Terry R. Baughman
“You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways” (Isaiah 64:5).
One of the outstanding attributes of Christ followers is having an attitude of gladness. Contrary to some misconceptions that Christians are long-faced mourners with a dour and sour attitude, a joyful spirit and a contented countenance are more likely to be the demeanor of devoted disciples.
The purpose in the ministry of Jesus was outlined in His reading from Isaiah when Jesus visited the synagogue in Nazareth. He read from the prescribed passages of Isaiah 61 and declared, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).
In the continuation of the prophet’s passage He predicted that the Messiah would come, “To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3). Again he wrote, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God” (Isaiah 61:10). In the text above the prophet Isaiah declared that God will meet with those who rejoice and those who seek to follow Him in righteous conduct, those who remember the ways of God.
After we have grown accustomed to the Christian walk and the fresh and new experience that was once so thrilling has become common and routine, we must remember to rejoice. Recall the joy that came with the liberation from sin. Remember the load that lifted at an altar of repentance when the joy of sins forgiven replaced the burden of condemnation. He exchanged the “spirit of heaviness” for a garment of praise and clothed us with “the garments of salvation.”
Even when circumstances are difficult and adversity assails we are reminded to rejoice in God. The prophet Habakkuk painted a dreary picture of times of famine and want, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls.” All was dismal and bleak yet he concluded with a positive declaration, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17–18). When everything looks hopeless, Remember to Rejoice!
After the return of the exiles of Judah there was a reading of the Law before the congregation. When the people heard the Word of the Lord they were overcome with their failures and discouraged with their shortcomings. Nehemiah instructed the people, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). God did not give us His word to discourage us, but to offer us hope, help, and healing. He is our hope and as we rejoice in Him we will find strength.
Paul admonished his readers multiple times to, “Rejoice!” To the Thessalonians he charged, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18), and to the Philippians emphasized, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
Remember to Rejoice!
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).