The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe….
"With Gladness of Heart"
"Serve the Lord with gladness" (Psalm 100:2).
The Psalmist correlates service to God with gladness of heart. Long before, Moses also made the connection in one of the most direct criticisms of Israel's failure to genuinely know and respond to her Lord:
"Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things, therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and He shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck" (Deuteronomy 28:47).
The challenge proceeds to our current dispensation of God's revealed truth in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ:
"Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again, I say rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).
The Apostle Paul's twice-repeated command, coupled with David and Moses, beckons us to serious consideration regarding the matter of a glad heart. Rejoice always? Is this really possible? First, let us simply acknowledge the fact that if any command of Scripture were beyond our capacity to fulfill through the power of God, the Bible would lose all rational meaning. We would have to conclude our Lord to be an unjust authoritarian tyrant who bears no resemblance to the living and true God revealed in His Word. Of course, this is most decidedly not the case:
"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
"Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne" (Psalm 89:14).
Clearly, gladness and joy of heart must always be possible for believers. Scripture commands us accordingly. How is this possible in our present lifetime wherein we live in a world that brings much sadness to our doorstep, and then barges in to foist upon us its heartache and heartbreak? How can we obey God regarding perpetual service with gladness? We will consider this vital matter in this series of messages. For now, let us embrace the promising, but challenging truth that by Biblical definition, joy must always be possible because our perfectly just Heavenly Father will never call us to do anything beyond our Christ-enabled capacities. Indeed, Paul's affirmation, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" applies to the obedience of joy no less than any other aspect of faithfulness to God (Philippians 4:13). Perhaps even more than some, because a joyful believer brings great gladness to our joyful God, along with honoring Him in ways few other ministries can compare.
"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee" (Psalm 5:11)
Part 2: A Joyful God
Weekly Memory Verse
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
(II Peter 3:18)