January 20 2023
Today, Friday January 20
“Shout For Joy”
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
David begins this Psalm talking about the blessedness or happiness of the man who has his sins forgiven! And now he ends it with some instructions from the Lord and speaks of the joy of the person who has a heart that is right with the Lord. I’ve always thought that genuine happiness is the outward expression of the inner joy that we can only really experience in Christ Jesus!
Jesus told His disciples in John 15:9-11: "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” The joy the Lord is speaking of here is that satisfaction and sense of completeness and fulness of life that is experienced by those abiding in the Father’s love and free to do His will and keep His commandments!
When David sinned and disobeyed the commandments of God, he lost the joy of his salvation and freedom to worship and enjoy life! Remember in Psalm 51:12 David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation…”. When we sin as believers, we lose the assurance which gives us the joy of our salvation. We don’t feel complete any longer. Something is missing in our life. The first three fruits of the Spirit are love, joy and peace. Our love for the Word and prayer is gone. Our love for fellowship with other believers is gone. We want to avoid them. And the peace of God is gone when we willingly rebel against the Lord’s commandments. We lose our joy, but thankfully, we do not lose our salvation!
In these last verses of Psalm 32:8-9, God speaks to David, assuring him that the joy of salvation would be restored to him (51:12) if he obeyed the Lord and walked in His way. David's wrong thinking got him into serious trouble, but the Lord would instruct him, guide him, and keep His loving eye on him (Psalm 33:18; 34:15). David's faith (vv. 5-6) must now issue in obedience, for faith and works must go together. God doesn't forgive us so that we can go back and sin! "But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared" (Psalm 130:4).
When David gazed at Bathsheba, lusted after her, and then committed adultery, and when he plotted to kill her husband, David saw himself acting like a free man; but God saw him acting like an animal! We are made in God's image, but when we choose to knowingly rebel against God's law, we descend into what the older translations call acting "brutish" (Psalm 92:6; 94:8; Jeremiah 10:8, 14, 21) and modern translations call "senseless." Like the horse, David rushed ahead impetuously, and like the mule, he was stubborn and tried to cover his sins. The only way to control animals is to break them and harness them, but God didn't want to do that to His beloved servant David. Instead, He would teach him His Word and keep His eye upon him, surrounding him with mercy.
No wonder David would later say when he wrote Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….”. He found God’s wonderful and sweet forgiveness!
Yes, my friend, “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him…”. When we confess our sins and turn from them and experience God’s forgiveness we can join with David and say, “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”