"....they shall rejoice in their portion.....everlasting joy shall be theirs." Isaiah 61:7
As one who has been reading the scripture daily for over 30 years, I know that my receptivity is not static. There are days I delight in the words and consciously revisit them throughout the day. And there are days~~yes, and sometimes seasons, of dryness. Like last Tuesday's dinner, the spiritual meal seemed nondescript and it didn't take long for it to evaporate from my memory bank. But even a nondescript meal serves its purpose: it nourishes me.
It has been a long time since I have wept over the Word of God. But this morning I had the time to deliberate over the book of Isaiah. I read the last half of the book at one sitting, and the words were so startlingly beautiful that it brought tears. The description of the new heaven and earth in chapter 65 and vicinity awakened an aching longing for a home that I have not yet glimpsed.
What struck me particularly this morning was the fact that joy is a very real part of the reward that God has in store for the righteous. We usually think of rewards in terms of crowns and inheritance~~ and this is certainly valid by scriptural standards.
But equally valid is the intangible reward of JOY! In the parable of the talents (Matthew 26), the Master rewards the faithful slave by inviting him to "enter into the JOY of your master." (emphasis added). How wonderful it is to have a Master who joys over us with singing, and who allows us on occasion to experience just a wee foretaste of the joy that will be such an integral part of our future reward.
"Go eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10