DO YOU HAVE JOY?
We are commanded by Jesus to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). Unless we understand the Kingdom, we may not know how to do this on a daily basis. The Gospels are filled with information about what the Kingdom is like, especially the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. Jesus, being a 1st Century Jewish teacher, taught in parables and word pictures to help us see the Kingdom. Parables are used to make a point and to help turn us in the right direction.
The Apostle Paul teaches us in Rom. 14:17 that the "Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." My purpose in writing this message is to bring our attention to the word "joy." I do not want to purposely offend anyone here, but from the perspective of a pastor dealing with the body of Christ on a daily basis, most believers are not walking in biblical joy. Focusing on the Kingdom exclusively will empower us to withstand all cultural attacks against us from a worldly, modern society.
Who Is To Experience Joy?
Believers (Luke 24:52; Acts 16:34)
The just (Prov. 21:15)
Peacemakers (Prov. 12:20)
The Wise (Prov. 15:23)
Those who discover the Kingdom (Matt. 13:44)
Those who abide in God's Presence (Psa.16:11)
The Meek (Isa. 29:19)
The Generous (I Chron. 29:9, 17), etc.
A few Hebraic keys from the Book of Nehemiah can change our mindset from possible confusion to a gratifying understanding of God's plans for us, giving us something wonderful to rejoice over. When we read the Word of God, we must not take anything out of context. Hebrew scripture interprets scripture. Studied to its root meanings, all misunderstanding and all possible error are eliminated. Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the "Joy of the LORD is our strength." This joy's source is based on a personal relationship with the LORD Himself and is Hebraically symbolized by the word "chedvah." It is used only a couple of times in scripture. With an understanding of the Paleo-Hebrew (ancient) alphabet we will be able to more fully understand the Father's perspective of and His heart for joy.
Nehemiah Chapter 8 presents a picture of the Word of God and Revelation knowledge. In Nehemiah Chapter 8 we discover Ezra standing before the people of God at the Feast of Trumpets and expounding the word of God so that the people could understand what God expects from them. Nehemiah, Ezra and the scribes (Ne.8:9) told the people not to weep or be sad over hearing the Word, but to go home, make a feast and celebrate. Neh. 8:12 "And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared to them." God's Word is His covenant with us. More beautifully portrayed is the picture at Mt. Sinai where He marries Israel and Moses presents the "ketubah," the marriage contract or covenant between Him and His people (us).
So what is the JOY of the LORD? Looking at the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet (word pictures) we can see what is being portrayed. "Chedvah" (joy) is composed of three Hebrew consonants: "Cheth," "Dalet," and "Hey." For those who are not familiar with the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet:
1. Cheth is the 8th letter representing a wall, inner room or a fence.
2. Dalet is the 4th letter representing a door.
3. Hey is the 5th letter representing a window or the word "Behold."
I learned from studying early Hebrew culture, that to be invited into a Bedouin tent was a great honor; especially if the Father came out to greet you. To be invited in to share a meal with the family was not only an honor, but an act of hospitality, and the opportunity to enter into Covenant with the family; a family led by the father. The "dalet" (door) is the way into the tent/inner room. Taken literally, the Hebrew letters in "chedvah" are saying, "BEHOLD THE DOOR INTO THE INNER ROOM." Jesus is the door to the Father so that we may walk in Covenant with him and with His family. This is His joy; that we can now be united with Him through the Messiah, keep His Word (covenant) and receive His strength.
Zephaniah 3:17 "The LORD your God in the midst of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over you with singing."
Blessings and honor,