Reasons for Joy
Last week, we learned that the joyful person is the one who does three things. He puts his trust in God, loves His name and lives righteously. Now, we examine reasons for the Christian’s joy from the same text in Psalms 5:11-12. “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”
The Christian rejoices in three things God does for him. Two of the things are similar and can be combined. In verse 11, we are encouraged to be joyful because God defends us. In verse 12, it says God compasses us with favor as with a shield. The verb “compass” means “to surround; encompass.” The Psalmist’s picture is that of God defending us as He surrounds us with His favor like a shield.
Fear robs us of joy. Trust in an all powerful protecting God dispels our fears. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” (Psalms 46:1-2) Even when Christians suffered persecution by their enemies, Peter asked, “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” (1 Peter 3:13)
Consider, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Psalms 34:7) Also, “O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” (Psalms 34:9-10) This reminds us of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:30-33 where worry is attributed to having little faith.
When the Syrian army surrounded the city where the prophet Elisha was, his young servant was quite concerned. Elisha said, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:16-17)
The entire 91st Psalm gives assurance of God protecting those who trust Him. “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (91:11-12) Satan misused this passage to tempt Jesus to throw himself off the pinnacle of the temple to test if God would protect Him. Jesus answered, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matthew 4:7) We are not to test God’s promise to protect us by intentionally putting ourselves in danger.
A third reason for the Christian having joy is that God blesses the righteous. (Psalms 5:12) God has blessed all men with physical blessings like sunshine and rain. (Matthew 5:45) God has many spiritual blessings for His spiritual children. (Ephesians 1:3) The apostle Peter quoted Psalms 34:12-15 in his first epistle. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous … but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (1 Peter 3:10-12) The expectation of the righteous to receive God’s blessings should cause rejoicing!