There is enough going on to crush your spirit. There’s no escaping its ‘arrows’. The effect it can, and usually does have, is to make a person a ‘punctured tyre.’ Sure you can keep going, but the movement is hard work and ultimately damaging. The writer of Provers summed it up this way: A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.’ Proverbs 15:13. He also wrote in 17:22, ‘A broken spirit dries the bones.’
We live in a ‘wacky’ world. Do yo agree? Do you find it nigh on impossible to have the inner energy required to create a merry heart that doesn’t evaporate? Sure, we have a pleasant moments which touch us and then vanish. Is there something which will grip us, take root within and revive a broken spirit? If there is, and it has a proven track record, are you interested?
The writer of Proverbs likened it to a merry heart. Trouble is we can be merry one moment and mournful the next. A far better word which also has its own energy power- plant is ‘Joy.’ The term must be linked to someone, something beyond a nice, fuzzy feeling, otherwise it too will crash and burn. The best example from Scripture has to be Jeremiah. This prophet was energised by joy amidst spirit depressing, ‘bone’ crushing experiences.
This prophet had it tough. Branded a traitor, his sermons wasted on the callous and indifferent and being shoved down a stinking well as a prison should crush the spirit. To top it all off, he witnessed the destruction of his beloved city Jerusalem, then was forced to go to Egypt never to return. What legacy did he leave us to verify the case for being energised by joy in a joyless situation?
The book of tears, Lamentations which is the 25th book in the Bible, reveals the inner energy of joy. This energy is linked with hope grounded in an unconditional promise. Here are Jeremiah’s power-packed words. “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion; therefore I will hope in Him. The Lord is good to them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him" 3:21-25.
Was the prophet delirious in his brokenness? No! Where then did he rest his heart? On what was his hope built? The promise of Yahweh that the Messiah would come through Israel. No apostasy of the nation, no captivity by Babylon or others, no device of the Devil would prevent what we call the Christmas event. Jeremiah recorded “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” Jeremiah 15:16. He also believed the promise that in the future of the nation. “It shall be to me (God) a name of joy, a praise and honour before all the nations of the earth …” Jeremiah 33:9.
Notice the energy supply line. God’s promises, recorded in the Bible, provide hope which can be ‘eaten’ by faith and create joy. In turn this dissolves the darkness of despair and ‘pumps up the tyre’ of the heart. There is something beyond description when a person today feeds upon God’s Word. In the words of Scripture, ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength.’ A faith relationship grounded on the rock of His promise producing hope that energises the spirit.
Next week: What was the joy of Jesus that He promised to share? John 15:11
©Ray Hawkins October 8th 2017.