Joy Not In Things, But In God

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad:

People today find their joy in all the wrong places. In Psalm 100, one of my favorite, we see the Scripture telling us over and over to rejoice, to praise, to be happy, to be glad. The entire Psalm, meant to be sung in the Temple of God by a Cantor or Worship Leader, is one long praise. The song begins by telling us to give a cry of victory over the trials of life, then commands us to rejoice as we serve our God. Yes, the entire Psalm is about being happy, rejoicing, being satisfied beyond belief. Read with me:

Psalm 100 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 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. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Only The Saved Know Where Joy Comes From

C.H. Spurgeon wrote in his sermon “The Claims of God”:

BRETHREN, it is a trick of Satan to distract us from the most important and vital matters by the suggestion of trivial considerations. {That old Devil} will fill our eyes with dust to prevent our looking to the bronze serpent for healing; from the preaching of Jesus he endeavored to distract human attention by debates upon the tithing of mint, and anise, and cumin; the making broad of the borders of one’s garments; the wearing of phylacteries … {Satan} followed this method at Jacob’s well. When our Lord spoke to the {Samaritan} woman about living water, and the salvation of her soul, the evil spirit prompted her to {say,}“Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and You say that in Jerusalem men ought to worship.” With this same art Satan still works!

The devil tried to do the same thing with our Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness. The devil offered Jesus food, prestige, and power as avenues to joy. Jesus’ simple reply was, “It is written”.

Oh that we would learn from Jesus. Satan is destroying our nation through trivial and godless things, distractions from the most important truths. I am told that one political party made great gains in this last election because they capitalized on the anger generated by the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade. Thank God it was overturned! People are upset because the Supreme Court has sent the question of legalized abortion back to the states, where it should have always been. One party has said that they will codify abortion into U.S. Law. Even if they do, people will not find joy in this. There is no joy in evil and selfishness. There is no genuine joy to be found in things.

Illustrate: I guarantee if you’re driving a Cadillac and I’m driving a beaten up Pontiac, if your Cadillac breaks down on the highway my working Pontiac will look better to you when I pass you stranded on the side of the road. Amen? A thing may bring joy, but if a thing – what the Bible calls an idol brings joy, that joy will only be temporary.

Joy is not in sin,
Joy is not in things.
Joy is not in technology.

Someone once jokingly said “money may not buy happiness, but it makes a good down payment on it”. No, my friend, money doesn’t even make a down payment on happiness. Money is the thing that drives the drug cartels, and money has caused more misery and death than you could imagine. Where is suicide most often found? Among the poor and struggling? No, but among the rich, the well to do. When struggling to survive you have purpose, and no person with a fixed purpose ever commits suicide. Purpose is life.

Psalm 100 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

The place where joy is found is in Yᵊhōvâ, our God. The Psalmist calls onall ye lands to sing praises to our Lord. In fact, this is a common command in the scripture. We read:

Psalm 98:4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!

Psalm 66:1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;

Psalm 117:1-2 Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!

Psalm 67:4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

Psalm 66:8 All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah

The whole earth should praise God, and should look to Him for joy. Why? Because “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son” (John 3:16). Jesus is “the Lamb of God that taketh away the SIN OF THE WORLD” (John 1:29). Jesus died for the sins of every person, male or female, and for every color and culture. There is no prejudice or “respect of persons” with Jesus. If you are broken, He died for you. If you are weak, He rose from the dead to lift you up.

Though the world does not today Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, there will be a day when this is true. God has promised to bring forth “new Heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17; 66:12). As Christians, we believe the promise of God. As the Chief Apostle said:

2 Peter 3:13 …. we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Until Jesus comes, righteousness will not cover our earth. We wait for the fulfillment of John’s vision,

Revelation 21:2 the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

When Jesus rules and reigns righteousness will
not be an intruder, but a welcome guest.

We who are saved will be face to face with Jesus. I am looking forward to that day when:

Revelation 21:4 God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Christian, Serve The Lord Where You Are WITH GLADNESS

Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.

Today as believers under the New Covenant we should Serve the Lord with gladness. Notice that the Psalmist puts no conditions on serving God and gladness. He does not say,

Serve the Lord with gladness if you’re rich”, or
“Serve the Lord with gladness if you’re in good health”, or
“Serve the Lord with gladness if you’re famous, or
“Serve the Lord with gladness if you’ve got a great job”

We want to put limitations on our service to God. But King David said:

Psalm 84:9-12 Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. 10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

King David was willing to serve God as a lowly guard at the door of God’s house. John Newton, a man who was an English Slave Trader, but on conversion was led by God into the ministry of Christ, once wrote:

If two angels were to receive at the same moment a commission from God, one to go down and rule earth’s grandest empire, the other to go and sweep the streets of its meanest village, it would be a matter of entire indifference to each which service fell to his lot, the post of ruler or the post of scavenger; for the joy of the angels lies only in obedience to God’s will, and with equal joy they would lift a Lazarus in his rags to Abraham’s bosom, or be a chariot of fire to carry an Elijah home.”

John Newton would later write the words of that wonderful hymn, Amazing Grace:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a WRETCH like me;
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.

The Christian understands that we are to “serve the Lord with gladness”, no matter where we find Him.

God tells us that His Children are to be
HE serving, not ME serving.

The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28 All things work TOGETHER for good to them who LOVE THE LORD, to them who are CALL ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.

God created all things “good”. Then our God made man on the sixth day, and said “this is VERY GOOD”. Man was very good because, of all the creatures, only man was made “in the image of God”.

Genesis 1:27 … God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

God put Adam and Eve in the midst of a beautiful Garden, a place in which there was nothing that could harm or hurt. It was man who – disobeying God – brought sin into the world. Man looked at a thing that God forbade, and thought, “If I could but have that thing, I would be happy”. The thing that Adam did brought no joy to either him or Eve. The thing cherished above God destroyed paradise for Adam, and for us all. By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin (Romans 5:12).

When Man was created on the 6th day “Very Good”, everything was “Very Good” until he second guessed God. It wasn’t long after this that Cain murdered his brother Abel. A search for happiness outside of what was granted on the 6th day led to MURDER, a violation of the 6th commandment.

Had Adam spent his days Serving the Lord with gladness we would still be in Paradise today. We should learn a lesson from this. When we are selfish, and step outside of service – which is the call of the son of God – we bring misery on ourselves. So often we come before God with a frown on our faces, miserable because of the bad choices we have made. But the Scripture tells us to

But even though Adam failed – and even though we still fail today – God never fails. We can ….

Psalm 100:2 come before His presence with singing.

Illustrate: In the ancient times, those who came to stand before a King were cautioned not to have a sad face. If you came into an earthly King’s court ion such a way, he would – as my mama used to say – “Give you something to be sad about”. Beloved, God will not MAKE us come into His presence with singing – but you should want to be so. The sin of man cannot overwhelm the goodness of God. All that happens to us, happens in accordance with His will. And even though we have low moments, our God’s goodness to us LASTS. The Scripture says:

Psalm 52:1 … the goodness of God endureth continually.

God Knows Best – And Puts Us In The Best Pasture

Psalm 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.

Word Study: The first phrase in verse 3 notes Know ye that the Lord he is God. The word Lord is the Hebrew Yᵊhōvâ, and the word translatedGod is the Hebrew ĕlōhîm. Our God is the same ĕlōhîm mentioned in Genesis 1:1:

In the beginning God (“ĕlōhîm”) created the heaven and the earth.

The God Who made all things is the One Who made us. He made us physically. We are not accidents of birth, nor evolutionary byproducts. We are made by God. God also made us spiritually. I am not a son of God because I am worthy, but because of His Grace. The Scripture says:

John 1:12-13 But as many as received {Jesus as Lord and Savior}, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. We belong to God as His Children and as His Citizens. The Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

We are purchased, not with silver or gold, but “with the precious Blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19). God paid the highest price He could pay for us at the Cross. We are not just Sheep. We are:

the sheep of his pasture

God will meet our needs. So we look to Him, and trust in Him. We do not let worry or anxiety – the devil’s tools – detract our vision from our Blessed Lord. We trust Him, the “Good Shepherd Who gave His life for His sheep” (John 10:11).

Psalm 100:4-5 … Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the Lord is good…

God owns the pasture, and controls the pasture for the greater good of those who love Him. While your eyes are on Jesus no thing has power over you:

Psalms 37:23-25 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. {24} Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. {25} I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Every step you take for God in Christ is ordered, controlled, by the King you love. “But Brother David, I just don’t have many things!” Praise God, and trust Him. He supplies the things for your own blessing. The Scripture says:

Psalms 84:11 (KJV) “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no GOOD THING will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Psalm 100:5 … His mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

It is time for all of us to learn these four great truths:

  1. First, happiness doesn’t come from things, but from God.
  2. Second, even if “good”, things may distract from the best. They may come between you and your family, or you and your Creator.
  3. Third, things may make you believe you don’t need God. Remember what Jesus said in …

Matthew 19:24 It is easier for a camel to go through the eyes of a needle than a rich man to get into Heaven.

  1. Finally, things can lead eternal damnation. The rich young ruler walked away from God in Christ because his possessions were too great to give up.The Apostle writes:

Philippians 4:11-13 … I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. {12} I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. {13} I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Things are but temporary, but the relationship you have with God in Christ will last throughout eternity. Give yourselves to Him Who gave Himself to you! Do not live one more minute without the Best Friend and Companion you’ll ever have. May God lead you all to repent, and turn to Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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