Joy and Worship
W. H. Clark, Frinton-on-Sea
In this brief meditation, we consider three thoughts: (1) joy of the Lord; (2) joy of salvation; (3) joy in the Lord.
Joy of the Lord. In John 15. 11 we read of things spoken by our Lord to the disciples, in order "that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be fulfilled", r.v. The word "my" is emphatic. What was our Lord's joy? Essentially, His joy was to do the Father's will - and this joy is to be in us. On our part, we know that a life of obedience to the will of God is a life of joy.
In John 17. 13 we read of things spoken by our Lord to the Father. He said, "these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves". We have an example of this in 1 Thessalonians 2. 19-20, where the apostle Paul writes, "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy". This is the Lord's own joy being fulfilled in the hearts of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy.
Joy of Salvation. We read of this in i Peter i. 8-9: "whom having not seen, ye love ; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls". Notice the order: first believing, then rejoicing, and that with a joy that cannot be expressed. This word "joy" is not normally used by the unbeliever, for he does not know what real joy is; he only knows happiness which is transitory, depending on things without, but joy comes from within. Only believers in the Lord Jesus Christ know what true joy is, and this joy is the result of salvation through faith in Him. Thus we have the joy of salvation. Our first joy when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is the knowledge that our sins are forgiven, knowing the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, and knowing that heaven is our future eternal home.
Joy in the Lord. In Matthew 28. 8-9, on the morning of the resurrection, the angel told the two Marys that they would see the Lord in Galilee; they departed quickly from the sepulchre "with fear and great joy . .. and as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail (or 'rejoice'). And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him". This is resurrection joy leading to worship. We do not read that they said anything, but they fell at His feet bowing reverently before Him in worship. When our hearts are enjoying the Lord, spontaneous worship flows forth to Him and our hearts, in turn, are filled with, great joy. What is worship? It is not listening to an address; it is not gathering to receive something from the Lord. Rather, worship is giving to the Lord the thanks and praise of our grateful hearts. To worship God is to adore, to revere, to praise Him for what He is as well as for what He has done for us.
Psalm 29. 2 emphasizes this, "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness". Also Psalm 96. 7-9 states, "Give unto the Lord . . . give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness".
"Beauty of holiness" is also rendered "in his glorious sanctuary" or even "in holy attire". May people come into our gatherings and find them to be indeed a glorious sanctuary where they shall meet God and worship Him in the beauty of holiness. Beauty speaks of that which is loveliest and best. Holiness speaks of separation to God - with all known sins confessed and forgiven that we may worship Him in holy splendour. May we be increasingly fruitful in praising and worshipping the Lord., and thus know more of the great joy as a result.