I’ve been studying what the Bible says about “Rejoice.” In this type of study I take one verse a day, read it in context, and look up the cross references. I discovered something this week. When in the presence of God we are called to rejoice.
I am in the Book of Deuteronomy. I found instruction on what God expects of His people when they are in His presence. The Bible declares we “shall rejoice” in the presence of the Lord, our God. It is not may, or I would like you to. It is “shall.” As in must, will, or “Do It!”
Deuteronomy Chapter 12 details how to act when we are in the place were God dwells. Verse 7 states:
“There, too, in the presence of the Lord, your God, you and your families shall eat and rejoice in all your undertakings, in which the Lord, your God, has blessed you. [NABRE]
Note: I added the emphasis here in the verses based on the thread I am pulling on right now.
I have an old battered New American Bible that I like to use when I am studying the Word. It has great notes and cross-references. Deuteronomy 12:7 is worded different from the online versions I like to use. It says: “There, too, before The Lord, your God, you and your families shall eat and make merry over all your undertakings, because the Lord, your God, has blessed you.”
What I really like is how this version spells out why we need to rejoice whenever we are in the presence of God. It is because He has blessed us. Some days it is hard for me to see the blessings. They are there. I have to recognize them.
As I continued, Verse 12 states “You shall rejoice in the presence of the Lord, your God…”
The command is repeated in Deuteronomy chapter 12:18, Chapter 14:26 concerning tithes, and Chapter 16 verses 11 and 14 (regarding the Feast of Weeks and Feast of Booths respectively).
The thread I see in all of these scriptures require God’s chosen people to rejoice in his presence. Whether we are bringing sacrifice and offerings, tithes, or attending His Feasts. In the presence of the Lord, our God we are to rejoice. In reading these passages, I just kept seeing “shall rejoice.”
I am not anything in our system of government. Yes, I have a government job, but I am not a mover or a shaker. As long as I am not asked to do something illegal, immoral, or unethical, I do my job whether I agree or not. A person in my position is not noticed by the President. Half the time, I’m not even noticed by my management chain. It’s a fact and it’s okay by me. It means I’m doing my job well.
What if I was called to be in the presence of the President or a Head of State? I would be nervous. I would be honored, fearful, and awed. I would want to look my best and be on my best behavior. There would be people to tell me where to sit and how to act for the cameras.
These are men and women. They have no power over my soul. Yet I sit in the presence of God Almighty. At times I am in awe and feel the fear of the Lord. Other times I’m grumpy, feeling poorly, and complain. And at other times, I find myself rejoicing.
Again, how does this scripture tell me to act in His presence? “You shall rejoice in the presence of the Lord Your God…” Deuteronomy 16:11 NABRE. He wants me to show the joy I have in Him. Little ol’ me, of all people, the King of Kings wants me in his presence. He wants me to rejoice in his blessings for me and my family. I am humbled and honored. The Lord my God wishes to share my joy. He wishes to share your joy too.
When I sacrifice and bring offerings, and tithe. I need to rejoice. When I celebrate with my family and eat the portion God has given to me. I need to rejoice. When I sit in my room and call his name, he is there as my friend. I need to rejoice. It is so simple and yet at times so hard to remember.
When I am burdened and busy, I easily lose my joy. When life becomes one task after another with goal after goal, I forget I am in the presence of the Lord. He comforts me and is my Help in trouble. I run to Him as my Refuge.* I easily cry on His shoulder. This are blessings from our Lord.
Let’s rejoice in God. When we pray be mindful of Who we are rejoicing with, our friend the Lord God Almighty. It is time to rejoice just being near the most High God!
Peace and Joy
*See Psalm 46:1