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The joy of the Lord

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Psalms 119:1-5

The Hebrew word used several times in Psalms 119 translated in English as “joyful” or in other translation “blessed” is the word barak. Basically the word means endowed with fruitfulness or blessed with power to succeed. The Psalmist provided us the character traits that are expected from the followers of God that will result in joyful godly living. God promised joy to those that will continually seek Him wholeheartedly in all that they do. It is by having intimacy with God motivated by seeking Him through His word that will empower the child of God to live lives that honors Him. Those who “follow the instructions of the Lord” and “obey His laws” will have the strength to not “compromise with evil” for they will desire to “walk only in His paths.” This is how the Apostle Paul made himself aware of how he should live the life God gave him. “It was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet” (Romans 7:7). For Paul, apart from the word of God he will not be aware that he was sinning. God commanded us to keep His commandments carefully. And as the Psalmist said, in this way “I will not be ashamed” (Psalm 119:6). It is not by accident that we will just turn into people loving God and His word. It is a daily decision that we make and by prayer to ask God to help us love Him more and to be obedient to His will. The joy that God wants us to experience is a result of growing in our relationship with Him continually abiding in His word. “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy” (John 15:10-11). This joy comes only from our relationship with God and is not dependent on whether our circumstances are good or bad. This joy is also what will sustain us even in times of trials. “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10). There will be times that you will be set out to follow your own desires rather than what God wants for your life. When this happens, come to God in prayer, as the Psalmist did, and ask Him to keep you consistent following His word (Psalm 119:5). The Psalmist even asked God to be patient on him as he learns how to obey His word. “As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!” (Psalm 119:7-8). May our lives be dedicated to following God’s word.


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