Inexpressible Joy

By Pastor Teck Uy

As we reflect on our lives, we cannot help but say the same words that the Psalmist uttered: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3). But what has the Lord done for us that we should rejoice? Is it because he supplied our needs and gave us success in our earthly endeavours? We can certainly rejoice in these things, but they are not enough to give us true, inexpressible joy. When Jesus sent his disciples on a mission, they returned rejoicing and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” In response, Jesus said, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:17-20). Indeed, our spiritual accomplishments should give us extreme joy, because these are the ones that will be rewarded in heaven.

To magnify the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle Peter said, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8). There is no greater joy than being with the Lord Jesus Christ. For this reason, our preoccupation should be directed to the salvation of our souls. Material possessions and earthly successes will not count when judgement day comes. In fact, Jesus warned, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26). Every effort to make wealth is futile if we compromise our soul. This will not bring the true success that we all desire. Instead, it can even jeopardize existing relationships, so that a man who succeeds in his career might not have anyone to share his joy with at the end. It is not uncommon to hear of people working so hard to get rich, yet at the expense of their family. In the end, they obtain riches, but lose their family.

When the Psalmist uttered, “The Lord has done great things for us,” he was reflecting on their deliverance from captivity. Against all odds, they were brought back to Zion. They described their feelings by saying, “We were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:1-2). Knowing who their captors were, they did not even consider their deliverance in their wildest dreams—yet they came to realize that the Lord delivers those who put their trust in him. Even as believers, we cannot help but rejoice when we look back and see what the Lord has done in our lives. We were also captives to sin, but he delivered us. In his epistle, the apostle Peter appropriately described our present position in Christ when he said, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). Yes, we were slaves to sin, hopelessly striving to be set free. But by the grace and mercy of God, he delivered us through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ, we can now be counted as children of God and partakers of all the promises that he gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

After having been brought back to Zion, the prayer of the Jews was for God to restore their fortune. They were deprived of their wealth during their exile and some of them did not even know what prosperity meant. Their petition was for God to bless them. The Psalmist was very much aware of the challenges ahead, but he was full of expectations when he said, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them” (Psalm 126:4-5). Even believers today can expect restoration. We are translated from the kingdom of darkness into His wonderful light, that we may partake of every blessing that is reserved for God’s chosen people. According to the apostle Peter, as born-again believers, we are now chosen and we belong to the royal priesthood.

Because of our new birth in Christ, people around us will be blessed and will say, “The Lord has done great things for them” (Psalm 126:2). This will be our testimony to the rest of the world—that God is able to deliver and restore. This restoration will be evident in our daily lives as we live for the glory of God. While we do not see the fullness of God’s blessings yet, soon we shall see it fully, in the same manner that though we see Jesus only as a reflection in a mirror, soon we shall see him face to face. At that time, we shall be filled with inexpressible joy. Hallelujah!