Joy
Posted By Nan

Proverbs 15

In my research into this chapter of Proverbs, I found four references to Joy. 

There is the reference in verse 20 to the joy of parents in the walk their child has with God. This is the joy of sharing in salvation with our children.

There is a more human joy, a poor imitation of true Joy. This is what those who lack understanding and see life as a pursuit of hedonistic pleasure chase after. Those who grasp the meaning of life as a walk with God experience true Joy. This is found in verse 21.

In verse 23 there is joy at seeing the delight of a person who, having heard the good news of our salvation, is so gripped with enthusiasm they joyously share that news. This is more about the delight at seeing other people saved and the contagiousness of their joy.

This is echoed in some translations which in verse 13 speak of the heart that is full of joy and gladness making a cheerful face.

n short, joy is contagious. If we are open to the good news and the joy of others in that good news we will experience joy too.

Proverbs 15 has a lot of references to joy. All these references can be confusing so I am stopping to consider what Bible dictionaries say about Joy. The following paragraphs are a summary of what I read.

In the Bible, Joy is usually seen as the mark of the believer, or group of believers worshipping together. It is a quality, not just an emotion and is grounded upon and derived from God. Joy is seen as characterising the life of a believer. It is also seen as giving us a glimpse of our experience of being with Jesus forever in Heaven.
In the Old Testament it was often portrayed as part of a festival with the noise of singing and dancing. Isaiah saw Joy as something that was more than just a ritual practiced in religious festivals. He saw joy with God’s salvation and was as much about anticipation for the future as current experience. 

In the New Testament, Joy became a vital part of the proclamation of the Good News of our salvation through Jesus who came in an unexpected way and died on a cross in a most unsaviourlike way. To complete Him throwing human expectation into disarray, he rose from the dead. The sheer unexpectedness of Jesus and the culmination of His ministry has enhanced the Good News and given the believer of the current period even greater cause for Joy. 

I haven’t reached the New Testament in this exploration yet, but we will see Paul address suffering and its relationship to joy once the exploration reaches that point.
Of course true Joy is a gift of God through the Holy Spirit. It is dynamic and comes from the purest and greatest love of all, that of God for His children.

If I relate this back to the joy references in this chapter, I can see the evidence of joy as a dynamic gift of God. God gives us joy because of His salvation. We experience that joy as a result of our relationship with God. Seeing our children embrace faith in God is an aspect of that joy. We want our children to experience that too so we experience the joy God has for all believers when our children embrace that salvation. 

We also experience joy at seeing other people experience joy. It is wonderful to hear people talk about their joyous experience of God. We join with all those who are saved in rejoicing at those who are saved.

The joy of God is contagious. It is hard to see another person experiencing the joy of God and not respond with joy ourselves.

Joy is a gift from God, but non believers use the word too. They think they are experiencing joy at things they do. But what they are experiencing is a poor imitation of what can only be given by God.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Proverbs: 14: 10,13

Throughout the terrible years of childhood abuse I called out to God.
Throughout the terrible years of school bullying I called out to Him.
Through times when supposed Christian friends have plotted evil against me and spread lies.
Through times when life has seemed impossible to survive.

I have called to Him.

Sometimes He has answered and he has sent a friend, or a great book to get lost in, or shown me a way out. But He has never delivered me from those things.

As a child I came to believe that God never intended anything good to happen to me. That horrible things were my lot in life.

I still sometimes believe that as an adult.

There have been few wonderful times and a lot of horrible times. There have also been great blessings despite all the horror.
So these verses resonated with me.

We all know our bitternesses. Those things that have happened that were hurtful and often traumatic. 

Here in these verses, there is a flip side. Our hearts can know bitterness, but they can also know Joy. And joy when it comes is unique to us.

There is another message too. We can laugh and still be sad. Our hearts can still ache with pain. As I have so often found in my life. Those times of great joy have often ended in extreme sadness. And maybe that joy has allowed me to manage the sadness.

But there is one thing I have noticed.

No matter how hard things are, I still seek refuge in God. (v32)

No matter how bad it is I know God is my refuge.

This is something that those who are intent on evil do not know. They do not have God as their place of refuge.

I don’t always believe God wants good things for my life, but I do believe in Him. I believe in God as my refuge. I believe that Jesus understands how hard life can be.

If God is my refuge, then it is possible to feel joy, even in the dark times.

I will never know this side of heaven why I had to endure so much pain in life.

But I do know that God has always watched over me.

I do know that God gives me joy, even in the dark times.

I do know that things may have been much worse without God there to intervene.

And I know that I survived because God was there to be my refuge.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Proverbs: 12:20

This simple verse gives very powerful information in our pursuit of what Joy is.
Those who have evil intent have deceitful hearts and are distorted by their evil scheming.
Not so the opposite person.
What is opposite of evil intent?
Peace. 
Those who promote and plan peace also have joy.
I have been reminded of that a lot lately, with the fear and anxiety around COVID19. Many community pages I belong to have been infiltrated by people intent on causing evil. 
These people make inaccurate statements. 
They make deliberately inflammatory statements or make inflammatory comments to innocent posts.
They give links to highly disreputable web sites such as those of Ron Paul. 
They aggressively tell people to adopt high risk behaviours. 
They put vulnerable people at risk.
Those people are classic examples of those with evil intent.
All we can do is report their posts and wait for the page admins to take them down.
And we can ignore them.
The worst thing to do is engage with them.
The person with evil intent will never be swayed by the arguments of others. And those arguments are not the opposite of the one with evil intent. Rather peace is the opposite.
God has promised that joy belongs to those who promote and plan peace.
So don’t fall for the lies.
Don’t fall for the inaccuracies.
Don’t react to the inflammatory comments.
If you need to, report them to the page admin and walk away.
Remember in life God calls us to promote peace.
Remember the reward for planning peace is joy.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Proverbs: 11:10

Continuing on from Proverbs 10, this chapter furthers the description of the righteous, wise person.

This person cares for others. They are honest and seek to be blameless. They care for others and honour their neighbours. When the righteous person is blessed, the entire community is lifted up.

The righteous person eschews gossip, choosing instead to keep secrets and honour others.

The righteous person respects other people and does not put the pursuit of wealth ahead of consideration for other people.

The righteous person is loved. 

When the righteous person is blessed, the community feels joy.

The main teaching from this is the impact we have on other people.

We may think we are alone and that what we do only affects us, but that is not so.

What we do impacts others.

Better to seek to be a source of joy for others than a source of pain and hurt.

 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Proverbs: 10:1,28

This chapter of Proverbs has joy at its head and its tail.

First is the joy of the parent who sees how well their child has grown into a wise adult. It is certainly reassuring for a parent to know their child is coping well with life, has learned good life skills and is managing all that life brings up to them. Even greater is the joy of the parent if their child walks with God.

It is the hope of all parents that their child will do well in life.

When a child struggles in adulthood there are worried parents behind them. For the parents who walk with God, there is a lot of time spent in prayer about those children.

So it is true that a child who grows into a wise adult is a joy for his or her parents.

The rest of this chapter details the benefits of being that wise adult, a righteous person.

As we reach the tail end of the chapter we see that the righteous person has the expectation of joy.

So when we seek to serve God to the best of our ability, having first sought God, then we have the expectation that we will experience Joy.

 

 

 

 
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