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A Psalmist’s Call For Rejoicing

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The Scriptures often call for people (especially believers) to rejoice in the Lord. For example, the psalmist says, “Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous and praise his holy name” (Ps. 97:12). Many of the calls are of a more general nature. For example, David praises the Lord for his help in a time of great need and then says,

Sing to the LORD, you saints of his,
Praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
But his favor lasts a lifetime;
Weeping may remain for a night,
But rejoicing comes in the morning. (Ps. 30:4-5)1

Elsewhere a psalmist expresses his hope that all creation can and will rejoice in the LORD (Ps. 96:11-13). The psalmist in the long alphabetic Psalm 119 similarly prays that his manner of life will encourage others to notice and (hopefully) follow his example: “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.” (Ps. 119: 74). Later in this psalm he expresses his testimony to God’s goodness by saying, “I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil” (v. 162).

Another psalmist declares that every day the true believer should express appreciation to the Lord: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24). Similarly, David encourages others to “Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name” (Ps 30:4). Yes, there may times of difficulty but believers should remember that, “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). In Psalm 32:11 David encourages others to find joy in the Lord, saying,

Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
sing all you who are upright in heart.”
If a believer does so, he will enjoy a happier life, including singing to the Lord.

In another Psalm David points out that if a believer will “rejoice in the LORD” (Ps. 64:10), he will find that this may well lead to God’s being so great a “refuge” that his heart will “praise him”. Such has indeed been Israel’s experience in their deliverance from Egypt. Elsewhere David rejoices and praises God by expressing his love and confidence in devotion to God:

“The king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God’s name will praise Him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced” (Ps. 63:11)

In Psalm 104:31-34 we see that the psalmist expresses his love for the Lord by saying,

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the Lord rejoice in his works. (v.31).

He then declares his own great resolve to focus his devotion to the Lord by saying,

I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
As I rejoice in the LORD. (vv. 33-34; cf. Ps. 105:3)

Such may be seen in still other Psalms as well. Thus, in Psalm 68:3-4 we read of the psalmist’s wish that believers will so extol of the Lord that they,

May be glad and rejoice before God;
May they be happy and joyful.
Sing to God, Sing praise to his name,
Extol him who rides on the clouds
And rejoice before him. (cf. Psalms 70:4)

May each of us likewise follow the testimony of the psalmists by rejoicing in the Lord whatever the circumstances are in a given day. Even as David testifies,

“I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul (Ps. 31:7).

Let us remember that the Lord also helps the believer who calls on him in full trust and faith (cf. Ps. 118:13-14). Let us also remember that the Lord is the source of true strength in any and all circumstances.

True strength lies not simply in physical strength, but in strength of character that is grounded in full trust in the Lord and evidenced in following God’s revealed standards…True strength is one of spiritual character – one that comes from God and returns to him via faith in Christ and an all-encompassing love for the Lord.2

As we have seen in Psalm 63:11, King David could rejoice in the Lord, swear by his name and praise him. If we follow the example of King David, we believers should be able to sing with Charles Wesley:

Rejoice, the Lord is King; your Lord and King adore!
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing, and triumph evermore.
Lift up your heart; lift up your voice!
Rejoice; again I say, rejoice!3

1 All scriptural citations are taken from the NIV.

2 Richard D. Patterson, “The Source of True Strength,” Biblical Studies Foundation, 2013, pp.5-6.

3 Charles Wesley, “Rejoice, the Lord is King.”

Related Topics: Christian Life

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