Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Heart Joy

“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound. I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety.” (Psalm 4:7-8)

Having life’s basics – like food and drink and shelter – creates a sense of safety, and having them in abundance creates a sense of security, causing people to relax and rejoice. The result is “heart joy,” and that is the kind of joy that allows us to lie down and sleep in peace. We can do so because we know all is well.

So where does this heart joy come from? Is it purely a matter of having basic human needs met? David says that it come from the Lord. “YOU have put more joy in my heart,” says David. But is this arbitrary? Does it just “happen?” No. An expanded examination of Psalm 4 teaches us how it’s done.

The psalm begins with David’s prayer before God. Prayer is always the starting point on the journey to heart joy. We simply turn to God in humility and dependence. His presence then becomes the ultimate source of joy.

The next leg of the journey is knowledge. Verse 3 reads, “Know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for Himself.” The knowledge or awareness that we belong to God and are set apart to Him helps us to relax in Him. Knowing that the Almighty is our refuge sets up joy.

The third leg of the journey is reflection. “Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still.” When we reflect on those events or people that have disturbed our “shalom,” and when we determine that we will not go the way of an angry sin response, and when in our reflections we move toward God and His sovereignty and come before Him in stillness, that is when we arrive at heart joy.

Lord, You are the Source of our heart joy. We turn to You in the midst of all that is going on in our day, or about to, and we rest in You. Amen.

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