Joy and the Tale of Two Kings

Posted: December 28, 2008 in christian growth, Joy
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While these two stories may look unrelated, I assure you they are a perfect little tag team and essential for our joy project.  There is much treasure to be found as we look beneath the skin of these scriptures and continue to dissect joy.

READ: I Chronicles 15 & 2 Chronicles 15

Key Verses: 1 Chronicles 15:25 & 2 Chronicles 15:14 & 15

Key Principle: The presence of God brings joy that is real, lasting and extravagant.

I

n I Chronicles 15, we find King David – a man who has wealth, power, women, and a really cool castle – still longing for the presence of God in his city. Aside: isn’t it interesting how those who look like they have everything often have everything but joy?

It’s a long and winding road for him to get to it (you can read that sorry story in I Chronicles 13), but when he does, he is filled with joy. This is not just a little happy outburst – this is whirling, twirling, embarrass-the-wife-and-kids JOY. With this over-the-top display of affection, David sets the example for how God should be greeted (note to self: how do I say hello to God when I see Him?). He demonstrates here that no matter how powerful or important you are, and no matter how many mistakes or death experiences have gotten you to it, finding the presence of God will really and truly saturate your life with joy. A few verses down the road from this story (I Chronicles 16:11) you can almost hear the urgency in his voice as David implores his people to Seek the Lord and His strength; yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually.” These are the words of a man who understands that the presence of God will change despair to hope, death to life, mourning to dancing and sorrow to joy.

This story is so challenging to me and has led me to the conclusion that if His presence doesn’t bring me real, true, soul-deep joy, then I’m not paying enough attention. I cannot allow myself to  focus on the “if only’s” anymore. “I could be happy if only I had more money… more time…more direction….” The presence of God stands alone and is the great joy-giver. If I will set my affection on His friendship, I will know new levels of happiness, health, courage and peace.

The second story is another wonderful example of how a king leads his people to a joy-filled life. When King Asa takes over for his father, he inherits a nation in a big mess (sound familiar?)  In an effort to clean the place up, Asa calls the people to vow that they will pursue God’s presence with their whole hearts and lives (which is exactly what King David had asked the people to do many years and verses earlier in 1 Chronicles 15….see how this all comes together?) In fact, it’s such a core value of the kingdom, that the penalty for violating the oath is death. I’ve worked with teenagers for many years, and I am quite familiar with the way they respond to rigid rules (though I’ve never set any that included the death penalty.) So it seems to me that enacting this law would be like putting a spiritual strait jacket on the whole nation and would be met with weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth; it’s a recipe for revolt. Nope. Quite the contrary. It says in verse 14, “They took the oath with a loud voice and rejoicing and the sound of the trumpets”. An absolute party erupts as these spiritual stragglers regroup and recommit. Seriously, they treat seeking the Lord like winning the lottery and the results are big, big, BIG! Look at these marvelous words:

“He was found by them and the Lord gave them rest and peace all around.”

Oh, so beautiful. That’s a sentence I envy for my own life. How magnificent to truly find the Lord and to experience peace and rest in every direction. I have to be honest and say that right now I don’t have that, but I am believing that as I seek Him with joy, and as I yearn for Him with my whole desire, that He will give me those things in abundance. Oh, I am believing, friend and I’m believing for you, too!

Worth pondering:

  • How do I generally greet the presence of God in my life?
  • What areas in my life need more of the peace and rest of God?
  • Is there any area that I need to recommit to Him today in order make room for His presence in my life?

Next up:  Still more on how the presence of God brings unshakable joy from one of my favorite scriptures EVER.

Choosing joy,

Bo

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