Audio: The JOY of the FATHER (we are presenting an audio of this post to see if this is something our viewers are interested in, to share with friends who are not readers. Let us know what you think.)
What a blessing it is to serve God and to proclaim His kingdom in this world! He calls us as His children, His image bearers, to “be about the Father’s business.” But even a greater blessing than this is for Him to bid us come away with Him, from the hustle and bustle of His work, to spend time with Him.
Yesterday, after months of steady, and sometimes stressful, labor, it seemed as if the Father was leading me to sense His presence away from the work, just to enjoy Him.
It was not too many years ago that the Shorter Catechism became a special gift from Him. Although there are 107 questions and answers in this little booklet, the first one is the most important; one that has had a great impact on my life
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
What? Enjoy God? From what I had learned from my childhood, my sense of God was to fear him. Most of what I knew was in relationship to His wrath. Enjoying God was not a doctrine with which I was familiar. When I discovered this new teaching, the first thought of glorifying God came across as something that I had to do, but did not know how.
To enjoy God was not contemplated until later. Finally, there came the realization that enjoying God had something to do with glorifying Him. These two have a correlation that is bound up in a relationship. My main desire, then, became one of knowing how to enjoy Him.
When our purpose in all of life ~ the mindset of all that we are, what we think, speak and do ~ begins with another person, namely our Creator, the importance of all things shifts from us to Him. The desire of all things is focused upon Him.
As in my writing First Things, about the concept of love, beginning with a Father and passed on to us as His children, so the thing of joy begins with Him, also.
What a beautiful thought is found in Zephaniah 3:7, remembering that Jesus teaches us that God is our Father.
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
Joy, like love, is not a natural trait. It is a by-product of a relationship with the source of love and joy. The Father rejoices over His own work, in creating and redeeming His people.
What is our response?
“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them: let them also that love your name be joyful in you.” Psalm 5;11
“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11
And what is our response?
“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.” Psalm 43:4
Joy and Meekness
This joy springs from our relationship as humble and meek children before Him. His joy fills the humble earthen vessel.
“The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord.” Isaiah 29:19
Isaiah shows us that our joy is “in my God.” And we understand what He has done to evoke this joy in Him.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10
The joy of the Father is the same as the “joy of the Lord.”
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21
This joy comes, is in and through the Son, Jesus Christ. It is a full joy, a supernatural joy that no man can take away.
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Romans 5:11
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11
“And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you.” John 16:22
We also have this joy in the Holy Spirit.
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans 14:7
“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13
The Joy That Was Set Before Jesus
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Some say that this joy that was set before Him that enabled Jesus to endure the cross, was the joy of saving His people. Was it not more than that? Was it not the same joy that He had in relationship with the Father before time began, and before He came to earth to save His people. Was it not the joy of doing the will of the Father, to please Him, and to accomplish the work that He sent Him to do, and to return to His place with the Father?
Was not His joy a result of glorifying the Father in His life and His death, so that we might fulfill our chief end of glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever?
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 24-25