The Source of Joy

Scripture

May my right hand never play the harp again…may my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth so that I cannot sing…May it happen if I don’t consider Jerusalem to be my greatest joy.

~Psalm 137:5-6, NIrV

Quote

Joy is what happens to us when we realize how really good God is.

~Marianne Williamson

I had never thought to compare Psalm 126 {The Jews returning from captivity} to Psalm 137 {being taken into captivity}. Upon their return, the Psalmist says, “When the LORD brought us home, it seemed like a dream to us. The LORD has done great things for us and we are filled with JOY.” The Jews are rejoicing to be back in Jerusalem and the home land. But in Psalm 137, we have their reaction to be captives in Babylon, “Those who held us prisoners asked us to sing. Those who enjoyed hurting us ordered us to sing joyful songs”...They said, “Sing us one of those happy songs you folks are famous for.” The Jews refused to entertain the Babylonians. They hung their musical instruments in the trees and refused to sing. They even uttered a curse on themselves if they tried to sing...May my right hand never play the harp again…may my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth so that I cannot sing…May it happen if I don’t consider Jerusalem to be my greatest joy.


There is something I want you to notice: their joy is in a place {Jerusalem} and not a person {the¬†LORD}. It would be easy for me to get on the Jews; they were horrible about worshiping the wrong things but are we any more advanced? How much of our joy is in a place rather than a person. I saw a brutal picture via TV of a prison in Yemen where an America was incarcerated. I said a silent prayer immediately: “Thank you LORD for Danville.” I am very happy to be in this area with all my friends and family. I have no desire to live anywhere else. How much of my happiness is in a place? I do not know the answer to that question. I visited a man last Tuesday who only has weeks to live according to the doctors but after seeing that prison in Yemen, I also said a thank you prayer for him…Thank You LORD that Jimmy is at home and not on a foreign battle field or in some hell hole called a prison in a far distant Muslim country.


Paul didn’t have my problem. He knew exactly where his JOY came from and it was not a place. Ironically, Paul being a Jew loved Jerusalem until his arrest and mistreatment at the hands of the Jews. Paul gets put to the test in Philippi where he and Silas are thrown into prison. At midnight they are singing and praising the LORD and the unbelievers are shocked. What a¬†difference in attitude between Paul and the Jews in Babylon who refused to sing.


One other note: joy cannot be coerced, we cannot force people to be happy. We might be able to make them sing but we can never make them sing joyfully. I don’t do it anymore because it is dangerous, but watch people when we are singing. The first thing you will discover is that about half are not singing and half of the half who are singing are not singing with JOY and enthusiasm. If you decide to take part in this experiment, look only once. If you focus on others it will destroy your worship. Joyful people sing while unhappy people do not.


  • Senior Adult Day May 7th with special guest John and Joye Tucker.
  • Golden Girls will meet on the second Saturday, May 13th.

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