No Strength Without Joy – May 22, 2023 (146/365)

The king shall have joy in Your strength, O LORD;

And in Your salvation, how greatly shall he rejoice!

Psalm 21:1

It never fails. First verse, and already you’re hit with something nice to talk about.

In our own toiling, in this world that seeks to render humanity devoid of energy, health, hope and happiness, behold – The body of Christ still finds joy… and actually, joy is found even more now than ever. It’s during these times that we are able to dwell on and consequently appreciate the strength of our God, and the salvation we have through no less than His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

No matter if we find ourselves in times full of strength, or in times overwhelmed by weakness – wherever we are in both extremes, or in between, I believe we are led by the Holy Spirit poured out upon us, to behold the power of our God, as seen in the salvation He willingly gave to everyone who would believe. The other way around is true as well – whether we find ourselves anxious in hopelessness and uncertainty, or just… well, chill as things seem to be going the way our limited perspectives would have them go, we are also led by the Holy Spirit to behold the infinitely superior value of our salvation, brought to us by no less than the power of God.

Yesterday we discussed a definitely of the word, ‘power’ – that is, power is the ability to do something; And considering that it is by God’s power that we are saved, we are also indirectly proclaiming that it is God, and God alone who is able to save us. Nothing, or nobody else; Surely, nothing in all of Creation is able to save us – No, it’s only our Creator, our Lord who takes the credit for the salvation that is literally alive in us.

And as I think of it, only Christ has the power the save, because (1) Salvation from sin and death goes beyond our mere separation from sin – it also requires righteousness unto eternal life, and (2) it’s only Christ, who said He is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, who willingly lay His life down, that we would also die to sin, so when He rose again, so we were also proclaimed righteous unto eternal life.

Indeed, we are filled with joy, because our King of Kings is strong. But see here – doesn’t this also remind us of another verse? Actually, I remember the song that we sing, but it was borne out of this part of Scripture:

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:9-10

Ah, those were more carefree days. Overnight prayer with good folk like Pastor Danny, who taught us a simple song based on this verse:

Eat the fat, and drink the sweet

Send portions to those who are weak

For the joy of the Lord is my strength

See here, one Psalmist says we have joy in His strength, and generations later, Nehemiah says that we have strength in His joy. Now isn’t that a wonderful observation? What a great connection to behold! How blessed we are, indeed – for we have joy in the strength of the Lord, and we have strength in the joy of the Lord!

Let us rejoice! For we have seen yet another perspective to the salvation we have through Christ – We have the strength of the Lord, and we have the joy of the Lord.

Now the writer of Psalm 21 goes on, and says “You have given (the king) his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips”; Oh, and it does say ‘Selah’, which I’m led to believe means at this point we pause to do some contemplation on what we just read.

…But see here, I don’t think it takes too long for us to realize, that no matter what we think is best for us according to our limited takes and according to our finite perspectives, I believe we’re brought to consider how the greatest desire in a man’s heart, more than anything else in this world, is strength and joy. Power, and happiness.

See here – Christ lay down His life; He willingly relinquished His strength and His power, taking on the greatest of weakness in death, that we would be the ones to live, and be strong.

Christ became a man of sorrows, that we would have joy everlasting.

By the finished work of Christ, we have what all of us desire deep down to the core. Christ has reconciled us to the Lord, and not only do we have the Lord for us and not against us, not only do we have God close as He could ever be to us, but we have the Strength of the Lord that gives us joy, and the Joy of the Lord that gives us strength. You see here, how true strength is not without true joy, and true joy is not without true strength.

Look, another parallel. Let’s see where we are here:

You can’t talk about love without talking about God, and you can’t talk about God without talking about love.

You can’t talk about God’s love without talking about Jesus Christ, and you can’t talk about Jesus Christ without mentioning God’s love.

You can’t talk about Jesus Christ without talking about our salvation, and you can’t talk about salvation apart from Jesus Christ.

And here we are. There is no talk of salvation that does not empower us or bring us joy, nor is there any talk of true power or lasting happiness without the mention of the sweet salvation we have in Christ.

No true strength apart from everlasting joy, no everlasting joy apart from true strength. Amen.

Halleluyah! What a Savior, what a Friend we have in Jesus, indeed!

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