Rejoice in the Lord!

May the glory of the LORD endure for ever; may the LORD rejoice in his works

May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.
Psalm 104:31, 34 (NIV)

Read: Psalm 104:1-35

Consider: Rejoicing doesn’t always come naturally or easily. When times are good it is easier to rejoice, but when times are hard rejoicing can seem beyond our reach.

In Psalm 104 the psalmist speaks in this way: May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD. I’ve often wondered which comes first – meditating (thinking) on what God has done, or rejoicing. Does thinking about God and his gifts to us, cause us to rejoice, or if we rejoice in God does it then cause us to think about his gifts. I’m not sure it really matters. The key is that we are thinking about God and rejoicing.

It would be easy to think that this rejoicing means that we must walk around with a permanent smile on our faces. In Philippians 4:4 Paul says: Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: rejoice!  Does Paul really expect Christians to rejoice always, no matter the circumstances? Rejoicing is something that Paul mentions in a number of his letters and we must remember that he was imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, slandered and much more; yet in all of this he reminds the believers that rejoicing should be a natural response to these adverse circumstances. However, Paul is not asking us to put on or pretend to rejoice. In Romans 12:15 he says: Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. Our rejoicing should be real and appropriate.

Peter in his first letter says this: But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:13). Even in suffering there is reason for rejoicing. This is probably the most difficult aspect of rejoicing; rejoicing when suffering. We can become so focused on our suffering that we forget the bigger picture.

I’m reading Tim Chester’s book, Enjoying God, at the moment. For many people the idea of enjoying God doesn’t sit comfortably. For any of you who were catechised in Sunday School you probably remember that ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever’. Intellectually we can acknowledge that we will enjoy God forever when we are finally with him. However, to enjoy him day-by-day can seem elusive. I would recommend Tim’s book to you as it seeks to correct our perspective on enjoying God.

In his book Tim Chester also talks about seeing what we might perceive as negative experiences, as being used by God to make us more holy. If we truly believe God is in control of this world and our lives, then everything that happens to us is ultimately for our good and God can use it to mould us into the person he wants us to be.

Pray: Father, help us to rejoice in all our circumstances, seeing your hand at work in disciplining and purifying us to become more Christlike. Give us a heart that is able to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn. Amen

Every blessing

Author: profsloan

The purpose of this blog is to encourage others to read the Bible daily and to grow in Christ. Each day I will generally publish a devotional or a reading for the day, together with a prayer.

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