I owe this blog to my youngest son, Matthew. After a discussion of a reoccurring habit of mine while I drive a car, which is the verbal stating that things would be better if everyone else in the world realized that roadways belong to me and that they should get off of them when I am driving, he asked a serious question. “What is the Biblical definition of the word JOY?” BJ, Matthew and I fumbled around quoting verses and expounding ideas that we have heard but in the end I had to say I did not know one and would have to study it. Now, I know, I studied it before and parts of that came back into my mind but this one had to be a fresh study, plus I have no idea where that notebook is with that study in it.
So over a cup of coffee and after too early of an awake-up, here goes.
First, Matthew joy does have to do with happiness. I did get the feeling that our English, 21st century and TV/advertising defined word of happy or really fun does not go quite deep enough. After reading all the definitions about the words for joy, and there are several, I drew these rather general conclusions.
Many of them talk about inward and outward expressions and feelings and the things that cause the joy. Some of the words are connected with the word rejoice and shouting and yelling. Jumping around and playing trumpets and other musical instruments were also components of the definitions. And the one that I really liked was the one about the mood and feelings when you are making, getting ready for and having a party or feast. My mind, even with coffee, could not focus on definitions or words but went to memories and unrelated Bible verses.
Here Matthew is the meaning of joy.
1. When little children are banging on tambourines and drums yelling at the top of their lungs and jumping around having a great time because they can.
2. The feelings, smells, business, and fun when you are getting ready for a big party or meal. Not just Thanksgiving or Christmas but birthdays and homecomings, times when you want everything perfect just because it is for someone important to you and then having a great time with the person you prepared it for.
Since this is a Bible Study blog let me get to the Word.
Jesus is and has been getting the “Feast” ready for us when we go home to be with Him. Imagine the party (the joy) that He has been planning; it is so big that He has built us houses, there will be banquet tables, angelic choirs and bands even a heavenly taxicab service to pick us up. So if I can rephrase a popular verse- “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (see Lord) It always sounds like we have the joy and that we will be strong because of it. How about reading it this way- because the Lord has joy we have strength – it is His joy in us that is our strength.
References: The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible