Recommended version of this song: Future of Forestry or Kings Kaleidoscope
"How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of Heaven's Armies.
I long, yes I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God." - Psalm 84:1-2 NLT
"In that day you will sing:
'I will praise you, O Lord!
You were angry with me, but not anymore.
Now you comfort me.
See, God has come to save me.
I will trust in Him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song;
He has given me victory.'
With joy you will drink deeply
from the fountain of salvation!
In that wonderful day you will sing:
'Thank the Lord! Praise His name!
Tell the nations what He has done.
Let them know how mighty He is!
Sing to the Lord, for He has done wonderful things.
Make known His praise around the world.
Let all the people of Jerusalem shout His praise with joy!
For great is the Holy One of Israel who loves among you.'" - Isaiah 12 NLT
"On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be,
'Cheer up, Zion! Don't be afraid!
For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With His love, He will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.'" - Zephaniah 3:16-17 NLT
"Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. 'Don't be afraid!' he said. 'I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior - yes the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!'" - Luke 2:9-11 NLT
"You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls." - 1 Peter 1:8-9 NLT
Inexpressible joy can be found in Christ. When we truly learn to rest in Jesus, we create space to find the deeper, true joy He offers. This joy surpasses suffering and trials. It is more steadfast and constant than happiness.
Every heart longs for something more, something better than what can be found in this world. We strive for our dream career, our dream marriage, our dream family, and when we obtain these things, though they may be fulfilling and bring joy, they do not make us whole, they sometimes disappoint.
Only Jesus can offer wholeness and joy.
Consider the time Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. This story pushes all cultural boundaries of the time, and highlights Jesus disregard for oppressive customs, and His care for all people.
The Samaritan woman (maybe someday we'll know her name!) has gone to the well during the middle of the day, when she would be sure not to meet anyone else. She could never have anticipated Jesus' presence. A Jewish man, a teacher, near Samaria, this was unheard of. Through the conversation between Jesus and this woman, we learn she had gone from man to man in search of fulfillment and love, perhaps in search of safety and belonging.
When she meets Jesus at the well, He offers her a "fresh, bubbling spring," (Luke 4:14) the true, living water. She is curious. The longing within her stirs. Jesus is gentle, but He calls out her false search for joy. I suspect Jesus never shamed anyone. His tone of voice and His expression must have exuded a firmness yet full of love. This woman doesn't respond in shame or defensiveness. She clings hungrily to Jesus' words that offer life. And she is the first person to whom Jesus plainly reveals Himself to be the Messiah!
Her response to this one encounter with Jesus is to run off, full of joy, praising God, to tell everyone she meets about Jesus. Their Savior had come.
This is how our every encounter with Jesus should end. We should eagerly and humbly come to Him to find rest, unburden ourselves, confessing our wrongs, letting go of our worries, and leave that time full of joy and praise, in awe of how deeply known and loved we are!
The angels proclaimed that Jesus, the Savior, would bring great joy to all people! What a promise. It is there for our taking, if we can approach Jesus with humility, with all our longings laid before Him. Jesus is eager to take on our mess and fill us instead with joy. It's why He came to live among us!
More than that, Jesus takes great delight in us! As Zephaniah 3 says, He longs to calm all our fears, and He delights over us with singing. We were meant to have a sweet, whole and complete relationship with our Creator, full of delight and joy. My prayer is that we can recapture that relationship this season, even if just a piece of it.
How would your life be different if you truly believed that God delights in you?
When have you experienced the full, deep joy of Christ? What were the circumstances surrounding that time?
Let Isaiah 12 be your song of praise today!