Because He Had No Joy

Because He Had No Joy
Robert Wurtz II

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. (Psalm 51:8)

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Psalm 51:12)


It is impossible for a Christian to find lasting happiness in any kind of sin, for it cannot answer the basic inward need for genuine heaven sent joy. David, the great king, found this out the hard way. He had started backsliding we might say, and in the process committed a terrible crime (sin) against God. He committed adultery with Bathsheeba and then ordered Uriah the Hitite to his death. The effects of his sin were manifest in almost unspeakable horrors. His own son raped his own daughter. His son Absalom heard about it and killed his own brother. Before it was over with Absalom was dead too; strung by the hair of the head between heaven and earth where he exited this life to stand before God. 

All of this was prophesied in advance as the consequence of David’s sin. The details were not given, only a summary; “the sword will not depart from your house.” For years David struggled with lust and everybody knew it. In fact, when he lay dying his body started to get cold so they tried to bring a beautiful young woman into his bedroom to warm him up. He had been reeling from the effects of his sin(s) for decades perhaps, and it has all come down to this. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I say, “how embarrassing?” To have such a reputation for being with women that such a tactic would be tried in the first place. Her name was Abishag, but “he knew her not.” (1 Kings 1:1ff) “He gat no heat” says the KJV, so they sought a damsel. This ought to get his temperature up. Nay verily. After a life like he had lived, he had had his fill of it all. 

You will notice in Psalm 51 that David asked God for joy in two different verses. Some have taken this to mean that David had already lost his joy before he ever committed those terrible sins. Leonard Ravenhill once said that “entertainment is the Devil’s substitute for joy.” I suggest this is true, but I would like to add to it. Sin is the Devil’s substitute for joy. It begins with a simple lie planted in the heart and mind of an adulterer or adultress; Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. (Proverbs 9:17) I once knew a man that liked to quote this verse. Unfortunately he walked out verse 18 too; But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell. (Proverbs 9:18) Indeed he found that a willing subject can be found almost any place. There are no shortage of people in the world that have no scruples. I don’t know where this man is today. I only know he sacrificed his wife, family, ministry and all of his Christian friends for a glass of “stolen waters.”

You can tell when you’re getting cold in the Lord. You get rebellious and unwilling to listen to counsel. Once the process begins of trying to substitute entertainment for joy it will not be long until sin is used as well. Why? Because nothing can substitute for joy. All those things can do is serve as a place marker- holding you over until the next vile thing comes along. It’s all a sham and a lie. David would have understood this because he was a man of God’s word; nevertheless, for some reason he ran roughshod over all that he knew was right. I suggest that reason was joylessness coupled with selfishness. 

Who ever said that a child of God is supposed to be happy all the time? I’ll tell you who- many TV preachers. It is a lie. God wants us to have joy, but that is a very different thing than self-seeking happiness. Joy can be present in the most violent personal storms imaginable. Paul told the Philippians to “rejoice!” He wrote that from a dirty jail cell. Joy is what we need, not entertainment. Joy is what we need, not self-seeking sin. David cried out to God for it, Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. (Psalm 51:8) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Psalm 51:12) If ever he were to get his life together it would have to begin with a fresh infusion of joy. 

Let me say that many Christians are locked in a vicious cycle where they are resisting the Holy Spirit and as a consequence have little or no joy. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and there is no substitute for it. If you resist the Holy Spirit –  you resist joy (along with love, peace, etc.). A person in this condition is on a slippery slope to total destruction. They will seek pleasure to compensate for the missing joy until they end up in a similar scenario as David was in. I once heard a famous preacher say, “When the joy of the Lord is gone in my life I start heading down to the miry places.” He was suggesting that joylessness leaves a void in our life that the world and the Devil will tempt us to fill with gross sin. 

Because he had no joy- David found a sin to fill the void. It didn’t happen over night, but eventually it did. Because David sinned, he completely lost the joy of his salvation as well. How can you enjoy anything when your conscience is eating at you day and night and the hand of the Lord is heavy upon you? You risk becoming the most miserable and unreachable person on earth if you continue in this state. David did a terrible thing, but God restored him when he truly repented. But I think of Judas as well. He did a terrible thing too, but the outcome was very different. It was bad enough that he betrayed the Lord, but added to this he took his own life. This is very instructive. The Devil is not just interested in ruining our lives and drowning us in our sins consequences, he wants a person to despair to the point that they take their own life. 

All of this can be traced by to the one phrase, “because he had no joy.” May the Lord sober our minds to the need to have His Holy Spirit working in us, bringing us joy and love and peace. Without joy we become capable of anything in our quest to find a replacement.  

Joy in the presence of His glory

Joy in the presence of His glory
Robert Wurtz II

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)

Our passage contains a wonderful promise of the the expression of the power of God. Jesus Christ, our savior from sin, is not only able to keep us from falling, but to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. Christ can do it, if we allow Him. We cannot in our own strength keep our own selves from falling. As it has been said, “our responsibility is to respond rightly to His ability.” (R. Bailey) My response to His ability will determine how my life turns out. Christ is the savior that saves from sin. If we are not being saved from our sins it is because we are not allowing the savior to save us. 

The wisdom of the Savior

When we come to Christ, whether or not we know it, our lives are in total shambles and we need “the only wise God” to be our savior. We might be able to correct certain facets of our life through our own human ability, but we cannot get all of our lives into a ‘faultless state’ in our own strength. there are too many variables and we have spent far too much time passing down the road of life by our own directions to ever find our way back home on our own. We are lost and we need a savior. Life is like a labyrinth without Christ. We had all turned aside after our own way landing us (as the old hymn writer said) far from the peaceful shore. We have no compass or sense of direction. We need the only wise God our Saviour to light the path of righteousness before us. We need direction from the Holy Spirit. 

The Joy of God’s guidance

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)

The road to the Joy of the Lord is opened up to us as we respond to what God is saying to us. God can speak to our hearts in many splendored ways. The key is to submit to God when we know it’s Him. The Spirit and the word agree, so there is no need to fear that the Holy Spirit will lead us astray. Nay, He will guide us into all truth. When the word comes to us, how will we respond? Jeremiah was a man often vexed and depressed by the sin of the people and the judgment that was coming their way. But He found a place of joy when the Holy Spirit spoke. Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. Many people have tried a great many things trying to bring a sense of happiness to their lives, when all they needed was a fresh Word from God. 

First steps

The cure for sin is to turn to God. The cure for vexation is to turn to God. It is only as we face God, that we can face our tomorrows. The challenges of life are too great. The opportunities to sin are too many. We need the only wise God, our Savior, to take the lead and keep us from falling. But if we sin, we have an advocate with the Father. Sin is joys greatest enemy. David the king understood this when he had sinned with Bathsheeba. He knew that he needed the joy of His salvation to even think about going forward. When joy is gone, men and women will seek to entertain themselves. Sin can never replace joy, but many of men and women have given it a go. The despair and grief only magnifies the joylessness. David writes in Psalm 51, restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. That is to say, restore unto me the joy that I knew before I decided I didn’t need you to save me from my sins. Restore to me the joyful sense of feeling welcome in thy Kingdom and in Thy presence. David knew he had sinned, and like the prodigal son, was running from God. His soul dried up. How could he face the morning when he was no longer face to face with God. thanks be to God that David acknowledged his sin and the process to restoration was begun. 

Faultless and full of Joy

I wish to end these thoughts by looking at a key component to what Jude has said, “to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” The writer to the Hebrews tells us to obey those that have the oversight because they watch for our souls that they may give an account with joy and not grief. (Hebrews 13:17) There is a place where we can submit to God that He can present all parties at the judgment faultless and joyful. the Greek work gives the impression of a joy so great, that the rejoicing one is jumping up and down. Praise the Lord! Amen. Not downcast. Not fearing the next moment. But with a joy-filled confidence that only God can bring. It is no accident that these words are placed just before the book of Revelation. God wants us to know that there is a place in Him, where He can lead us by His word that we can rejoice all the way to and through the finish line.       
       

  

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