In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
Today’s lesson from the Psalms comes from a variety of different Psalms. In fact, the reference to the source of joy is so prevalent that you begin to see this emerging as a theme of the entire book. Before we look at this true source of joy, however, let’s consider that this world is void of joy. Oh, we all have joyful moments, times in life when we feel our hearts will explode with happiness. But have you noticed the fleeting nature of this happiness? Have you noticed how it is so often followed by depression?
Is it possible we are seeking our joy from the wrong places? Are we expecting things or people to bring us joy? Do we feel that our joy hinges upon that better job, or being healed of cancer? Are we finding our joy in our spouses? What about in our kids or our goals and ambitions?
Yes, all of these things are gifts of God, and they can all bring us happiness. It is important, however, to differentiate between joy and happiness. Although we use them interchangeably, they are not necessarily synonyms. Happiness is a feeling, and as such, is fleeting. Joy, on the other hand, is a state of mind. For example, that beloved spouse who brings you such happiness may pass away, leaving you with intense grief. Your children will grow up and move away, leaving you with a feeling of loss and lack of purpose in life. That best friend may be transferred to a different city, leaving you lonely and unhappy. That longed-for house may come with very high taxes, leaving you worried and anxious about financial difficulties. That job may come attached to a manager that makes everyone’s life–and especially yours–miserable. You may receive your healing from cancer, but there is nothing to stop you from getting other diseases, other problems.
The point is, every earthly thing that we look to is temporary, fleeting. If these are the source of our joy, our joy will not be with us forever.
The book of Psalms speaks of a joy that is eternal, a joy that will never pass away. It’s source? the Lord. Consider the following texts:
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.” (Ps. 34:8-9 NLT).
“There I will go to the Altar of God—
the source of all my joy.” (Ps. 43:4a NLT).
“You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Ps. 16:11 NLT).
“When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.” (Ps. 94:19 NIV).
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High…
You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!
I sing for joy because of what you have done.
O Lord, what great works you do!
And how deep are your thoughts.” (Ps. 92:1,4-5 NLT).
We invite you to see also Ps.30:5,118:24,32:7,119:111,119:14, etc., but the point is this: The book of Psalms makes it clear that our true, lasting source of joy is in the Lord, and we can have access to this joy by going to His altar (Ps. 43:4), taking refuge in Him (Ps. 34:8), accepting His comfort (Ps. 94:19), being in His presence (Ps. 16:11), and by giving thanks (Ps. 92:1-5; see alsoPs. 136:1-3,97:12,95:2, etc.)
I was feeling down when I got up this morning. So much is going on, little things mostly, but with our house on the market and no one coming by to see it, it can be difficult sometimes to fight off those feelings of depression. I could hear God in my mind directing me to read Ps. 92 (see quote above). I decided to put this to a test. I don’t have a harp or lire–nor would I know how to play one if I did–but I began to sing and dance. I thanked God for all His blessings, I praised Him for all the little (and big!) miracles of the past, I proclaimed His love in all of my current situations, I shouted out my appreciation for His love and comfort and support. The transformation was immediate. The depression began to flee, to be replaced with pure, Godly joy. After less than 5 minutes, I knew beyond a doubt that God not only would take care of my present circumstances, but He was already in the process of working out the miracles.
The source of true joy, joy that endures forever? The Lord! And you can access this joy at any time by giving praise, by taking refuge in Him, by accepting the comfort He gives and by spending time in His presence.
And just in case you might think this message is unique to the Psalms, try checking out2 Chronicles 5:13,Jeremiah 30:19,Phil. 4:6-7,1 Corinthians 1:4-5,1 Chronicles 16:34,Jeremiah 33:11,Proverbs 10:28,1 Peter 1:8-9,Romans 5:13,John 16:22 andRomans 14:17, to name just a few other references to God being the source of our joy…
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Lessons From the Psalms” mini-series, please click here.)