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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Overjoyed - not just happy

What brings you joy in life?  How is it that you experience joy?  There are many today who equate happiness with joy - if I am happy, then I will be joyful.  Joy comes when you have experienced a "deep delight" in something which you have found pleasurable.  Something exceptionally good or satisfying has been experienced and we find extreme pleasure in it - lasting, deep, and meaningful pleasure.  A silly joke makes us happy, while the experience of the birth of our firstborn may make us joyful.  One carries the idea of the emotional "response" to the situation, while the other describes the condition of the heart and soul as a result of what one has experienced.  Happiness is a little more fleeting than joy - with joy, there is a memory formed which goes a lot deeper than that of the thing which gave us a little bit of happy emotional "release".

I’m overjoyed at your word, like someone who finds great treasure. (Psalm 119:162 CEB)

To be overjoyed is to be overcome with this deep sense of having experienced something of great delight.  In the Latin, this term comes from the root word which means to "fill with gladness".  When we think of being "overjoyed", we can equate it to being a cup which is not only filled to the brim, but the stream of water which filled the cup still continues to run, causing the cup to be continually filled to overflowing with a newness or freshness of that water. When God gives us blessing through is word, it isn't just to fill us - it is to bring us to the place we overflow with his goodness and grace - until we are experiencing a continual filling and renewal of that life-giving source within us.

We all find some things pleasurable, while others are not so memorable or significant in the scheme of things.  We might get a regular paycheck which is pleasurable, but when we get a bonus for some reason - that brings us a sense of unexpected blessing and joy.  There is something about being given what we didn't expect which just delights our soul.  God knows this and he is intentional in his actions of "overwhelming us" with what will bring great joy to the depths of our spirit and soul.  He isn't concerned with what makes us "happy" in a fleeting sense of the word, but what makes us deeply content, settled, and assured.

Our psalmist doesn't say he is overjoyed with the word - as though it was something he occasionally referenced.  He is overjoyed AT God's word - because it is what has become the constant resource for his daily bread.  He is well accustomed to finding his renewal there - AT the table of God's grace.  A lot of the time we are content to have the word of God WITH us, but God wants us to experience what it is like to be AT the faucet of his grace and renewal continually.  

I have told you before that I like these survival shows where you see how these men can survive for days in the wilderness with little more than a pocket knife and a length of fishing line.  One of the greatest treasures they seek is water - for the body cannot live without the life-giving substance for very long.  One of the first things they do after they construct a place of shelter is to find some source of "consumable" water.  Did you catch that?  The water has to be consumable - without bacteria which will invade their bodies and wreak havoc on their system.  Probably the most important thing they must consider is that the source of water must be sufficient enough to sustain them for their entire time in the wilderness.

They might find water, but until they find the source which is continually renewed, they are not going to settle for that place of dwelling.  Maybe this is what God has in mind when he draws us deeply into his word - he knows it is what will help us dwell long in his presence and find life-giving resource for the challenges which lie ahead.  Just thinkin!