Joy

IT WAS A COOL CLEAR MORNING AND ALREADY THINGS WERE JUMPING.

HOPPING, REALLY

LEAPING, ACTUALLY.

I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT MURRAY THE GRASSHOPPER EITHER

I'M TALKING ABOUT THE KING! KING DAVID OF ISRAEL.

YOU WHO WERE WITH ME LAST WEEK FOR THE SERMON PROBABLY KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.

LAST WEEK I TOLD YOU THE STORY THAT IS FOUND IN 1 SAM 4. THE PHILISTINES AND ISRAEL MET IN BATTLE, ISRAEL LOST, 30K MEN WERE KILLED, AND THE ARK OF THE LORD WAS CAPTURED.

IT TURNED OUT, NATURALLY, THAT GOD COULD TAKE CARE OF HIMSELF, SO BEFORE 7 MONTHS HAD PASSED THE PHILISTINES HAD ENOUGH AND WERE GIVING THE ARK BACK TO ISRAEL.

THAT IS WHY THINGS WERE JUMPING NOW. KING DAVID, AFTER AT LOT OF PROBLEMS, DIFFICULTIES, DISCOURAGEMENTS, AND EVEN SOME DEATHS,

FINALLY WAS BRINGING THE ARK, THE VISIBLE PRESENCE OF THE GREAT AND MIGHTY LORD, BACK. BACK TO HIS OWN PEOPLE, BACK TO ISRAEL, TO THE CITY OF DAVID-- THE NEW CAPITOL IN JERUSALEM.

AND THAT IS WHERE THE JUMPING COMES IN.

TURN WITH ME TO 2 SAMUEL 6:14-17. READ HOW DO YOU THINK DAVID FELT?

MY FRIENDS, HOW IS YOUR LIFE TODAY? DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH KING DAVID HERE? DO YOU FEEL LIKE JUMPING FOR JOY? DO YOU FEEL LIKE LEAPING WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT? AS THE OLD DISCO SONG USED TO GO, DO YOU "FEEL LIKE DANCING?"

OR DO YOU FEEL DISCOURAGED? DO YOU FEEL SAD? HAVE THE CARES OF LIFE OVERWHELMED YOU, BEATEN YOU DOWN?

IF YOU HAD YOUR CHOICE, WHICH WAY WOULD YOU PREFER TO FEEL? WOULD YOU RATHER BE SAD OR JOYFUL?

MOST OF YOU HAVE MET MY STEP FATHER-IN-LAW, JULIUS, WHO LIVES WITH US FROM TIME TO TIME. WE GENERALLY FLY HIM TO AND FROM MICHIGAN.

JULIUS JUST BOUGHT A BRAND NEW HONDA PASSPORT AND MY WIFE IS CONVINCED THAT HE INTENDS TO DRIVE THE NEXT TIME HE COMES TO SEE US. SHE IS VERY WORRIED THAT HE WILL GET LOST. I SAID, "DON'T WORRY, HE HAS PLENTY OF TIME. IF HE HITS CUSTOMS AT CANADA HE WILL KNOW HE WENT TOO FAR NORTH. IF HE HITS THE FLORIDA KEYS HE WILL REALIZE HE WENT TOO FAR SOUTH. HE'LL MAKE IT -- EVENTUALLY."

WE KNOW AN ESSENTIAL PART OF TRAVELLING AN ESSENTIAL PART OF NOT GETTING LOST IS KNOWING WHERE YOU ARE GOING. THE SAME IS TRUE OF LIFE. IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING, IF YOU DON'T HAVE A GOAL, YOU CAN BE PRETTY SURE YOU ARE NOT GOING TO ARRIVE "AT THE RIGHT PLACE."

SOME CHRISTIANS TODAY DON'T KNOW THAT JOY IS A GOAL! I READ A MAGAZINE, THAT I WILL NOT NAME, THAT SAID THIS WHOLE IDEA OF CHRISTIANS CELEBRATING WAS WRONG. THE MAGAZINE SAID THAT IN VIEW OF THE TIMES WE SHOULD BE SERIOUS AND SAD AS WE EXAMINE THE SINS IN OUR LIFE.

I RECENTLY READ ANOTHER MAGAZINE, THAT AGAIN I WILL NOT NAME, WHICH REFERRED TO THE STORY I JUST READ AND SAID THAT DAVID WAS INVOLVED IN SLOW, CEREMONIAL DANCING! RIGHT.

THE NAY-SAYERS, THE DOOM AND GLOOM CROWD ARE NOT LIMITED TO OUR TIME.

LOOK AGAIN AT 2 SAM 6:16. DO YOU SEE WHERE IT SAYS THAT MICHAL (ME-KAWL'), DAUGHTER OF KING SAUL DESPISED DAVID FOR HIS SHOW OF EMOTION? THE TEXT HERE DOES NOT MAKE IT CLEAR, BUT MICHAL IS NOT SIMPLY THE FORMER KING'S DAUGHTER. SHE IS DAVID'S WIFE!

1 SAM 18 DESCRIBES HOW SHE BECAME DAVID'S FIRST WIFE AND HOW DAVID BECAME KING SAUL'S SON-IN-LAW.

LET'S READ A LITTLE MORE ABOUT HER ATTACK UPON DAVID'S SHOW OF JOY.

READ 2 SAM 6:20-22. MICHAL SAYS, "LOOK, YOU ARE THE KING. YOU NEED TO BE MORE DIGNIFIED THAN THIS. CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS."

DAVID HAS A VERY INTERESTING RESPONSE. HE SAYS THAT HE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE DIGNIFIED IN FRONT OF THE PEOPLE, BECAUSE IT WAS GOD, AND NOT THE PEOPLE WHO MADE HIM KING. SINCE HE IS DOING WHAT THE LORD WANTS, SINCE HE IS CELEBRATING BEFORE THE LORD IT IS ONLY THE LORD'S OPINION THAT MATTERS. AND HE IS GOING TO GET EVEN MORE UNDIGNIFIED! DAVID DOESN'T CARE ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK -- HE IS REJOICING BEFORE THE LORD!

NOTICE THE TRAILER IN v.23. IT SAYS THAT MICHAL NEVER HAD ANY CHILDREN.

IT DOES NOT SAY THAT MICHAL HAD NO CHILDREN BECAUSE SHE ATTACKED DAVID'S SHOW OF JOY, BUT THE STRONG IMPLICATION IS THAT DAVID WAS DOING THE LORD'S WILL WITH HIS REJOICING. AND MICHAL, WITH HER ATTACK, WAS NOT.

MY FRIENDS, THE BIBLE LEAVES NO DOUBT THAT JOY IS OUR GOAL. IF YOU WERE TO LOOK UP THE WORD "JOY" IN STRONG'S CONCORDANCE, THE TEXTS THAT SPEAK OF JOY COVER TWO WHOLE COLUMNS --TEN AND A HALF PAGES ON MY COMPUTER CONCORDANCE.

FOR EXAMPLE, TURN WITH ME TO JOHN 15:9-11. READ

DO YOU SEE THE PICTURE HERE? GOD SAYS THAT WHEN WE CHOSE HIM THERE ARE TWO JOYFUL PARTIES:

--YOU, AND -GOD!

ROMANS 14:17 TELLS US THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT A MATTER OF EATING AND DRINKING, "BUT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE AND JOY."

GALATIANS 5:22 LISTS THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT. WHAT IS THE NUMBER TWO FRUIT? FIRST IS LOVE, AND NEXT IS JOY!

JUDE 24 DESCRIBES US APPEARING BEFORE THE PRESENCE OF GOD. JUDE SPEAKS OF TWO CHARACTERISTICS WHICH ARE PRESENT IN THOSE WHO STAND BEFORE GOD: 1. THEY ARE FAULTLESS 2. THEY HAVE GREAT JOY.

IN TEXT AFTER TEXT THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT JOY AND REJOICING ARE GOD'S GOAL FOR HIS PEOPLE.

IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING JOY THIS MORNING -- AND I NOTE THAT I DIDN'T SEE ANY LEAPING OR DANCING IN THE SANCTUARY THIS MORNING -- IF YOU AGREE THAT JOY IS A GOAL. THAT JOY IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MORE OF IN YOUR LIFE. THEN LETS LOOK TOGETHER AT WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT HOW TO EXPERIENCE JOY. LETS LOOK AT THE BIBLE'S ROAD MAP TO JOY.

ON THING I'VE LEARNED ABOUT MAPS. YOU'VE GOT TO BE ON THE RIGHT PAGE.

THE KIDS HATE IT WHEN I READ THE MAP WHILE I'M DRIVING. GUESS IT IS THAT FEAR OF VIOLENT DEATH THAT GETS THEM RILED. IN ANY EVENT, ONE DAY I WAS CONSULTING THE MAP WHILE I WAS DRIVING. I KEPT GLANCING DOWN TIME AFTER TIME AND I JUST COULD NOT FIND MY PLACE. ALL OF A SUDDEN I REALIZED THAT THE PAGE OF THE MAP HAD TURNED! I COULD NOT POSSIBLY FIND "MY WAY" ON THAT PAGE.

THE BIBLE CLEARLY IDENTIFIES SOME WRONG PAGES IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR JOY.

LETS FIRST IDENTIFY THESE WRONG PAGES -- WHAT DOES NOT BRING JOY. KING SOLOMON, KING DAVID'S SON WAS NOT ONLY THE WISEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED, HE WAS SMART HE WAS RICH HE WAS SUCCESSFUL AND HE HAD 1000 WIVES (1KINGS 11:1-3) (WHICH MAKES YOU WONDER ABOUT HIS BEING SMART AND WISE -- AND NO DOUBT THIS MADE A DENT IN HIS RICHES TOO!)

IF YOU HAVE READ THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES YOU WERE ALSO PROBABLY STRUCK WITH THE FACT THAT SOLOMON OBVIOUSLY SUFFERED FROM PERIODS OF DEPRESSION.

IN ECCLESIASTES 1:18 KING SOLOMON SAYS THE SMARTER YOU ARE, THE MORE DEPRESSED YOU ARE LIKELY TO BE.

TURN WITH ME TO ECCLESIASTES 2:3-10. AND WE WILL READ WHAT SOLOMON DID TO HAVE JOY IN HIS LIFE. READ.

LETS RUN DOWN SOLOMON'S LIST: FIRST THING: DRINKING; SECOND, WORK. BIG BUILDING PROJECTS; THIRD, PROPERTY -- SLAVES AND MORE HERDS AND FLOCKS THAN ANYONE; FOURTH, MONEY -- SILVER, GOLD AND TREASURE; FIFTH, THE ARTS -- HE HAD PEOPLE SINGING FOR HIM; SIXTH, WOMEN -- HE HAD A HAREM. 700 WIVES AND 300 CONCUBINES (SECONDARY WIVES); SEVENTH, REPUTATION. HE WAS SOMEBODY, HE WAS GREAT; AND, EIGHTH, PLEASURE. HE SAYS (v.10) I DENIED MYSELF NOTHING MY EYES DESIRED."

DID IT WORK? ARE THESE THE PATHS JOY? READ 2:11, 15-18. SOLOMON SAYS THAT NONE OF THESE THINGS BROUGHT HIM JOY, THEY WERE ALL MEANINGLESS BECAUSE HE WOULD DIE, BE FORGOTTEN AND v.18 ALL HIS STUFF HE WOULD "LEAVE TO THE ONE WHO COMES AFTER ME."

HOW MANY OF YOU WATCHED OR READ ABOUT THE JACKIE ONASSIS AUCTION AT SOOTHBY'S?

LIKE SOLOMON SHE WAS RICH, FAMOUS AND AT THE CENTER OF THE POWER OF GOVERNMENT.

YET ANYBODY WITH SUFFICIENT MONEY COULD OWN HER STUFF.

I DIDN'T NEED TO SEE THE KENNEDY AUCTION TO LEARN THIS LESSON.

ABOUT FIVE YEARS AGO, AFTER MY FATHER HAD DIED AND MY MOTHER HAD MOVED TO A NURSING HOME BECAUSE OF HER ALZHEIMER'S, I WAS LEFT TO "TAKE CARE" OF THE BEST OF WHAT THEY HAD ACQUIRED DURING A LIFE- TIME. THEY HAD MOVED ABOUT THREE YEARS BEFORE, AND THEY PRESUMABLY HAD GOTTEN RID THREE YEARS BEFORE OF THEIR THINGS THAT THEY DIDN'T CARE ABOUT. ALTHOUGH I HAD A RENTAL TRUCK, MY BROTHER AND I COULD ONLY TAKE A FRACTION OF WHAT MY FOLKS HAD DECIDED TO KEEP THREE YEARS BEFORE.

SO WE WERE SELLING THEIR POSSESSIONS FOR PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR, AND BAGGING UP A LOT OF THEIR THINGS TO GIVE AWAY.

AS I LOOKED SADLY AT THOSE BAGS, I THOUGHT "THIS IS WHAT LIFE COMES TO." MY FATHER WAS SMART, HIGHLY EDUCATED, WELL-KNOWN IN THE COMMUNITY AND A SUCCESSFUL MAN, BUT ULTIMATELY WE WERE BAGGING UP HIS STUFF AND GIVING IT AWAY.

I TELL YOU, IT MADE ME LOOK AT MY "VALUABLE" POSSESSIONS A LOT DIFFERENTLY.

SO THE WISEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED, THE ONE WHO REALLY KNEW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT TESTIFIES THAT REAL JOY IS NOT FOUND IN: MONEY PROPERTY YOUR JOB YOUR REPUTATION OR CHASING AFTER BEAUTIFUL WOMEN (OR MEN)

INSTEAD, THE BIBLE'S PLAN FOR JOY IS FOUND ELSEWHERE. THIS PLAN HAS FIVE PARTS. A FIVE PART PLAN FOR JOY.

LETS GET BACK TO OUR FRIEND KING DAVID. TURN BACK WITH ME TO 2 SAM 6 AND WE WILL LOOK AGAIN AT SOMETHING WE DISCUSSED LAST WEEK.

LETS READ 6:8-10. WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT DAVID'S EMOTIONS? IT SAYS HE IS ANGRY! IT SAYS HE WAS AFRAID, OR WORRIED, IT SHOWS THAT HE WAS FRUSTRATED AND DISCOURAGED- HOW WILL I EVER GET THIS ARK HOME? IT SHOWS THAT DAVID GAVE UP. HE LEFT THE ARK WITH OBED.

LET ME ASK YOU. IS ANGER, FEAR, WORRY, FRUSTRATION, AND DISCOURAGEMENT, SO THAT YOU FEEL LIKE GIVING UP, A REGULAR PART OF YOUR LIFE? IT WAS FOR DAVID THEN.

BUT IN A MERE THREE MONTHS, WE FIND THAT DAVID WAS LEAPING FOR JOY! SOUNDS LIKE AN AD, RIGHT? THIN THIGHS IN 90 DAYS! ANGER TO JOY IN 90 DAYS! WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE? WHAT TURNED ANGER AND FRUSTRATION INTO JOY?

DAVID LEARNED GOD'S WILL!

LAST WEEK WE LEARNED THAT DAVID SPENT THE THREE MONTHS LEARNING GOD'S WILL. LEARNING GOD'S SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR TRANSPORTING THE ARK.

IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE PULLED IN A CART -- THAT IS WHAT THE PHILISTINES DID BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T KNOW ANY BETTER.

WE LEARNED LAST WEEK THAT GOD HAD GIVEN SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS THAT HIS ARK WAS TO BE CARRIED. THAT IS WHY IN v.3 WE FIND GOD'S ARK "ON A NEW CART" AND IN v.13, WHEN DAVID IS LEAPING FOR JOY, WE FIND THE ARK BEING CARRIED.

DOES IT SURPRISE YOU THAT A NECESSARY ELEMENT OF JOY IS TO FIND OUT GOD'S INSTRUCTIONS AND THEN OBEY THEM? THE TEXT THAT WE READ EARLIER: JOHN 15:9-11 EXPLICITLY LINKS OUR JOY TO OBEYING GOD'S COMMANDMENTS.

MY NEW SECRETARY CAME TO ME A FEW DAYS AGO TO DISCUSS HER JEEP CHEROKEE. APPARENTLY SHE HEARD THAT I WAS A "CAR GUY," OR AS THE "MECHANICALLY-CHALLENGED" LAWYERS WHO WORK WITH ME SAY SOMEWHAT DERISIVELY: "GREASE MONKEY."

IN THE COURSE OF OUR CONVERSATION SHE TOLD ME A STORY ABOUT HER HUSBAND WHO NOT ONLY IS NOT A "CAR GUY," HE NEVER READS THE OWNER'S MANUAL.

HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE SEEN AN AIR CLEANER FOR A CAR? DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DO WHEN IT GETS DIRTY? THE CLEANING PART IS ALMOST ALWAYS PAPER. SO YOU THROW IT AWAY AND GET A NEW ONE.

MY SECRETARY HAD BEEN BUGGING HER HUSBAND ABOUT THE AIR CLEANER BECAUSE SHE HAD READ THE OWNER'S MANUAL, AND IT WAS TIME FOR A CHANGE.

THE PROBLEM WAS, NEITHER OF THEM READ ANYTHING ABOUT HOW YOU DID IT. THEY WERE CONVINCED THAT WHAT YOU DID WITH THE AIR CLEANER WAS TO WASH IT. AND THE HOUSEHOLD DEBATE WAS WHETHER THE HUSBAND WOULD WASH IT IN GASOLINE OR IN WATER. HE ARGUED FOR GAS AND SHE ARGUED FOR WATER.

SHE WON OUT, AND SO HE WASHED THEIR AIR CLEANER IN WATER. HE LEFT IT OUT TO DRY, BUT HE HAD A GOLFING DATE, AND THE AIR CLEANER HAD NOT DRIED YET. HE FIGURED IT COULD DRY ON THE ENGINE, SO HE INSTALLED THE WET, SOAPY AIR CLEANER BACK ON THE ENGINE.

WHEN HE TRIED TO START THE ENGINE, IT WOULD NOT START. INSTEAD, WHEN HE POPPED THE HOOD, SOAPY FOAM COVERED THE ENGINE.

SO THEY PUT THE AIR CLEANER IN THE CLOTHES DRYER AND TURNED IT ON.

I CAN TELL YOU FRIENDS, THAT MY SECRETARY REPORTS THAT WHILE THIS WAS GOING ON, THERE WAS NOT MUCH JOY IN THAT HOUSEHOLD.

A VERY SIMPLE MATTER, WAS MADE VERY DIFFICULT BECAUSE THEY DID NOT CONSULT THE PROPER MANUALS.

AND SO IT IS WITH LIFE. [HOLD UP BIBLE] IF YOU WANT TO HAVE JOY, YOU MUST KNOW THIS MANUAL AND YOU MUST OBEY.

THE SECOND PART OF THE BIBLICAL PLAN FOR JOY IS WORSHIP. THAT IS RIGHT. BEING HERE TODAY IS PART OF THE PLAN FOR JOY.

I WAS SYSTEMATICALLY GOING THROUGH THE BOOK OF PSALMS READING ALL THE TEXTS THAT TRANSLATED THE HEBREW WORD (SIM-KHAW'), WHICH MEANS JOY, MIRTH, OR GLADNESS. I WAS STRUCK BY THE LARGE NUMBER OF THOSE VERSES WHICH SPOKE ABOUT EXPERIENCING JOY IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD. THE CLEAR IMPLICATION WAS THAT THE TWO WERE RELATED. AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE IS PS 100. TURN THERE WITH ME. READ.

ANOTHER TEXT, PS 16:11 TIES THESE FIRST TWO PARTS OF THE PLAN FOR JOY TOGETHER. PS 16:11 SAYS, "YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE PATH OF LIFE; YOU WILL FILL ME WITH JOY IN YOUR PRESENCE, WITH ETERNAL PLEASURES AT YOUR RIGHT HAND."

--"YOU HAVE MADE KNOW TO ME THE PATH OF LIFE." YOU HAVE TOLD ME HOW TO LIVE. I HAVE LEARNED HOW YOU SAY I SHOULD LIVE FROM YOUR MANUAL.

-- AND SO WHEN I COME INTO YOUR PRESENCE I AM FILLED WITH JOY.

I'VE GOT THE PLAN -- AND I'M HAPPY TO BE WITH YOU.

THE THIRD PART OF THIS PLAN FOR JOY IS TRUSTING GOD. TURN WITH ME TO PS 94:18-19 READ.

WORRY KILLS JOY.

I REMEMBER THIS COURT CASE I HAD YEARS MANY YEARS AGO. IT WAS GIVEN TO ME "AT THE LAST MINUTE" BEFORE TRIAL. I DO NOT LIKE TAKING OVER CASES FROM ANYONE ELSE AND I NEVER LIKE HAVING SOMETHING "AT THE LAST MINUTE."

I LEARNED THAT MY LOCAL COUNSEL, WHO HAD GRADUATED FROM ONE OF THE VERY TOP LAW SCHOOLS IN THE COUNTRY WAS A "LUNATIC." HE SEEMED TO BE CONSTANTLY SHOUTING. WORSE, WHEN I SHOWED UP TO TRY THE CASE, THE JUDGE TURNED OUT TO BE A "LUNATIC" TOO! I HAD NEVER SEEN A JUDGE THAT SEEMED TO SHOUT SO MUCH FOR NO REASON.

SO HERE I WAS FACING TRIAL WITH TWO LUNATICS. WHEN I SHOWED UP FOR TRIAL, THE JUDGE TOLD ME THE TRIAL WOULD HAVE TO BE POSTPONED FOR AT LEAST A MONTH. THE MONTH I WAS SCHEDULED TO BE ON VACATION ON THE BEACH. DO YOU THINK I THOUGHT RESTFUL THOUGHTS ON THE BEACH THAT MONTH? NO! I WORRIED ABOUT HAVING TO TRY THIS CASE IN FRONT OF A LUNATIC!

THE POST SCRIPT? WHEN I TURNED UP FOR TRIAL AFTER VACATION A NEW JUDGE, WHO WAS THE NICEST, MOST REASONABLE GUY, WAS ASSIGNED TO THE CASE. (AND WE WON!)

WORRY KILLS JOY. THE PSALMIST HERE SAYS HE HAD "GREAT ANXIETY."-- BIG WORRIES! BUT HE SAYS THE CONSOLATION OF GOD BROUGHT HIM JOY. GIVE GOD YOUR WORRIES!

THAT TAKES US TO PART FOUR OF THE PLAN FOR JOY. IF TRUSTING GOD WITH OUR PROBLEMS AND OUR PROPERTY BRINGS JOY, HOW ABOUT TRUSTING HIM WITH OUR LIVES?

WHEN THE ANGELS CAME TO THE SHEPHERD TO ANNOUNCE THE ARRIVAL OF JESUS, DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT THE ANGEL SAID? LUKE 2:10 "DO NOT BE AFRAID. I BRING YOU GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY THAT WILL BE FOR ALL PEOPLE!"

FRIENDS, THE NEWS THAT GOD CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN FOR OUR SAKE, LIVED A PERFECT LIFE FOR OUR SAKE, DIED A HORRID DEATH IN OUR PLACE SO THAT WE CAN LIVE FOREVER WITH HIM IS CAUSE FOR JOY!

DO YOU SEE HOW THIS BRINGS TOGETHER THE FIRST THREE PARTS? BECAUSE HE HAS SAVED US, WE HAVE JOY IN OBEDIENCE WE HAVE JOY IN COMING INTO HIS PRESENCE WE HAVE JOY IN CASTING OUR BURDENS UPON HIM.

BUT THE FIFTH, AND LAST PART OF OUR PLAN FOR JOY MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT, FROM A PRACTICAL POINT OF VIEW.

I READ AN LETTER TO THE EDITOR IN THE REVIEW FROM A WOMAN WHO WAS DEPRESSED, AND HER COMPLAINT WAS THAT PREACHERS WHOSE SERMONS SPOKE ABOUT TRUST AND JOY AND DEPENDANCE ON GOD ONLY MADE HER SITUATION WORSE BECAUSE THEY MADE HER FEEL LIKE A BIGGER SINNER.

THERE ARE CIRCUMSTANCES IN LIFE THAT CLEARLY KILL JOY. ONE OF THE FELLOWS IN MY OFFICE LOST BOTH OF HIS CHILDREN ON THE SAME DAY IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT. THEY WERE KILLED IN FRONT OF HIM BY A DRUNK DRIVER.

FRIENDS, IF THAT HAPPENED TO ME, I'M NOT SURE I COULD HANDLE A SERMON ON JOY.

MY GRANDNIECE DIED A FEW WEEKS AGO WHEN SHE WAS NINE DAYS OLD. I'M NOT SURE HER PARENTS COULD HANDLE A SERMON ON JOY.

THE BIBLE SPEAKS TO THIS. TURN WITH ME TO PS 137. READ v.1-4. GOD'S PEOPLE WERE IN CAPTIVITY, THEY WERE FEELING AWFUL, AND THE QUESTION WAS, "HOW CAN WE FEEL JOY WHEN WE ARE IN A FOREIGN LAND?"

MY FRIENDS THAT IS US TODAY! WE ARE IN A FOREIGN LAND, WE ARE IN A LAND WHERE PARENTS SEE THEIR CHILDREN KILLED, WE ARE IN A LAND OF SICKNESS, AND PAIN AND DEATH. WE ARE IN A LAND IN WHICH THERE IS A WAR GOING ON BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL.

MY FRIENDS, THE FIFTH AND LAST PART TO ACHIEVING JOY IS TO TAKE THE LONG VIEW. (AND I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT PASTOR LONG HERE EITHER.) LOOK AGAIN WITH ME AT PS.137. READ vv.5-6. YOU CAN'T PLAY THE HARP IF YOU DON'T USE YOUR RIGHT HAND AND YOU CANNOT SING FOR JOY IF YOUR TONGUE IS STUCK TO THE ROOF OF YOUR MOUTH.

THE PSALMIST SAYS WE ARE IN EXILE NOW IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, BUT WE SHOULD KEEP OUR EYES ON RETURNING TO JERUSALEM.

I CALL THAT THE LONG VIEW. WE NEED TO KEEP OUR EYES ON THE GOAL. JEWS SUFFERING IN FOREIGN LANDS TODAY HAVE A SAYING THAT I LOVE AND WANT TO STEAL FROM THEM. "NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM." THEIR HOPE IS THEIR GOAL IS NEXT YEAR TO BE OUT OF THE FOREIGN LAND, AND INSTEAD BE IN THE JEWISH HOMELAND: JERUSALEM OF ISRAEL.

WE SHOULD SAY, "NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM." EXCEPT WE MEAN THE NEW JERUSALEM -- GOD'S THRONE IN HEAVEN!

IF YOU TAKE THE LONG VIEW, IF YOUR HOPE IS SET ON HEAVEN, THEN LIKE THE CAPTIVE JEWS DESCRIBED IN PS 137, YOUR HOPE FOR HEAVEN, YOUR HOPE FOR AN EARTH MADE NEW, GIVES YOU JOY. IT LETS YOU PLAY YOUR HARP AND SING YOUR SONGS OF ZION.

PROVERBS 10:28 SAYS, "THE PROSPECT OF THE RIGHTEOUS IS JOY." OUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE GIVES US JOY.

JESUS DESCRIBED THAT VERY THING TO HIS DISCIPLES. HE KNEW THAT THEY WOULD SOON GO THROUGH A TERRIBLE TIME BECAUSE OF HIS UPCOMING CRUCIFIXION. SO IN JOHN 16:22 HE SAID: "NOW IS YOUR TIME OF GRIEF, BUT I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN AND YOU WILL REJOICE, AND NO ONE WILL TAKE AWAY YOUR JOY."

NOW, BECAUSE OF TRAGEDY, WE MAY SUFFER GRIEF, BUT JESUS SAYS THAT HE WILL SEE US AGAIN, AND WHEN HE DOES NO ONE. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, WILL TAKE AWAY OUR JOY!

DO YOU REMEMBER WE READ PS 137 ABOUT THE JEWS BEING IN CAPTIVITY AND THERE ONLY HOPE FOR JOY WAS TO LOOK FORWARD TO GOING HOME?

TURN WITH ME TO PS 126, BECAUSE THIS DESCRIBES HOMECOMING. I'M GOING TO READ IT TO YOU IN CLOSING.

READ PS 126:1-6.

MY FRIENDS, THE GREAT GOD IN HEAVEN WILL GIVE YOU JOY! MAY WE BE NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!

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