"The Joy of the Lord." There was a time "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job xxxviii:7). It was in the beginning when the heavens and the earth were created by Him, who is before all things and by whom all things consist, the Son of God. With what joy He must have beheld what was called into existence by Him and for Him (Col. i:16). But even before the foundation of the world He had joy. With God, in the bosom of the Father Love, Glory and Joy were His eternal portion. All was known to Him from the beginning. The fall of Satan, the fall of man through Satan, the entrance of sin with all its results, the cost price of redemption, the suffering in the flesh on the cross for the redemption of the creature, the multitudes, whom no man can number, redeemed through His work, believing in Him, brought to God, united with Him, Sons and Heirs with Him, the ultimate victory over all enemies, so that God would be "all in all" -- all was known to Him.
What joy must have filled Him when at His incarnation He announced, "Lo I come to do Thy will O God" (Heb. x:5, 6). And then He came and took upon Himself the form of a servant, the first word the heavenly messenger spoke, sent to the virgin to announce the incarnation, was a word of joy. Never before had Gabriel been sent with such a message. "Hail" our English version has it; but the greeting means "Joy" or "Oh the joy!" And the angel later announced "good tidings of great joy." And that blessed life which was lived upon earth to the Glory of God, was a life which knew joy. All along the way from Bethlehem to Golgotha He had joy before His heart. It is true He wept, He had sufferings, He was tempted, He was ill-treated, cast out, maligned, accused of evil and rejected, but joy filled His heart. His God and Father was His joy, yea, His exceeding joy. To do His will, who had sent Him was His constant joy. His joy was to walk in confidence, in dependence on Him. His Father's love and delight, which rested upon Him were His joy. "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee" (Ps. lxxiii:25). This beautiful word must have been His constant declaration; and that is joy. "I have set the Lord always before me" (Ps. xvi:8) is another utterance of God's Spirit concerning the holy life of God's well beloved Son. And that meant joy. The seventy He had sent forth had returned again with joy, because the demons were subject unto them. That is sinful man in carnal rejoicing! some power manifested, some great success fills our proud hearts with joy. But His words told them of a different joy. They were not to rejoice that the spirits submitted to them, but that their names were written in heaven. "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and the prudent, and hast revealed them to babes; even so Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered to Me of My Father; and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and to whom the Son will reveal Him" (Luke x:21, 22). Thus He rejoiced. In the parable of the treasure in the field He speaks of His joy. The man who has found the treasure, for joy thereof goeth and selleth all he hath, and buyeth that field ( Matt. xiii:44). The man in the parable is the Lord Himself and the field is the world. With joy He gave up all and came down here to buy us back. And all His suffering from man and from Satan, the persecutions He suffered from His own people to whom He came were borne by Him with joy. He told out His own blessed character in the beatitudes and in speaking of those who are reviled and persecuted, He said, "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad." Thus He must have borne it all with joy. And then the cross. The cross in which He who knew no sin was made sin for us. He was troubled in His holy soul when He looked towards the cross (John xii:27). In the garden He saw the cross. "And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke xii:44). And yet it is written "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. xii:2). All the suffering put upon Him by man, acting under satanic impulses and the shame connected with the cross, He despised, the cross itself He could not despise, but He endured that. The joy was that He saw and knew the full and glorious result of all His work He had come to do. He saw then the travail of His soul and was satisfied. But in that cross there was that suffering, which is unfathomable. God's own hand rested upon Him. All His sorrowful complaints as predicted by His own Spirit were then fulfilled. "Thou hast laid me in the dust of death." "All Thy waves and billows go over me." "Thine hand has pressed me sore." "Thy wrath lieth hard upon me." "Thy fierce wrath goeth over me." "Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit." Thus He suffered from God -- smitten and afflicted of God. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him. Then from that cross there came that loud and triumphant cry when He gave His life "It is finished!" Oh! what joy must have filled then His soul, when He knew the work is done, all is accomplished. And with equal joy God answered the cry of His well beloved Son, when He rent the veil from top to bottom.
The risen Lord in meeting His disciples greeted them, with the greeting of joy, which Gabriel had used. "All Hail" -- literally, Oh the joy! (Matt. xxviii:9.) What joy must then have filled His loving heart as He met His own again. Oh the joy! thus they had mocked Him when they crowned Him with a crown of thorns and bowed the knee and in derision shouted "All hail" -- "Rejoice" -- "King of the Jews." But in the resurrection He shouts "Oh the Joy!" The victory is won. Satan, Sin, Death and the Grave are vanquished. And what joy is His now! What joy will be His ere long! With a shout He went up (Ps. xlvii:5). What a joy when He passed through the heavens and as the glorified man He entered the Holy of Holies! What a joy when the Father had the well beloved with Him again, and He took His seat at His own right hand. What joy for Him and the heavens when Glory and Honor was put upon Him and He was proclaimed throughout the depths of the universe as Heir of all things! What joy! All power in heaven and on earth is His. Oh the joy! as sinners are saved by Grace, whom He redeemed by His blood. And as His body is building He rejoiceth as the bridegroom over the bride. In unspeakable joy He carrieth on His loving, tender, priestly work in behalf of those for whom He died. His joy and delight, as well as His love and His power is with them, who are His.
But there is greater joy in the future for Him, the Man in Glory. Though even now He is "anointed with the oil of gladness above all His fellows." His joy will increase and be full in the future. Another glad shout will be heard when he leaves the Father's throne and descends into the air. A shout of triumph and joy it will be, which will open the graves of the Saints, which will summon those who remain to meet Him in the air. Oh the joy at last the travail of His soul will be brought into His presence. Oh the joy! He will have us then and we will be with Him. With exceeding joy He will present us faultless before the presence of His Glory (Jud.24). In joy and a glorious triumph He will bring many sons to glory. What joy it will be when He leads forth from heaven's glorious mansions, those who are "God's workmanship created by Christ Jesus!" Then all the world will know and angels shout once more for joy in the full and glorious revelation of the new creation.
Oh! the Joy for Him! when Israel cries out "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!" Oh the joy! when creation sings her songs of praise to Him, whose pierced hands have removed the curse. Oh! the joy! when nations hear war no more but sing the worth of the King of Kings and lay their gifts at His feet.
If we could measure all which was accomplished on Calvary's cross, then we could also measure His joy, the joy of the Lord.
Reader! If you are saved by Grace, one with the Lord, then all this is yours. The joy in the Lord and the joy of the Lord is to be your portion now and in the day of His joy and glory. Murmuring, discouraged, tempted, complaining, bereaved, downhearted, halfhearted child of God, ponder over these words. Let God's Spirit lead you into them. The joy of the Lord is to be your portion. It will dispel your gloom. It will end your discouragement. It will give you songs in the night. It will lift you into a holy walk. The joy of the Lord can do this. He wants you to possess His joy. "These things have I spoken unto you, and that your joy might be full" (John xv:11). Let the Holy Spirit, who is given to you of God, make the Lord Jesus Christ a greater reality in your life. Let the joy of the Lord be your joy. Rejoice in God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let your joy be to do His will. Accept all from His hands. Rejoice in all things. "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. iv:4). Rejoice and glory in tribulation. "Count it all joy when ye fall in divers temptations" (James i:2). Having Christ, brought nigh to God, a perfect access into His presence, yea the right to come with boldness, a rejoicing and praising spirit should be manifested by us.
And look at the joy which is set before us. How it ought to lift us over all the present day trials and temptations and give us victory over the cares and anxieties, the pleasures and deceitful riches of this present evil and fast closing age. "Enter thou into the joy of Thy Lord." This is our blessed and glorious future. We shall share His future joy as we shall share His glory. And it is but a little while longer and weeping, which endured for the night, will give way to the joy of the morning.