

Your word shines out like a lamp for my feet. By your word I can see where I am going.

My life is hard and there are times when things are falling down around me. 

There are people in this life who try to bring me down. They mock and scheme against me. They delight to see me react or get upset or be bowed low with the troubles of this life.

But you have given me an inheritance. Your word. That is mine forever. Your word. Your word brings joy to my heart. It allows me to be happy. It brings me back to you and allows me to focus on doing what you want me to do.

You have filled me with a yearning to follow you. To follow my shepherd. The true shepherd.

The path is not easy, but you light the way and I can follow it. I have to focus or I will fall off. But you help me to do that. 

You encourage me to listen to you. You encourage me to bring my problems to you.

You listen. Really listen. You care and I feel so loved.

And on those frequent occasions when I fall off the path, you gently bring me back.

You teach me and I learn and grow.

You are changing me and I delight in the way I grow better every day I walk with you.

Thank you.

I will always remember, please remind me.

 

 


 
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Nan
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