Blog Archives

God of My Joy-Joy

“I shall go to the altar of God,

The God of my exultant jubilation,

And I shall be made to profess you with the lyre,

God, my God.”

(Psalm 43:4)

The scriptures contain many names for God, but this verse contains one of my favorites. God is the God of “My Joy-Joy” would be a literal rendering of the second line of this verse. The Hebrew language has a number of different words that can be translated as “joy” in English, and in this case, they combine two of them to drive their point home. The first kind of joy that is used in this verse is that of שִׁמְחָה (simchah), or jubilation. It is the loud and excited cry of praise that one gives that cannot be missed by any who are around you. It is the feeling of joy that so consumes your physical body that it cannot be contained and it comes out in a shout or a dance. The second word that is used here is that of גִיל (gyl), which reflects the idea of exultation. This God, who brings the psalmist into his place of shelter (which is a place of worship) is the God that engenders joy and then greater joy in his heart. 

I wonder sometimes whether most Christians can genuinely say that of God. “He is the God of my joy-joy.” “He makes me to leap and sing for joy for he has brought me into his temple of worship.” Too often, professing Christians speak of Christ with a dull and lethargic tone, as if, “ho hum…” How sad it is that those who are supposed to have the greatest joy so often look (from the perspective of the outsider) that they are enjoying him the least! He has freed us from the burden, weight, and condemnation of sin, yet we have long faces when we speak his name. It is no wonder that people are turning away from the organized churches in droves. How sad it is that our worship of Christ is not contagious…because it ought to be. For the psalmist, the expression of his joy at salvation is such that it cannot be contained in his person, but is accompanied by a smile, a shout, and even a dance as he praises our mighty God for all he has done. 

In addition, it is not good enough that the psalmist laugh and jump and shout at the work of God, but he is drawn—compelled even by God’s grace—to sing and to accompany that song with the harp. When we were children, we would often break out in song for no reason whatsoever other than that we were happy and content. Since the greatest contentment that can be known can only be known in Christ, ought we not also be drawn to sing of him and of his grace. Loved ones, let us do just that. May our lives be marked by the fact that we sing—we sing corporately when we gather and we sing alone when we are at whatever activity may fill our days. Let us sing of the goodness of God and offer to him the sacrifice of praise that we are bidden to do in scripture.

I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.

Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer,
With His blood, He purchased me.
On the cross, He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.

-Philip Bliss