Summary: In times of "doom and gloom", Christians need not get consumed by negativism if only we reclaim the joy of the Lord found in God's Word by reconnecting with the Lord and rediscovering God's Will. Once again, Come Alive!
RECLAIMING THE JOY OF THE LORD FOUND IN THE WORD
Is there a Word from the Lord? The single most asked question in the Bible! And if you know of a more pertinent question to be asking in the twilight years of our lives, speak now or forever hold your peace . . . For, you see, when all has been said and done, what Christians have is hope - built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. Therein lies the basis of our eternal joy – that great joy which we discovered when we found God’s answer to THE question of all time in THE Book of all time.
No writer of the books of The Bible said it better than “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 1:14): “The WORD became flesh and dwelt among us. We beheld His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” So . . .
“If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy, let Jesus come into your heart”!
Rediscovering the joy of the Lord is an ever-present need in lives of not only individuals but nations, as was the case with Israel after spending seventy years in exile in Babylon (modern-day Iraq).
You will recall that Nehemiah, a captive Jew, wept upon hearing of the chaos that reigned back home; he begged for and got permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and its walls.
Upon returning to the city, plain to see were ruined lives of folks who had been left behind . . . plain to see, on the faces of those who had just returned to their homeland after being set free, were looks of desperation and despair.
However, among the physical ruins of the temple, The Book containing the Word of the Lord had been discovered.
Nehemiah seized the moment! He (the governor) instructed Ezra the priest to set aside a time for rediscovering the joy of the Lord found in The Word of the Lord – Nehemiah 1:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 . . . Notice the progression of rediscovery: The people settled down . . . assembled . . . the priest opened The Book and read it - slowly . . . the folks listened - attentively . . . interpreters to whom God gave the gift of discernment explained what was read and what it meant . . . tears of great joy flowed – freely . . . the people bowed in awe and reverence . . . repented – honestly and openly . . . praised the Lord . . . celebrated . . . shared their joy . . . commemorated their experience of joy with a renewed respect for The Word and a revived spirit – and the theme of their Revival was: “Grieve no longer, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
What is your strength? The joy of the Lord! A divine attribute imparted to believers by the Lord God! The security of the believer if you will! Often spoken of intellectually as Paul put it - “I know whom I have believed” . . . insightfully as Fannie J. Crosby the blind hymn writer sung it – “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine, Oh what a foretaste of glory divine” . . . spiritually as the psalmist poetically penned it – “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation!”
In the Word a nation and its people found joy - 2500 years ago. In the Word our nation and the vast majority of its people can find joy IF Christians, called by His name, humble themselves and pray, seek His face, and turn from sinful ways! In these days of 21st century bondage to so many fears that plague us on so many fronts, this challenge of reclaiming joy ought to be one of our top priorities. It’s not about national pride . . . national security . . . stock market trends. It’s not even about health issues or family relationships.
Reclaiming joy is about reconnecting with the God in whom we say we trust by repenting of our sins against God whereupon our great God, the author of joy, restores unto us, individually and collectively, the joy of salvation . . . forgiveness . . . being blessed as a nation whose God is the Lord.
What will it take for a Great Awakening to occur in the nation as a whole? 1st Peter 4:17 – “It is time for judgment to begin with the family of God . . .” There must first be an awakening in the hearts and minds of “Christian” America – those who are called Christians.
How can Father God restore our joy when some preachers, teachers and professing Christians go along with blatant disregard for the sacredness of life and institutions created and defined by God in the beginning?