The presence of the Holy Spirit will manifest itself in certain ways often called the fruits [or indicators] of the presence of the Holy Spirit, which will develop more and more over time, as we overcome more and more and grow in godliness.
The scriptures contain a list of the Fruits of God’s Spirit and also a list of the Gifts of God’s Spirit. Fruits means the evidence of God’s Spirit and nature in a person. The Gifts of love, wisdom, knowledge and faith are the same as the fruits, but the gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues are additional special gifts for the edifying of the whole assembly. This series will present identical Fruits and Gifts together in the same articles, and will place those specific Gifts [healing, tongues and prophecy] not included in the list of Fruits in their own articles.
We call the end results of anything, its consequences or fruits; the Holy Spirit in us produces these fruits in us.
The Holy Spirit is the essence and nature of God, therefore GOD IS: Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love [agape], joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 523 Meekness, temperance: and we are to grow to become like God.
The fruits of God’s Spirit are the evidences or proofs of God’s Spirit and nature in us. When we plant a seed that seed will germinate and grow to become a plant. When God plants his Holy Spirit in us, it will grow [if nurtured by much study, putting away sin and internalizing godliness, and obedience to every Word of God] and fill us with the nature of God [the nature of God being the nature of God’s Spirit [the fruits of the Spirit].
The nature of God and of the Spirit of God in us, grows in us through the unresisted presence and growth of God’s Spirit in us. If we are diligent to learn and to live by every Word of God, to diligently seek all truth – for God is truth, and to reject every false thing, the very nature of God will grow in us, which nature is: Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The Word “Joy” Means Overflowing Happiness!
The word “Rejoice” comes form the word “Joy” and means spontaneous demonstrations of overflowing happiness.
We as humans do have natural desires, and when they are fulfilled we have a certain transitory joy.
The cycle of physical joy goes something like this: We see something that we begin to desire, then we work hard to acquire it, then when it is acquired we are joyful for a short time, and then we lose interest and begin to desire something else.
The flesh is never satisfied as it continually seeks more and more, better and better; and if we cannot achieve the desire of our heart lawfully, we often lust after things unlawfully and take from others. Uncontrolled desire is lust and envy, and is the parent of a multitude of sins.
The joy of man is often transitory, as all physical things are transitory; but the JOY that is godly shall endure forever!
There is a joy in man about family, this is a joy of holding ones new born babe, or watching our children grow; the joy of teaching and doing things together as family!
Then there is the joy that true unfeigned love for others and immersing ourselves in doing good for others brings. Yet even this is only physical is temporary.
The fruit of God’s Spirit called JOY is the permanent eternal joy and comfort in knowing that we are loved by God and that our heavenly Father loves us, and that we are loved by the others in the family of God and that they love us.
Our joy is in the fact that we all love each other and seek to be a help to each other, and to serve God our Father for all his wonderful wisdom in teaching us to become like him; full of Agape love which is defined by the Word of God.
We are to rejoice at God’s Feasts; not necessarily because we are having a good time, but because of the marvelous things that these Feasts portray in bringing many brethren into the family of God!
We rejoice over the wisdom, abounding love, and greatness of God our Father, and that He has chosen to spend eternity loving us!
Like our physical fathers who have made us in the flesh; 0ur spiritual Father loves us and is preparing us for a transition into spirit and life eternal in peace and love ,with Him and all of his children.
True joy has its roots in seeing beyond ourselves, and being full of concern for fulfilling the Word of our Father; which defines godly love toward God and our neighbour.
If we are full of the Spirit of God which comes through obeying every Word of God, then we will be at peace with God and the fruit of the Hoy Spirit is true contentment and joy, no matter what comes upon us in this physical life.
If we keep the Word of God, we shall be given his Spirit of agape love and joy, and we will remain truly happy for eternity; as a child is happy in the arms of his mother, and she is happy holding her child.
God is love, his Word defines Him and therefore defines love; therefore the fruits of keeping his Word, no matter how difficult at times; is love and contented joy.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Satan has done his best to destroy families and the intent of true godly marriage, because its satisfying passionate tender love; is his enemy. For God is love and Satan is the opposite of love.
Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the [penalty for breaking the] law. 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Therefore avoid the works of Satan which are the works of worldliness, and seek to learn and live by every Word of God, that your joy may be full, in an eternity of togetherness with everything that really matters.
There is Joy in the Journey
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
In our series of studies on the different aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, this week we look at JOY. It is the second of the nine fruits of the spirit, and comes right after [godly agape] love. If we have God’s Spirit and His love is poured into our hearts through His Spirit, we know that He loves us and that we love Him. Many Scriptures in the Bible teach us that yielding to God’s purpose for our lives and being converted is the key to biblical joy.
King David talks about the joy in seeking God and living in His presence:
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
David says that God will show us the path to “life,” and when we come into His presence, there is joy, real joy. And if we are among His faithful followers, God will show us the way to eternal life in His Kingdom. We will have an abundance of joy with godly pleasures that will endure forever.
In the book of John, Jesus tells us that the Son came that we may have life and that we would have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
The word for abundant in this verse is: perissos (Strong’s #4053) and means: excessive, more abundant From peri (in the sense of beyond); superabundant (in quantity) or superior (in quality); by implication, excessive; adverbially (with ek, #1537 [out to and from]) violently; neuter (as noun) preeminence — exceeding abundantly above, more abundantly, advantage, exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, superfluous, vehement(-ly).
Chasing After Joy
Almost everyone wants to live abundantly with overflowing joy, pleasure and happiness. It seems that most people, for most of their lives, seek vehemently after happiness, comforts, pleasures, joy. The pursuit of happiness is an innate drive found in the very nature of men and women that begins right at birth. Every person wants to have joy and to be happy in varying ways and degrees.
We are born with an intense desire for joy, but in our carnal state we seek our joy in the things of the world. Ultimately, we find that the thing that we sought to bring us joy is short-lived, does not really bring satisfaction, and often times can even bring destruction and ruin to our lives.
We all have gone after things that we thought would bring us joy; money and wealth, maybe a luxurious home, beauty and good health, fame and prestige, travel, hobbies, sports, entertainment, the latest fads in clothing, love relationships, friends, food, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, etc. etc.
If we are seeking after these things and not after God, all of these things eventually fail us and all we are left with is disappointment and disillusionment. Some of these things are not “sin” by themselves; and God does want us to be provided for and to have good and wholesome lives. But it is when we put too much emphasis on having these things to fill a void in our hearts, that should be filled with the things of God, that we do err. We think that “things” (stuff) is what will give us satisfaction and fulfillment; and that the joy we think they will bring us, is what life is worth living for.
Sometimes the pursuit for joy and pleasure can lead us to becoming addicted to the things we seek after, and we end up with the consequences that we never intended to have when we first set out to obtain certain things, or for wanting to experience harmful activities that we thought would be pleasurable.
The English definition of joy:
1. a feeling or state of great delight or happiness; keen pleasure; elation, cheerful.
2. a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight.
3. the expression or display of glad feeling; gaiety.
4. to feel joy; be glad; rejoice.
5. to gladden.
The Hebrew word for pleasure can also mean joy or joyfulness; simchah (Strong’s #8057) and means: exceedingly, gladness, joyfulness, mirth, pleasure, rejoicing. From sameach; blithesomeness or glee, (religious or festival) — exceeding(-ly), gladness, joy(-fulness), mirth, pleasure, rejoice(-ing).
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote about his pursuit for happiness [joy] and it was recorded for our admonishment and learning in this area; for like many of us, Solomon took on the quest for all the good things this world has to offer. He had the position as king of Israel and vast riches at his disposal to enable him to go after these things much more than most of us, whose resources and time are limited.
King Solomon pondered in his heart about the meaning and purpose in life; “I will test to see if seeking after pleasurable things, fun, laughter, entertainment will bring meaning to my life.” So he set about seeking after wine, great accomplishments that bring delight, male and female servants, silver and gold, musical entertainment; he did not withhold anything that he desired from himself, that he thought would bring pleasure and meaning to his life. At the end of the test, he said “behold, all is vanity and vexation [reuth; Strong’s # 7469; longing, striving, a feeding upon, i.e. grasping after] of spirit and there is no profit under the sun. None of it really accomplished anything of real value or provided him with lasting joy.
Ecclesiastes 2:1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. 2:2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? 2:3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
2:4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: 2:5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: 2:6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: 2:7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: 2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.
2:9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. 2:10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
The pursuit of these things does seem to give a certain amount of joy in this life, but as Solomon sums it all up; he found that he was still dissatisfied after accomplishing all that he set out to do. His finale analysis of his test, or experiment, is stated in verse 17.
Ecclesiastes 2:17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
It is what and how we pursue joy that determines whether an individual experiences the real kind of joy or not.
Ecclesiastes 2:26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Solomon concludes that all good and true joy are found only in God. And only God supplies the key to the real meaning of life. Without Him, genuine meaning, satisfaction, and enjoyment in life are ultimately elusive. Apart from God, the joy this world offers is elusive and is vanity!
Chasing after joy is like the horse we have all heard about, that wanted the carrot dangling in front of him by a string hanging from a stick that is attached to his head. The more he stepped forward to get the carrot, the more the carrot moved forward. The horse tries harder and harder to get the carrot, but the carrot moves as fast as he does. Pretty soon the horse is galloping after the carrot, but he can never quite get close enough to nab it with his teeth. It is always just a little bit out of his reach. We can never quite have the joy that we are seeking; it keeps moving away. If we are seeking it to be happy for the sake of being happy, it is an elusive game.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
Temporary Physical Joy; or God’s Everlasting Spiritual Joy
When we see people around us laughing, full of cheerfulness and having all kinds of fun, does that really indicate that they are experiencing real joy?
Proverbs 14:13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
Proverbs 10:23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
Proverbs 26:19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?
The joking, laughter and partying in this world are often a cover up, a facade that hides the person’s misery, grief and sorrow. The joy and fun that’s portrayed in movies, television shows, and in advertisements attempt to bait us into wanting to be just like the actors/actresses, or buying their products, so that we, too, can have the kind of joy and happiness that they seem to have.
Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:4 that there is a time for laughter, but the Scriptures show that there is a difference between ungodly laughter and godly laughter. There is a difference between the worldly joy which is shallow and transitory, and the kind of biblical joy that is a product of the Holy Spirit.
Last time we covered agape love, or godly love, that is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Just like love, joy is much different from this world’s concept of what joy is all about and where we must go to attain it.
Godly love is the keeping of God’s commandment (1st John 5:3). It comes from God and He is the source of love; it is a product of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of love is from God and does not come naturally to the unconverted people of the world.
Just like love, the fruit of joy is a gift, given to God’s children as a product of the Holy Spirit. Joy comes to us supernaturally through having the Holy Spirit shed abroad in our hearts as well. Joy is not a product of the natural mind, but a by-product of the Holy Spirit. As it says in:
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
It comes to us through our relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
When men pursue joy apart from God, it produces a superficial and limited transitory kind of joy or happiness, and is not the same as the kind of joy that God wants us to have as a fruit or quality of His Spirit. If we compare the two kinds of joy, we can see that God’s joy is continual, its source is in our love for Him, living by God’s Word which protects all from harm , and in delighting in the things of God. We also can have joy by having hope of the future resurrection to eternal life. Joy is a supernatural quality infused into us from His Holy Spirit,
No matter how successful or wealthy we become, or how physically attractive we are, or how much we maintain our strength and health even well into old age, no matter how much influence we have or how famous we become in this life, we can only look forward to it all coming to an end at the end of our days.
We grow old, we lose our health, no matter how high our status is in this life, it will all fade away. There are many so-called wealthy and/or famous people living in nursing homes who are no longer influential and who are now forgotten, sometimes even by their friends and family members.
We come to the end of our lives and we die. None of us can keep ourselves from growing old and from dying. And this depressing picture of what we have to look forward to in this life can be replaced with the knowledge that death is not the end. We know that a wonderful, marvelous and truly God-produced, joy-filled world awaits us, if we put our trust in Him in how we should live and then pursue the kind of godly life He shows us. Then old age and death are not our finality.
We will rise up in triumph and victory, if we have become one of His children, and if we endure to the end. And that understanding replaces the glum cloud that can hang over our heads when we face trials and difficulties; we can have great joy knowing that there is a glorious future beyond the grave.
Joy Comes Naturally When We Apply the Beatitudes
Earlier we gave the definitions of joy, but there is another definition that is a word that we read much about in the beatitudes of Matthew 5. That word is “blessed.” If blessed means to be happy, and joy is happiness, then to be blessed, is to be filled with happiness or joy.
The Greek word for blessed is makarios (Strong’s #3107); supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off, blessed, happy.
In Matthew 5, and each verse describing a particular beatitude starts with the word “blessed.” This word, which also means happy; is a state of mind that comes from having certain godly characteristics and from seeking those things that are of God. Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are they that mourn [over sin and repent], those who are meek, those who do thirst and hunger after righteousness, those who are merciful, those who are pure, those who are peacemakers, and blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake [for they will have a good reward].
The beatitudes teach how us we can become like God, and have the mind of God. These verses in Matthew 5 tell us that we are exceedingly happy, if we seek and learn these things and apply them to our lives. In essence, these verses teach us that we will experience great joy [blessedness] if we are pursuing the things that help us to grow in having the character of God; internalizing His divine nature, and in becoming perfect [complete] as our Father in heaven is perfect [complete]. (Matthew 5:38)
The things that God has for us are priceless and are worth more than all the riches in the world. The riches that the world seeks after are temporal and elusive, but the treasure that God offers us is sure and lasting. The out pouring of His spiritual blessings, which include love and joy, are beyond description.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
A Productive Life Brings Joy
Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Jesus has more joy than all His companions (that includes everyone), and since He is the expressed image of His Father, they both are full of joy. The Bible also says that they work; that they are always working. Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus, are busy working at their Master Plan and bringing their children, the called out ones, to spiritual completion.
John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
It is through our work that we derive much joy in life. God tells us through Solomon that:
Ecclesiastes 5:18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. 9:8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
Elohim created us to be in their image and we were created to work and produce just as they work and produce.
There are many things in this world enticing us to seek after, in obtaining joy in our lives. But the greatest joys in this life, is when we lose ourselves in a work or a cause; whether it’s building and providing for our families, earning money to pay our bills and to be able to give, when we are working to benefit others who need help, or helping others to learn about God. It is self-concern, seeking joy and pleasure just for ourselves that bring emptiness, unhappiness and a longing for more and more.
God wants us to seek joy for ourselves and others, but it must be sought by His way and not the way of the world. The best and truly biblical joy comes as a product of submitting and yielding our lives to doing His work and fulfilling the purpose for which He created us for. We are to work at our salvation, and then assisting others who are seeking God as well; encouraging and edifying them by our example, our words and our deeds (works), and that will bring God, others, and ourselves true pleasure.
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
If we are living for Christ (obeying God and seeking to please God with all that we do), then we will be doing the works of God the Father and the Son.
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
Even though life was hard for Paul, his prospective on the purpose for him to continue to live and do God’s work, was so that others would come to the faith and be taught about how to live for God. By his continuing to live and do his apostolic work in this way, he realized that it would bring joy to those who were being drawn to God, and gave Paul joy as well.
Philippians 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 1:24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; 1:26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
We must be about our Father’s business, seeking to do His work, rather than focusing on pursuing after the physical wealth and gain that we think will bring us joy. Joy will come along side us when we are yielding wholeheartedly to the very purpose that our Great Creator God created us for. He is working at bringing about a spectacular spiritual transformation in our hearts and character, and wants to make us into His Spiritual image.
This study brought to mind a famous quote I heard a long time ago. It is a quote by H.D. Thoreau.
“Happiness [or joy] is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder…” H.D. Thoreau
Joy in Trials
A follower of Jesus will suffer many trials and adversities and disappointments in this present evil world; but if he has the joy of the Lord in him, it will always sustain him through the trials of life. His spiritual joy is greater than any difficult situation that happens to him or to others.
When Paul and Silas were thrown into prison unlawfully for preaching the gospel, instead of bemoaning their fate; they reasoned along the same lines of the other apostles, when they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for God’s name. Right in the midst of being chained and imprisoned, they had a praise and worship service between the two of them. Their joy shook up the house (literally), and later the jailer and his whole family were convicted of their sins and were baptized. It was apostles’ “joy of the Lord,” even in the most miserable of conditions, that sparked the events of that day.
Acts 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
Yes, we do cry sometimes and sorrow (even Jesus was called a man of many sorrows, acquainted with grief). We cry and sigh over the horrible things that are happening all over world. But then we look up to God and know that all these things are going to work out for the good, in God’s perfect timing. We can have a deep abiding joy, knowing that everything is going to work out, in God’s way. We must trust that He knows what He is doing and not second-guess Him what He is doing, even if things do not make sense to us at the present time. We were born because it is God’s good pleasure that we all will eventually rise to the challenge of overcoming and defeating Satan and all his ways, and then to go in and inherit the Kingdom, prepared from the foundation of the world.
Giving Exhibits God’s Love and Joy
God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. As His children who are being fashioned into His image, we are called to exemplify His giving, to follow His example of His infinitely large heart. As generous givers of our labors, time, resources, gifts and talents to others, we paint a picture of God’s character and all of His attributes for others to see and experience. When we give of ourselves to others, we are blessed as well as the one we give to. (makarios: happy, fortunate)
Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
God is the greatest Giver of all, and everything that comes to us is a gift from Him!
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
When Jesus was a man here on earth, He must have worked very hard as a carpenter’s son, and then as an adult man working with His hands and taking care of His human family, Mary, and his brothers and sisters.
Joseph, his human step-father, appears to have died sometime between the incident at the temple when Jesus was 12, and the time that Jesus began His ministry. Jesus, being the first born, would have had the responsibility of becoming the head of the household and to be the provider of the family.
When it came time to begin His ministry, Jesus laid His carpentry tools aside and began the work of preaching and teaching and doing all kinds of good for all those who would cross His path.
Acts 10:8 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
And as we reflect on how generous and good God has been to us in our lives, by calling us, giving us so many fantastic and wondrous gifts, including the gift of His Holy Spirit; in our joy, we want to reciprocate by doing whatsoever He asks of us in return.
Psalm 116:12 What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?
A Thankful Heart, A Key to Overflowing Joy!
Being grateful and being content with such things as we have, and singing praises to God will bring joy to our hearts, just as King David expresses in many of his psalms. In giving of thanks and praising God, it will naturally fill our hearts with joy and gladness.
Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 100:3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
King David tells us that when we approach God, we are to enter into His gates with thankful hearts and praise for all that He is and for all He is doing!
Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 100:5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
The Apostle Paul, also, knew the secret to having a cheerful and joyful heart!
Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly [obeying all of God’s word], not as fools, but as wise, 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Brethren, it is so very important and vital to have a thankful heart. A thankful heart can change the whole way we see life! It is a floodgate opener to blessings, joy, peace and all sorts of goodness. With thankful hearts, we can even touch the very heart of God, because He is our Father and He is delighted when His children turn back (Luke 17:12-18) to give Him thanks for all that He does for them. By developing a thankful heart we can revolutionize the quality and enjoyment of our lives and we will be filled with this fruit of the Spirit!
Putting God and His Righteousness First in Our Lives Brings Great Joy!
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
When we are seeking to obey all of God’s commandments, studying and learning more and more of His Word, adjusting our lives to reflect changes we need to make when He shows us new understanding, along with believing in and having total faith that God loves us, that He is taking care of us, will provide and protect us; then we can truly know what it is to experience supreme godly JOY.
1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk [live], even as he walked [lives].
If we first seek God’s Kingdom and all His righteousness, then we will have great joy. God will show us the path to life; and if we are on that path, we will be walking with Him, walking as He walks, and we will walk in His presence in fulness of His joy. The closer we walk with Him, the more joy we will have. It will be the kind of joy that will stay with us throughout our lives and even beyond. We will live in His presence for ever and, oh, what JOY that will be!
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Psalm 36:7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. 36:8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. 9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
By fulfilling His Joy, we too will an abundance of joy!
Psalm 21 Commentary
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
Splendor and Success of the King
Psalm 21 is one of the royal psalms, meaning that it pertains to the Messiah. The psalm speaks ultimately of the Great King that is coming, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will be King of all kings in the millennial Kingdom.
Psalm 21 is praise of rejoicing for the fact that the victory prayed for and trusted in has been granted and now David gives thanks to God for answering his prayer. .
This psalm is a response to the previous psalm (Psalm 20), in what appears to be blessings pronounced on or prayed for the king and for his victory. Please read Psalm 20, as it too is a beautiful psalm of praise for God’s protection and providence from enemies for the king and His people. It goes with this psalm, as it portrays first: the asking (psalm 20) and then: the receiving (in Psalm 21) of what was asked for in Psalm 20.
Psalm 21:1 The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
A carnal and secular king would tend to find joy and self congratulation in proclaiming his own strength in any kind of victory he would over his enemies, and in his own accomplishments. (Daniel 4:29-30) We think of grand parades of marching soldiers showing off their military might with tanks, armored vehicles, with banners and flags flying, to impress the people of their authority and power.
But here David gives the credit for all that has been accomplished in overcoming the enemies; to God’ strength (Strength: oz, Strong’s #5797, azaz, Strong’s #5810) and power.
David says that he rejoices because of God’s strength and in the salvation He provides with an outburst of emotion and joyful feelings toward the Holy One of Israel, the real King. It was He, who delivered him and his army, and he recognizes and praises God for answering his prayer. A godly and wise king looks to His Creator, and he knows that all power comes from Him, and any victory that comes is because of His defensive protection and might.
Nehemiah spoke of this joy in the Lord and how it would be the people’s strength in Nehemiah 8. They, too, rejoiced in their victory over enemies and opposition; and in spite of them, were able to complete the wall of Jerusalem a few days before the Feast of Trumpets. (Ezra 6:15)
On the first day of the seventh month (Feast of Trumpets), the people gathered around the leaders and wanted to hear the law of Moses read to them and they wanted to understand about the whole Word of God. The people had come to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall that had become broken down and now lay in ruins.
This was symbolic of the spiritual condition of the Israeli people who had forsaken their God, the Lord of the Covenant, and had turned from obeying His commandments. Nehemiah led the people to restore the wall and also to seek revival for their spiritual condition as well.
Nehemiah 2:17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. 2:18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.
Nehemiah 8:5 Ezra opened the book and the people stood up and stayed standing throughout the reading, showing their reverence for the Word and the Law that they were about to hear.
Then in Nehemiah 8:7, the Levites helped the people to understand the law, that they “read distinctly” from the book, in the law of God; and “gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” meaning that the Levites explained fully the meaning of the Law of God so that the people got the sense or understanding, and insight of what was being read.
Once the people heard, and then understood the Word of God, it made them realize that they had not been obeying and measuring up to the high standard contained in all of God’s laws. This caused a great sense of conviction and they wept in contrition and mourning.
Nehemiah, Ezra and the Levites were undoubtedly glad to see the peoples conviction, repentance and their desire to do what they had come to understand and see as right in the eyes of God. However, they exhorted the people to stop crying and reminded them that this day was holy to the Lord. It was a day to celebrate; not to weep but to rejoice in that they now could understood the law and that God would forgive them and revive them. The people were instructed to celebrate the Feast with eating drinking and sharing, and that the”joy of the Lord” would be their strength.
The joy of the Lord could refer to the joy that the Lord has, but the circumstances here indicates that this is something the people were experiencing on that day as well. The joy of the Lord is the joy that springs up in a person’s heart because of his relationship to the Lord. It is a God-given gladness found deep within our hearts when we are in communion with God, walking with Him and want to please Him with all our might. When our goal is to know more about the Lord, to understand His ways and striving to keep His whole Word, then the by-product will be His joy.
Nehemiah implied that their repentance and renewed commitment to worship and obey God would be their joy. That in being willing to hear the law of the Lord, and wanting to understand the law and then in implementing it into their lives; that would be their strength! “The joy of the Lord is your Strength”.
Nehemiah 8:1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.
8:2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
8:3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
8:4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
8:5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 8:6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
8:7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
8:9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
8:11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. 8:12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth [in great joy], because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.
“Strength” in verse 10: means place of safety, refuge or protection. The Hebrew word is: maoz (Strong’s # 4581). The people’s refuge was God. They had built a wall and they had carried their spears and swords, but God was their real protection.
When we make God our chief joy, delighting in all of His Word and in keeping all of His commandments, then He will hedge us in within His safety [His place of safety]. That is our strength because it is of Him.
“Keep me as the as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings”. Ps.17:8
Psalm 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 91:2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge [hope, place of refuge, shelter, trust: machaseh #4268] and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 91: 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Psalm 21:2 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.
David says that God has given him the desires of his heart.
Psalm 37: 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 37:5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
God gives people the aspirations of their hearts when those desires are derived from a fundamental desire for God’s honor and glory and are according to His will. Desires can also mean our prayers for protection and the things that we need as well.
Psalm 145:19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
Psalm 21:3 For thou preventest [or meet: qadam Strongs #6923] him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head
David says that all that he has is from God, and even his kingship, the crown (his anointing) is a gift from the Lord.
Psalm 21:4 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.
David asked that God would help him in battle and that He would preserve his life. In this verse David celebrates that God did answer that prayer, protecting him from harm and death in spite of the battle that he faced, as well as living a long life after the battle.
To be given life is a most precious gift to us, each and every one of us who have ever been born. We should be ever grateful for the gift of this temporal life, realizing that we have been given the opportunity to use this life to learn about, come to understand His ways, and follow the One who gives us that life; and if we respond to God’s call and become one of His, we will be given life everlasting at the resurrection and live forever.
Psalm 21:5 His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.
David knew that exaltation comes to kings and their armies if victorious in battle; but here he declares that this glory, this honor, this majesty he enjoyed came from God and not from himself. David says this about himself but it seems to be more in reference to our Great King of the Universe.
Psalm 21:6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance [presence].
“You have made him exceedingly glad, filled with joy, with Your presence:” David professed that he was most blessed forever, but it was the presence of God Himself that was his greatest blessing and cause for gladness. David was more grateful and full of praise over the presence of God than with the crown of royalty or victory.
Psalm 21:7 For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.
David declared that his trust was in the mercy of God, and that it would continue to preserve and bless him at all times and on into the future.
Each of these things in verses Psalm 21:3-7 were true of David who was the king in this psalm; but they are even more true of the King of kings. We can appropriate each of these verses also to Jesus Christ who fought His battles of resisting Satan and everything that Satan had to throw at Him, but was completely victorious.
He is now sitting at the right hand of His Father and is awaiting the appointed time when He is to return to earth and set up a holy and righteous Kingdom and completely annihilate evil from the earth. Nothing is going to hinder Him from doing so.
(Psalm 21:3) Jesus, the Son of God, was victorious in enduring the trials and then the crucifixion of the cross. When He ascended to heaven to be accepted of the Father, He was met with the blessings of goodness. He wears a pure gold crown, both as King of kings and a glorious conqueror.
(Psalm 21:4) The Son asked life from God the Father, and as God’s Holy One, was delivered from death at His resurrection.
(Psalm 21:5) Jesus gloried in the salvation given to Him from the Father; not a salvation from sin as with David or other men would need to have, but a victory over sin and death.
(Psalm 21:6) The Son of God is full of joy in the presence of His Father, even though there was a sense in which His Father turned away from Him on the cross because of the sins of humanity, but now Jesus sits with Him and will be in His presence for ever more.
(Psalm 21:7) Jesus trusted in His Father thoroughly and completely throughout His mission here on earth; they have always trusted each other and that trust will never be moved.
We think especially of what these verses tells us about the Royal King; Jesus: “For You have made him most blessed forever; You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence.” It tells us that even though Jesus was a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3), at the same time He was a man who knew what it was to have great joy.
Psalm 21:8 Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. 21:9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. 21:10 Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. 21:11 For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. 21:12 Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.
David talks about how the anger of the Lord defeated his enemies in his day of contending and doing battle with them. But this also suggests of a time in the future when God is going to defeat all those who oppose him willfully and intentionally in the time of His great wrath. All evil doers will be destroyed and all their works and plans that were intended for evil against God and His people will come to nothing. They will not prevail to work out what they have devised for mankind. All their evil plans are going to fail.
It is God who is sovereign and He will gain victory over all the forces of darkness, causing all of the evil doers to flee from Him and His anger. God is going to destroy them with His power; and any power that men can invent and try to use against Him will fail and not phase Him one bit.
The wicked men who are the world leaders today, have great plans for their own kind of world government. They are confident that they will be able to perform their works to bring all of mankind into subjection to themselves. They want to create a horrible world of slavery and barbarity with no freedom for anyone to have any kind of regard for God and His commandments.
They want to stomp out any kind of worship and obedience to the true God. But God is preparing His arrows [His judgments] for them and they are pointed straight at them, [at their faces] even though they do not realize it yet. It is just a matter of time and the working out of all God’s prophecies that lead up to His glorious return and His putting down all evil.
Psalm 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, 2:3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 2:5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
Psalm 21:13 Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.
After the direct statement of praise to the Lord and of His strength, David expressed his resoluteness that he and his people, [and ultimately all the people of God] would continually give honor to God and for his awesome power, and to do so with praise and in song.
The psalmist concludes with an exuberance of rejoicing as he leads his faithful people in praising God for the promise of His finale victory.
This psalm looks forward to a day soon, when God will have victory over all the earth and all peoples will come before Him to worship Him for utterly defeating the forces of evil in the last days. Then His judgments [righteous ruler-ship] will be implemented throughout the earth, and all nations will see this as it unfolds. They will repent and turn back to Him and begin to worship and praise Him, and will rejoice with great joy.
But especially rejoicing, will be those who God has called in this present evil world; those who have had to overcome sin and do battle with Satan and his cohorts all their lives, and who have suffered through many trials and temptations. They, too, will have gained the victory after enduring to the end, and finally will realize all the promises of God. They will greatly rejoice when they rise up in the resurrection! They can then experience the wonderful reality of what it means to have victory over sin and evil, knowing that it is only by the Lord’s strength, and not by their own.
Psalm 21 is full joy and of praise to God for the blessings of victory, deliverance, and answered prayer. This attitude should always be among us as Jesus’ saints, the people of God.
How joyful we can be that these things are about to happen soon; that we have a bright future just ahead. We have this vision and hope in the future reality of what will be; even as we endure through the hard times we face now, and in the days ahead.
As God’s faithful people and as overcomers in this life, this is what we have to look forward to, if we are faithful to the end:
Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
The last word in Psalm 21 is “power”; the people are praising God for His POWER.
We can look all around us and see how vast this universe is that God has made. God is truly all powerful! The power of God is amazing and it has always been a wonder for me. I often look at the sun and the moon, the clouds, the starry sky; often watch the crashing waves on the Great Lakes and see the eagles soaring overhead from the beach area. I like to stand out on my balcony and watch the lightening in a thunder storm. After the storm there is usually is a rainbow that appears over Lake Huron off in the distance, and sometimes its a double rainbow; and I’m in awe of God’s power.
The Bible gives some great descriptions and verses about God’s great power. This subject too, makes for an inspiring Bible Study and can fill us with His joy. We believe and can know that He is a Great King and Sovereign over the universe and will deliver us from anything that Satan plans for us.
Psalm 62:11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.
Job 26:14 Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?
Psalm 79:11 Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die;
1 Corinthians 6:14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
2 Corinthians 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Ephesians 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Psalm 89:13 Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. 89:15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. 89:16 In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. 89:17 For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. 89:18 For the Lord is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.
The sum of the matter is this: The gift of the Holy Spirit opens our minds to understand the things of God and empowers us to live by them.
As we grow in knowledge and understanding by following the lead of God’s Holy Spirit,
- as we realize that we have been liberated from bondage to Satan, sin and death by the mighty deeds and great mercy of The Mighty God;
- when we fully understand the love of a God who gave his only begotten son for us while we were yet sinners and full of rebellion against Him;
- when we know that he has paid the price for our repented sins in full, and has delivered the faithful from certain death to life eternal in peace happiness and prosperity;
- when we understand that God will do the same thing for every human being, giving every person the very same opportunity for eternal salvation;
- and he will heal all pain and sorrows reconciling all people with God and with one another
- and when we know that all sin and death will be destroyed forever and that eternity will be full of peace and happiness based not on transitory emotion and a temporary good time, but on the substance of solid eternal principles guaranteed to succeed:
Then the happiness of true and great rejoicing will fill our beings from thenceforth and forevermore.
That is how the Holy Spirit brings JOY to those who are faithful to live by every Word of God, and what a Joy it is, to know and understand these things!
James Malm and Constance Belanger
Note- Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2015, which I then completed for posting.
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful,
O earth; and break forth into singing,
O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people,
and will have mercy upon his afflicted.