Rejoice! The Lord is King!

Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
On that day they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”
At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
    before your very eyes, says the Lord.

Zephaniah 3:17-18, 20

Our Scripture today admonishes us to be glad and rejoice with all of our heart! What is the source of this joy?

(An aside – I have loved the word pictures in Zephaniah 3:17 – his might, his delight, his singing! I’ve often wondered about the song He sings over me! How about you? Is HE singing over you as well?)

Meditating this morning on our past, present and future grace – the source of our joy.

We have been justified by faith – a moment in time, a past grace, an unimaginable gift! We have access to God by that same faith “into this grace in which we now stand” – a present grace, access to the power and presence of God.  We have a future grace – a completion of the work that God has begun.  

But in the midst of these celebratory words, there is this thought –
not only do we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God,
but we also rejoice in our sufferings.  

I am reminded that my joy is in the hope of salvation, not in the circumstances of life.   Joy is an internal contentment that is best experienced because of the hope we have in God.   The joy of the Lord is my strength!  

We should expect suffering …

  • Paul writes: “we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
  • Job said, “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”  
  • Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  
  • Peter wrote, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”  
  • James admonished us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”  
Quote by Richard Baxter, English Puritan

While we are at peace with God, and have abundant life,
we still live in a fallen world.
Our “best life” is yet to come.
This is the message of ADVENT!

Rejoice, the Lord is King!
Your Lord and King adore;
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing,
And triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Savior, reigns,
The God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains
He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

His kingdom cannot fail,
He rules o’er earth and Heaven,
The keys of death and hell
Are to our Jesus given;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Rejoice in glorious hope!
Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up
To their eternal home;
We soon shall hear the archangel’s voice;
The trump of God shall sound, rejoice!

Charles Wesley, 1744

As you pray, remember God takes great delight in you and is singing over you! Rejoice in His gift of grace, your salvation! Express your wonder and hope in His coming to establish His Kingdom!

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