Summary: Message 27 in our James Series focusing on rejoicing.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Faith’s Response to Joy”
I have said this numerous times. James serves as a mirror to examine the true nature of our trust in God.
True trust in God’s provision enables us to respond according to God’s ways. True faith enables wise living.
This letter contains numerous life instructions requiring genuine faith in God. Along with those instructions James included divine insights to help us understand the logic behind those instructions. So far, we have explored several life categories requiring a faith response.
I. Faith’s response to trials 1:2-27
Joyfully endure – continued endurance produces maturity and stability.
II. Faith’s response to partiality and prejudice 2:1-13
Love others as ourselves
III. Faith’s True Nature 2:14-26
Believe God and behave godly or demonstrate your belief by your behavior
IV. Faith’s response to conversation 3:1-12
Control your speech it can be destructive or constructive
V. Faith’s way of life 3:13-4:12
Live wisely according to God’s way
VI. Faith’s Response to God’s will 3:13-17
Consider God in all your plans
VII. Faith’s response to suffering and persecution 5:1-13
Patiently endure and pray
Today’s prescribed faith response is simple.
Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. James 5:13
James addressed three life circumstances and prescribed a response to each. Suffering, cheerfulness, weakness.
The first part of the verse addressed a condition of suffering and prescribed a conduct of continual prayer.
The second part of the verse addresses the condition of cheerfulness and prescribed a conduct of continual singing praises.
VIII. Faith’s response to joy
The instruction in this section is clear and straight forward. It clarifies both the condition and the conduct.
A. The Condition -- cheerfulness
Is anyone cheerful?
The term translated “cheerfulness” comes from a compound word. “eu” meaning good or well and “thumos” meaning passion or deep feeling often translated anger or wrath. Here, the compound would indicate a good passion or feeling residing deep in the soul. It is the opposite of suffering which indicates a bad feeling.
Anyone feeling good should express their cheerfulness, joy, happiness. The prescribed expression; “sing praises”.
B. The conduct – sing praises
Let him sing praises.
The term translated “sing praise” comes from the Greek word “psalmos”. If you think that sounds like Psalms, you are right. Our current title for the Hebrew Songbook found in the middle of your Bible comes from this Greek word. It originally indicated the plucking of a string and evolved to specifically refer to the Psalms of David and generally, to a song of praise. All of the 150 Psalms in the Bible are lyrics to songs. The Psalms contain numerous music terms to the music director. The meaning of many of those terms has been lost.
Music played an integral part of Israel’s worship. It included numerous instruments and passionate lyrics. The New Testament calls for praise both in tribulation and jubilation. Obviously, we find it much easier to praise God in good times than grim. Generally, I am heavy on content and expect you to make appropriate application of the truths taught.
You say, well I don’t feel that cheerful today. That’s ok, then you fall under the category of giving thanks in everything. We need to keep a balanced perspective.
Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda. Proverbs 25:20
This probably refers to one who sings an up-beat song on a day of tragedy. You only make things worse. On the other hand, David was able to calm King Saul’s demonically troubled soul with praise music.
Since James instructs us to “psalm”, a vital sourcebook would be the Psalms. The English title derives from the Greek term “psalmos”. The Hebrew title is from a Hebrew term meaning “to boast or praise”. The Psalms express a wide variety of emotions and actions in diverse circumstance. The common denominator throughout seems to be praise. Even a Psalm that begins in somber pain often ends with shouts of praise. The English dictionary suggest three aspects to the verb “to praise”.
1 – “to set a price on or appraise.
2 – “to commend the worth of, express approval or admiration of”
3 – “to laud or extol the glory of God.”
All the Hebrew terms portray a public and vocal nature.
Praise (Halell) – praise, boast, be excited in joy, shout for victory.
That sounds like our English word Hallelujah which means “praise Yahweh!” It is not, in itself, an expression of praise but a call to boast about God. When we hear “Praise the Lord!”, someone needs to do it.
Acknowledge in Public (Yadah)
This word is often translated “give thanks” but the emphasis is on public acknowledgment of God’s goodness which equals praise.