by Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott
When I think of the 4th of July, I think of back yard barbeques, family and friends getting together, and enjoying a great fireworks show. Despite all of its problems, we find the time to celebrate the United States of America. It’s the only country in the world people are fighting to get into, and I don’t hear of scores of people yearning to get out.
We have something in common with what the Bible has to say about rejoicing.
Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet, and as I read through his book, I can see why. God’s people had come to the absolute end of His rope, and Jeremiah was the one who had to tell them. God even told Jeremiah not to take a wife or have children in the place where he was prophesying because everyone there would die a gruesome death (see Jeremiah 16:1-4.)
Even then, Jeremiah found something to rejoice about. He says, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts” Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJ).
The Hebrew word for joy (sasown) means gladness and mirth, and the word for rejoicing that is used here (simchah) means exceeding gladness, pleasure, and glee. Jeremiah was able to rejoice in God’s Word. Even though the message was depressing, it was coming from God, and the knowledge that the God of Heaven was talking to him made Jeremiah rejoice.
Psalm 118:24 is a familiar verse that contains a different Hebrew word for rejoice. This verse says, “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (NKJ). The word for rejoice that is used here is ‘giyl’ and it means to spin round under the influence of any violent emotion. It is realizing that God has made the day and seeing it is cause for celebration!
Even Paul, with all he suffered for the cause of Christ, gets in on the rejoicing act in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 as he says, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (NKJ) The Greek word for joy (chara) means cheerfulness, calm delight, and great gladness. The word for rejoicing (kauchesis) carries with it the idea of boasting and glorying in whatever is causing the emotion. Paul finds it a reason for joy that those to whom he preached will indeed make it into Heaven.
So, no matter what’s happening in our circumstances today, here are three reasons to rejoice:
- God speaks to us through His Word.
- God has made the day and we’re seeing it.
- God will embrace those to whom we have witnessed who have trusted Christ for salvation.
In the next 24 hours, I challenge you to live out your rejoicing. Enjoy the 4th of July, read the Bible, appreciate creation, and tell someone about Jesus.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: “Live significantly!” That’s the inspiring message of Sharon Norris Elliott, award-winning author, editor, agent, engaging speaker, and licensed minister. Author of 12 books, and associated with several prestigious organizations such as AWSA, ACE, and HSBN.tv, Sharon is also co-director of the WCCW conference. She is founder/CEO of AuthorizeMe® Consulting, Coaching, & Editing Firm and Literary Agency. www.AuthorizeMe.net
Sharon’s latest release, A Woman God Can Bless, walks through the house of your life with you and Jesus. This book will help you ease open the doors of old patterns of behavior, ingrained habits, and accepted dispositions with which you’ve grown accustomed. Within these pages you will find gentle prompts that will help you let the Lord remodel those closed rooms by redesigning your thinking and behavior to line up with His will for how you should then live.
Join the conversation: What makes you rejoice today?