Posted by: glorifyhim1 | September 6, 2011

Rejoice Now!

 

You know, some days are just not days for rejoicing. Perhaps we may be facing a major life crisis such as a serious illness or the death of a loved one. Or we may find daily demands wearing us down as we struggle with financial or relationship issues. Whatever the source of our discontent, the bottom line is that some days we just don’t feel much like rejoicing. Yet tucked away in Scripture is a two-word verse that reads simply, “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Psalm 118:24 adds: “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” So the question that begs to be asked is how. How do we rejoice when we feel beaten down and worn out? How can we be glad when there’s month left with no money, or we’re looking at an empty chair. How can we rejoice at all times?

 

Mary, the mother of Jesus, offers a clue in answering this question. In Luke 1, an angel visits Mary to announce that she will have a baby who will be God’s Son. The angel greets Mary “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28). Following verses detail Mary’s fear and confusion as she struggles to understand how all of the angel’s prophecy will be fulfilled. Yet she responds in obedience and answers: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). Immediately, Mary left Nazareth and traveled to Judah to visit her relative Elizabeth, also with child. While there Mary rejoiced and praised God. Luke 1:46-47 records her beginning words of praise: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”

 

Mary was a very young woman at the time of this announcement and engaged to be married. This engagement was actually a covenant of marriage that the couple entered into about a year before the actual marriage took place. It was during this period that Mary would become pregnant, thereby suggesting infidelity. Questions surely swirled in Mary’s head. What would people think? Would Joseph understand or would he choose to divorce her? How would her family respond to her news? How would everything be worked out? Yet even in the midst of all the questions and confusion, Mary chose to rejoice. How? “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:47)  Mary rejoiced in God!

 

While we my not always be able to rejoice in our circumstances, those who know God our Savior can always rejoice in Him. Mary’s song of praise in Luke 1:46-55, often referred to as the “Magnificat,” rejoices over what God has done for her and others and over His holiness, mercy, and strength. Although she may not have understood how her situation would all be worked out, she knew that God had shown Himself faithful toIsraeland that she could count on His mercy, faithfulness, and love.

 

Just like Mary, even when we are in the middle of unsure circumstances, we, too, can rejoice in God.

 

  • We can rejoice in His salvation.

 

The prophet Isaiah stated: “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,” (Isaiah 61:10a).

 

When we know that we have failed, when we sin and need forgiveness, how wonderful to rejoice in the Lord, knowing that He has saved us and covered us with robes of righteousness.

 

  • We can rejoice in His mercy and the hope we have in Him.

 

The prophet Joel spoke during the time of a natural disaster, a swarm of locusts, and called the nation to repentance. His message also was used to encourage the righteous because of their hope in God’s future salvation and blessing. “Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you- the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame” (Joel 2:23-27).

 

Whatever disasters we may face, we can rejoice in both our Lord’s mercy when we turn to Him, and the future hope we have in Him. So even during the darkest of days we can rejoice in the hope we have in God.

 

  • We can rejoice in His help.

 

David declared: “Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice, My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:7-8).

 

We can be always be confident of God’s help whatever our situation. We can rejoice that we can rest in the shadow of His wings and that He will protect and help us.

 

  • We can rejoice in His power and sovereignty.

 

Habakkuk questioned how the evil could triumph and go unpunished. Yet God assured Habakkuk that He was in control and that He would judge. In Habakkuk 3:17-18, the prophet states: “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

 

Our world today is filled with many injustices, but we can be assured that God knows all and that He is in control. Even when life is unfair and evil seems to win, we can rejoice in the Lord, knowing that one day He will establish His kingdom and that all wrongs will be made right.

 

Mary did not wait until the angel’s prophecies were fulfilled before she rejoiced. She rejoiced as she waited, fully trusting God to fulfill His promises. We can rejoice now, too, even when we don’t necessarily feel like rejoicing because we can rejoice in God our Savior. We can trust Him in the midst of all our circumstances, disasters, illnesses, in good times and bad times. Time and again, He has proven Himself worthy of our trust. So like Mary, Isaiah, Joel, David, Habakkuk, and so many others in the pages of the Bible, let us rejoice in God our Savior. Rejoice now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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