Psa. 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.
There are all sorts of joy found in this world; as they say, ‘Different strokes for different folks’. As we grow up from child hood, survive adolescence, development into full adulthood, and then gracefully grow old; our joy tends to focus on certain things. It grows from a simple pacifier, to trucks and dolls, then ‘only heaven knows’ as a teen, to houses and careers, to grandkids through our changing years. Today’s verse talks about a different kind of joy that in one since is changeless, yet in another is always growing in intensity. It’s a joy that can be discovered in the earliest parts of our lives and can grow and sustain us until our final day. Of course I am describing the spiritual joy, the joy of the Lord. It is not based on circumstances and is available to everyone. Where do we find it? In the presence of the Lord. Here is how Jonathan Edwards described this joy.
“Sometimes only mentioning a single word, causes my heart to burn within me: or only seeing the name of Christ, or the name of some attribute of God. And God has appeared glorious to me, on account of the Trinity. It has made me have exalting thoughts of God, that he subsists in three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The sweetest joys and delights I have experienced, have not been those that have arisen from a hope of my own good estate; but in a direct view of the glorious things of the gospel. When I enjoy this sweetness, it seems to carry me above the thoughts of my own safe estate. It seems at such times a loss that I cannot bear, to take off my eye from the glorious, pleasant object I behold without me, to turn my eye in upon myself, and my own good estate.”
Jonathan Edwards was a pastor during the Great Awakening in the colonial era of our nation. He was touched deeply by the Holy Spirit and obviously tasted a joy far different from anything this present life has to offer. This joy is still available today. How do I know? Because I have tasted this joy in my life in different measures over the last 42 years. It has kept me and challenged me onward all throughout my life. Press in for yourself, there is more to this than you can ever imagine.