Wednesday, December 8, 2004

The Expression of Joy Godward

You have filled my heart with greater joy
Than when their grain and new wine abound.
(Psalm 4:7 NIV)

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
(Psalm 126:5)
The song of joy is inherently the song of thanksgiving. W. E. Vine defines thanksgiving as the expression of joy Godward (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).

Joy is the anticipation and celebration of harvest. The prophet Joel foretold a time of harvest joy for the people of God:
The LORD will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.” … Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice [shout for joy] 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. (Joel 2:19, 23-24)
This speaks of the time of Messiah, who releases Pentecost. Pentecost was the harvest festival of Israel, a time of returning thanks to the LORD and celebrating His goodness. The Pentecost of God, prefigured by all other Pentecosts, was the promise of the Holy Spirit being given by the Father to His people.

Before Jesus ascended to His heavenly throne, He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for this promise to be fulfilled: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This happened ten days later — fifty days after the Passover, when Jesus was offered for the sins of the world. (The word “Pentecost” means “fiftieth.”)

Because Jesus came at Christmas, and went on to Calvary, we can now live in the great harvest celebration of God. It is the time of feasting on the Living Bread — Jesus, of drinking deeply of the new wine of His Spirit, and of living powerfully in the oil of His anointing. Sing the new song and release the expression of joy Godward.