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Wednesday: The Joy of the Lord — 20 Comments

  1. At least five verses in Proverbs 15 address the question of correction and one’s response to it (Proverbs 15:5, 10, 12, 31, 32). Under inspiration Solomon underscores and drives home the importance of correction.

    Fallen human beings are sure to err, if nothing else. We all at some point get some things wrong, whether it is in doctrine/beliefs, speech or conduct. Yet correction, which is often needed so badly, is something which is probably resisted the most. Valid though it is we may decide we will not accept correction from certain sources and do ourselves a disservice.

    Even a child may provide correction. In fact if the devil were to offer correction it is wise to accept it not because of who it came from, but because it is valid. Pride (sometimes expressed as thin-skinnedness) is generally the obstacle which gets in the way. It masks the urgent need, while focusing on the manner or lack of qualification of the reprover, and views the rejection of reproof as a victory.

    Recognizing that we can easily be wrong should give us a sense of humility which leads us to examine ourselves, our actions, speech, and beliefs regularly (Lamentations 3:40). This is the starting point for the receipt of wisdom. The reason the Creator hates pride so much (Proverbs 8:13) is it works against everything He would do in and through us (Proverbs 11:2; 16:18). Left unchecked it elevates self to the status of a fool, and ultimately beyond redemption.

    Humility is perhaps the most needful trait in the life of the believer. In proportion to humility the faithful may expect wisdom. The chapter of Proverbs 15 appropriately closes with the counsel, “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.” (Proverbs 15:33).

    • I think you have given wise council regarding receiving correction. Good advice often comes from unexpected sources and we should be wise and humble enough to know when to listen.

      On the other hand too many of us think we have a mortgage on giving correction and pour it out like milk out of a jug. Knowing when and how to correct others requires the wisdom of serpents, and the harmlessness of doves. There is no point in stopping before the comma in that previous sentence.

    • The bible says we must test every spirit,to know if it is of God. The fact is not everyone knows how to deliver a message. But should iignore it or it would be better to see where it's coming from. To receive instructions one must have a positive mind set . You see I want to be saved, so it doesn't matter how painful the instructions come , I look for the lesson in there for me.

  2. Joy comes by being humble enough to accept counsel and reproof. It comes from saying kind and soothing words. It comes from Jesus Christ

  3. Proverbs is promoting joy and I did a word search and was delighted to find how many times the word joy is used in the Gospel from beginning to end.

    This is really good news! In OT and NT the LORD's desire for us is that we be happy! All the instruction in the Word is for our good.

    Joh 15:11 I have spoken these things to you so that My joy might remain in you and your joy might be full.

    • Shirley, I don't know what you meant by "the gospel" but I got curious and did a search for both joy* and sorro* (using wildcards for joy/joyful and sorrow/sorrowful) and found that in the Gospels joy comes up 24 times and sorrow 17 times. In the book of proverbs the two were even at 6 times.

      I think the takeaway from this is that we live in a horribly confused environment where we experience both. I like the illustration Jesus gave, "A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world" (Jn. 16:21 NKJV). Therefore, to me it is what lays ahead, the promises that Jesus gave, that is what gives real joy. While we can experience joy in this life it will become much more so in the life to come even overflowing.

      • Hi Tyler,

        So true, and isn't it exciting that Jesus gave us the recipe for happiness in this world - the Beatitudes!
        Blessed means Happy. Jesus gives us the steps to happiness:
        Recognize your need
        Be humble
        Seek for the truth
        Be forgiving and caring
        Be pure
        Be a peacemaker

        Happiness is to love and be love by the LORD.

        We are even promised the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace!

  4. Neh 8:10
    "...The joy of the Lord is your strength" were words spoken by Ezra the priest to the people. This was after the re-fortification/ rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, when the people themselves demanded to have the book of the law read them and then upon hearing the word, they sorrowed and wept. Ezra encouraged them to not sorrow for the joy of the Lord was their strength.

    1. There are/will be times our physical crumbles, God will still provide for re-fortification in His time

    2. Physical re-fortification should not blind us to the continued need for spiritual re-fortification

    3. When we desire the word ourselves (wilfully), God the Holy Spirit will quicken the word within and the experience won't leave us the same. We will see and acknowledge our shortcomings (we all have sinned)

    4. We will not end at sorrow becos that realisation and acknowledgement brings us to appreciating the solution God provided

    5. In that provision, we will simply appreciate and rejoice in His salvation and this is our stronghold, our strength. That though weak and capable of only evil, too weak to stand injustice, we know the grand provision and we delight in Him and carry on

    6. In carrying on, Ezra encouraged these sorrowing people to go make others (needy) joyous. So in our pain and sorrow for recognition of our weakness and hope in One able, we can smile though with tears (of pain and hope) and encourage the next soul

  5. Taking the example of Solomon who pleased God when he asked for wisdom over wealth. 2 Chronicles 1:11, shows the focus of his heart, serving God and his people. I pray to experience the joy of the Lord when we choose Him over this world.

  6. I often wonder what is the joy of the Lord. At times it seems as though the joy of the Lord is singing and making melody in my heart to Him. At other times it seems as though the joy of the Lord is simply trusting in Him during difficult times. To me, the joy of the Lord is many things, such as peace of mind in the mist of trials, knowing that He is always with me, and allowing Him to use me in His service every day. My words can either hinder that process or open my heart by faith to whatever He wants to do through each day. The joy of the Lord is my strength, peace, hope, and comfort.

    • The Lord is my joy. Since He is the "fullness of joy", it becomes automatic when He lives within me. The sin condition experiences the emotion of happiness; but joy is of God, as an integral part of God is love.

  7. This lesson teaches me to recognize the things that make me happy, joyful and content in life. What we value are the things that we should focus our life on. We have individual priorities , what's closest to our hearts will be more meaningful to us. God allows trials, pain , suffering and sorrow...most of these are a test of our faith, love and trust to GOD. They make us stronger and resilient.

    It is comforting to know that God is always there to hold our hands and carry us during these times. Even though we have no control over when and how these events come to our lives, we have that power in us how we should react to these situations. Personally, I take these challenges as opportunities to developing my spiritual relationship with GOD.... having strong connection with GOD and the people closest to us will give us the foundation to true happiness in life. The joy of the Lord will be our joy...what a promise!

  8. The lesson promotes:

    experience, the reality of God and His love
    one can endure, because they know for themselves God’s love.

    Jesus says the first commandment is to love God and the second is to love your neighbour?

    The questions I have are:

    a) can one be forced to love someone else?
    b) can parents teach their children to love the LORD?
    c) what does Jesus say is the path to abide in his love?

    • a) then it is not love
      b) by modeling the love of Jesus Christ
      c) He is the "way" - when He lives in the heart, it/ loves...

      "God is Love"
      "Love is of God"

      Sin exterminated love. Jesus restores love.

      God bless with love.

      • Hi Hurford,

        Sorry for the late response to your post. Yes, I agree with you.
        I would like to add one further point about what Jesus said is the way to abide in His love - He said "keep My commandments"

        Joh 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

  9. In a forest a fire cleanses the undergrowth from all the detritus which restricts growth and wellbeing. Several years ago after a spate of major fires throughout the US a forest service spokesman was asked "why so many big fires?". The answer came, "Because we have been too good at putting out the little ones".
    If the little ones had been left to do their work, the rubbish wouldn't have built up so much and been fuel for mega-fires later.
    Let us not resist the fire of the Holy Spirit working in our lives now, because either way, sin must be dealt with, and better to allow God to deal with it now with little fires than we suffer the greatest fire of them all at the end.

  10. I believe that to attain real joy, we must have a strong connection with God. He turns our sorrow into joy, He calms the storms of our life, and He is our burden bearer. All that this world throws against us, He had already overcome. We just have to be faithful. Happy Sabbath!

  11. Jesus Christ was the "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief"; while He was also "the fullness of joy." Both share the same space, neither eliminating the other. In our suffering we have an inner peace, an inner comfort, and inner joy, that being burned at the stake could not turn to ash. On the other end, having the joy of the Lord becomes a magnet for events of suffering in this life, as now is.

    Suffering and happiness do not necessarily co-exist. One can eliminate the other, under certain circumstances. To be "blessed" is a far more profound experience of being than to be "happy" as an emotional response to the site of favor. Jesus Christ meant "blessed" when He spoke of they that mourn, and they who suffer persecution, not happiness in grief or in being persecuted. We are "blessed", truly blessed, and highly appreciative. God bless.

    • Hi Hurford, I would like to add on your discussion that suffering and happiness need not coexist. They both produce sadness and happiness respectively. And it is humanly impossible to feel happy and sad at the same time, unless there's really something off psychologically. Interestingly, suffering seems to be a reason for Paul's happiness in these verses: Romans 5:3, James 1:12. And remember that verse, it's better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting? I see a lot of paradox here. I guess unless we truly reach that point of our Christian life where we fully submit our life to God can we truly experience that real joy even in persecution.


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