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Joy and Jubulation

“You love righteousness and hate wickedness, thus God — your God — anointed you with the oil of jubilation over your attendants.”

(Psalm 45:8 {verse 7 in English})

If there were any doubt as to whether this psalm were about the Messiah, this verse ought to put those doubts to rest, for the writer of Hebrews cites this passage and applies it to the Son of God (Hebrews 1:9). And indeed, Jesus Christ is the one who truly loves righteousness and hates wickedness, now and forever.

What is this language of the oil of jubilation (or gladness as many English translations render the word NØwcDc (sason)? Most commonly this term is used in the context of the worship of God’s people as a result of God’s redemptive work that culminates in the Messiah. As the prophet, Isaiah, writes:

“And the redeemed of Yahweh shall return and enter Zion with a cry of Jubilation and an everlasting display of joy upon their head. Jubilation and Jubilation will overtake them and grief and groaning will flee.”

(Isaiah 35:10)

The oil, of course, referring to the anointing of the High Priest and the King…rightly laid upon the head of the Messiah…whose very title means, “Anointed One.”

There is one more thing that we need to draw from this passage and that is the expectation of God that those who follow the Christ seek to imitate the Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). Yet, do we do so? Do we take joy in loving righteousness? Do we recognize that we cannot love both righteousness and wickedness at the same time? To love the one, we must hate the other. Why is it that as Christians we pour out such affection upon sin? And, when it comes to living a life that is obedient to God’s word, we describe it as dull and restricting rather than as one marked by the oil of jubilation? The answer, of course, is sin — and sin is that which robs us of the joy of the wonderful salvation that our Lord has worked.

And thus, we turn back to scripture to set us upon a right path…a path that leads to joy and jubilation — a path that leads to honoring God. As is written in Jeremiah 15:16.

“Your words were found and I ate them and your words became to me joy and the display of joy to my heart, for your name is proclaimed over me, Yahweh, God of Armies.”