Joy in the Lord


In the final verses of Ezra, there are three times where the word joy appears (Ezra 6:16, Ezra 6:22). The people of Israel were filled with joy because of what God had done for them. Joy is the response that God’s people make to God’s work in history.

Joy is the big response that Ezra wants to encourage in our hearts:

  • Be joyful because the Lord is working in history to keep his promises and rescue his people (the message of Ezra 1:1–11).

  • Be joyful because the Lord has rescued you in particular so that you would worship him (the message of Ezra 2:1–70).

  • Be joyful because the Lord has rescued you from slavery to sin. Praise him his love endures forever (the message of Ezra 3:1–13).

  • Be joyful because the Lord cannot be stopped by any opposition (the message of ?).

  • Be joyful because the Lord is the God of heaven and earth and he is watching over his people (the message of Ezra 5:1–6:22).

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Lord made the people of Israel joyful in response to his work in history (Ezra 6:22), the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of Christian believers today to make us joyful (?). Joy over God’s work in history is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

In ?, the apostle Paul commands Christians to rejoice in the Lord always. We should be joyful at all times just as the apostle Paul was joyful even when he faced hardship (?, ?). This joy does not mean we must always be happy. Biblical joy is a result of fellowship and union with Jesus Christ. In ? we are told that it is the reality of fellowship with God that makes joy complete. And when speaking to his disciples in ?, Jesus also told them that it is only by remaining in his love, only by enjoying fellowship with him, that his joy will be in them and their joy will be complete. 

Biblical joy is not primarily a feeling of happiness, but it is the comfort, contentment, and peace that come from knowing God and enjoying fellowship with him (?). ? makes it clear that we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Biblical joy is joy as a result of having peace with God. It is the joy of knowing your sins are forgiven, and of knowing you are a child of God and no matter what happens to you in this life, nothing can separate you from God’s love (?). This is the joy that God the Holy Spirit creates in believers (?).

Sometimes your comfort will be expressed in joyous songs of praise where your heart overflows with emotion and thanksgiving. At other times, songs will be far from your lips. When you have lost a loved one or are going through challenging circumstances, your joy, your comfort will be expressed by repeated appeals to God’s promises in prayer. Your comfort will be found in the questions that you ask God in the midst of your pain (e.g. ?).

No matter our circumstances, our joy as Christians is found in the fact that we belong to Jesus Christ with our body and soul.