Christ and Culture

Advent Study #3 – Joy

15 Dec , 2019  

 Scriptures for Joy


And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.   (1 Chronicles 15:16)


The Tabernacle of Moses had been replaced many times over the centuries. The one was at Shiloh was old. David built a new Tabernacle and situated 1t in Jerusalem. David loved the LORD. He loved music, so he determined that the LORD deserved musical praise 24 hours a day every day. To facilitate that, he turned Levites into singers, musicians and dancers. Thus, there was joyful music of praise continually glorifying God.  dove-vector-clipart


And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.

And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.

Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.

Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.

Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.   (1 Chronicles 29:7-13)


David was preparing all that was necessary for Solomon to build a glorious Temple for יהוה. He invited the people to contribute. They joyously came forward with great generosity. The bringing their treasures filled the people joy as sacrificially they gave their treasures to adorn the Temple of the LORD.

David praised God for His

  • Greatness
  • Power
  • Glory
  • Victories He had given Israel
  • Majesty

He further acknowledged God created all, so everything belongs to Him. With great joy David gave thanks to Almighty God.  dove-vector-clipart


Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.

And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintains the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:

That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.

Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord.   (1 Kings 8:56-62)

And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.

On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.   (1 Kings 8:65-66)


Solomon had completed the first Temple. He called a convocation of all the leaders and the people in Israel. Solomon adjured the people to always seek God, and to keep their hearts open to Him. He called the people to perpetually remember and repeat Solomon’s words to keep their relationship fresh with the LORD.

The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let Him not leave us, nor forsake us: That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments   (1 Kings 8:57)

He appealed to the people to be obedient to God every day just as they were on that day of glorious celebration. To allow their bodies go along with their spirits, Solomon Presented to the People of God a continual, bountiful feast for two weeks. As the people went home, their hearts were filled with gratitude for what the LORD had done for Israel through the reign of King David.  dove-vector-clipart


And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat, And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the Lord had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.   (Ezra 6:21-22)


These folks had in their short-term memories their banishment from the Land of Promise, and being castaways in Babylon, a pagan culture. To have the foundation celebration of the Passover in the Land of Promise was ecstasy. Their joy knew no bounds.  dove-vector-clipart


Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth.

Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; Let the field exult, and all that is therein; Then shall the trees of the wood sing for joy before Jehovah;

For he cometh to judge the earth. O give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; For his loving kindness endureth for ever.   (1 Chronicles 16:31-34)


God’s reign is the cause for great rejoicing in Almighty God. It resounds throughout the whole of creation. His judgment is true and will eliminate evil. That will free the sentient and the non-sentient of Creation to experience, unhindered, God’s loving kindness.  dove-vector-clipart


But let all those that take refuge in thee rejoice, Let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: Let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou wilt bless the righteous; O Jehovah, thou wilt compass him with favor as with a shield.   (Psalms 5:11-12)


Our God is a fortress and a high tower. In Him we never need to fear. We love His name, because in His name we are more than conquerors. Because we love the Lord God, He has clothed us in His righteousness. His favor becomes our shield from all evil, so out of trust in Him and gratitude for His favor, our hearts overflow with joy.  dove-vector-clipart


looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.   (Hebrews 12:2)


Jesus is not only our Creator, but He granted us the faith to believe in Him. Further, He sent the Holy Spirit to work in us to sanctify us in preparation for our entry with panoply into the Kingdom of God. It was his joy to suffer all to have the privilege to usher us, redeemed, cleansed and sanctified into the Present of Almighty and all righteous God. Finally, to have the complete joy of in triumph take His rightful place on the throne to the right of His Father.  dove-vector-clipart


that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ: whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.   (1 Peter 1:7-9)


Our faith is proved by our faithfulness in following Christ. Tried in the fires of tribulation, all the dross is removed and we come through as much fine gold! When Christ shall return, we will stand forth as prime examples of His grace delivered to us.

Despite the real Jesus being immaterial, and therefore, invisible to our eyes, our embrace of His reality gives us reason to Rejoice. But not in worldly joy, but far more, a joy that is heavenly and surpasses what we can declaim; therefore, it is joy unspeakable and full of glory.

There is no joy greater than to experience the results of our salvation in and through Jesus Christ: the eternal life in the Presence of the infinitely loving God Almighty.  dove-vector-clipart


Questions for Joy


What was the difference between worship in the Tabernacle of Moses and the Tabernacle of David?

Answer: The worship in the Tabernacle of Moses was primarily sacrifice of animals to atone for sin. It was the priest’s job to slaughter and burn the carcasses of the sacrificial animals. They pursued their job in workman-like efficiency. The atmosphere was solemn.

The Tabernacle of David, in contrast, in addition to the sacrifice of animals, the Levite musicians were playing, singing and dancing to worship יהוה. They were expressing love for the Holy, Righteous God. They were performing to His honor with joy. It was noisy, it was lively, it was jubilant.


What caused the People to rejoice greatly when they brought their offerings to the Temple and to יהוה?

Answer: They had a monument to their God. The Temple made God seem more permanent, more real. They were glad to bring their offerings. Further, as they relied more on יהוה, He prospered them. The free-will offerings were presented out of deep gratitude for His blessings, and because they were prospering. After God’s bounty, their tithes seemed a smaller amount, because the prosperity made what was left so much greater than the whole in previous years.


How can inanimate and non-sentient things, like the sea, mountains and trees, “sing for joy before Jehovah”?

Answer: To some extent this is hyperbole; however, God is Creator and he can give to non-sentient things the cognition to appreciate being created.


What does it mean that Jesus had to go through ridicule, scourging and crucifixion to receive the joy that was awaiting Him?

Answer: Before he could cry, “It is finished!”, our Savior had to drink the cup the Father presented Him to the dregs.

“Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”  (Hebrews 4:14-15)

He had to be tempted and to experience the depths of our pain and suffering, (even to include the experience of His Father’s turning His back on His Only Begotten Son, because Jesus took on the guilt of all our sin on the cross).

“Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that canst not look on perverseness, …”  (Habakkuk 1:13)

Thus, Jesus, because of His love for us, bore our penalty for sin, freeing us to rejoice with “joy unspeakable and full of glory” in the presence of our Father, basking in His love for eternity!


Reflection Question of Joy

Have you ever had occasion to “rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory”?

Answer: We experience great joy at falling in love, on one’s wedding day, at the birth of a child, at receiving a much cherished and longed-for gift, at being praised by someone we respect.

But the abounding joy described as “unspeakable and full of glory”, we will experience at our gathering around the throne of God and worshiping Him with all the fervor within us, falling on our faces in adoration and casting all the honors we have ever received at the feet of our magnificent and majestic God, and I suspect, interspersed with dancing and singing His praises in jubilation!

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