Friday, September 09, 2005

I will make them joyful: Is 56:6-7

Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath and holds fast My covenant; even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” (Isaiah 56:6-7)
I love it when the Lord declares what He is going to do, “I will bring them”, “I will make them joyful.” In our walk with God, there are some things that we must do ourselves. For example, we must repent and we must believe. This is why Paul says to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) There are other things, however, that God determines to do Himself. “I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me.” (Jeremiah 33:8) I am so glad that I do not have to clean myself up; it is God who cleanses me. I am also thankful that I did not have to come up with a way to atone for my own sins. God Himself decided to pay the price for my sins and sent His Son to bear the penalty I owed for my sins. God declared that He was going to do it, and He did it!

In this scripture, God declares His intention towards those who would join themselves to Him.

I will bring them.” It was not us who sought after God, but rather God sought after us. While we were off doing our own thing, God came looking for us. Even the yearning in our hearts for Him is not from ourselves but from the Holy Spirit who woos us to the Father. Jesus said of Himself, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32) Jesus is drawing us and we need only to respond.

I will make them joyful.” In the original Hebrew, the word for “joyful” can be translates “to brighten”. God wants to brighten us, to make us joyful, to lift us from our sorrow and sadness. Joy differs from happiness in that it is not dependent upon our circumstances but transcends them. Even in the worst of circumstances, we can still have joy. “And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:8) This kind of joy does not come from man, but is a gift from God.

In My house of prayer.” I must confess that there is a gap between this scripture and my personal experience. I cannot say that I am always “joyful” in prayer. While I believe in prayer and that God wants us to come before Him, “joyful” is not always an adjective that I would apply to my times of prayer. Given this gap, which do I choose to believe; my experience or the promises of God? I choose to believe God! I believe that God is working in my life to make me joyful in His house of prayer. I believe that there is a move of God to restore joy in our fellowship with the Father. God wants us to enjoy our times with Him. He wants our faces to be brightened as we look upon Him. I believe that in this hour God wants to make the “joy of the Lord” more than just a concept, He wants it to be a reality in our lives. Believe God for new things! Let Him draw you and bring you to His holy mountain and there, let Him pour over you His love and joy in ways you have not yet experienced.

David Robison

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