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Sunday, April 03, 2016


I'm sure you've seen the commands before. Paul liked, by his own admission, to say it repeatedly.
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. (Phil 3:1)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Phil 4:4)

Rejoice always (1 Thess 5:16)
Starting to see a trend?

So, what is this thing called "rejoice"? Well, of course, it is to find joy in something, to delight in something. It is happiness with an object. It isn't just "be happy"; it is finding joy in something. The Bible is full of this notion. The Jewish feasts were full of rejoicing "before the LORD" (Lev 23:40; Deut 12:12; Deut 14:26; Deut 27:7). The Jews were to "rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you" (Deut 26:11). Hannah rejoiced in the salvation God gave her (1 Sam 2:1). We are told to rejoice because "The LORD reigns!" (1 Chron 16:31) David rejoiced in God's steadfast love (Psa 31:7). And on and on it goes.

Are you starting to get a sense of the object of the biblical command to rejoice? It isn't a mere "Don't worry; be happy." There is an object. It is the object Paul aimed at: "Rejoice in the Lord always."

Happiness is fleeting. It is an emotion predicated on a sense of well-being. Sometimes you feel like you're in a good place; sometimes you don't. But joy -- this kind of joy -- can be ever-present because it is based not on circumstances or surroundings, but on the ever-present love of God and His Sovereignty. It is not mere positive thinking; it is rational. Rejoice in the Lord because of all He promises and provides. It's much better than "Be happy" because He is much better than "I hope my circumstances will be pleasant." Our circumstances are always good because He is in charge and He is always good. Rejoice!

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