The psalmist makes an amazing statement in Psalm 119:14 –
“I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches”.
He is talking about the joy of obeying the will of God as revealed in the Word of God. One of the many benefits of Christian living is joy. Obeying God should result in a life of joy.
There is a cause and effect relationship between obedience and joy. Jesus talked about this in John 15:10-11. “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
God wants us to experience great joy in this life – the joy of Jesus himself! Note that Jesus told the disciples that keeping his commands would result in the abiding presence of God’s love, “so that my joy may be in you”.
Do you think Jesus is a joyful person? Consider this – what kind of joy does Jesus have? Perfect joy! Incredible, powerful, indestructible, divine joy.
And he wants us to have that same joy. What a promise!
The psalmist describes the joy of following God’s Word in the second half of Psalm 119:14. This joy is compared to the joy of “great riches”.
Perhaps you have experienced the joy of great riches. You may not consider yourself to be “rich”. But perhaps you got a promotion at work and a nice pay increase along with it. Or your company had a good year and you received a nice year-end bonus.
Do you remember the feelings you had? You were excited and joyful, right?
In the U.S., do we not see the joy of great riches when someone wins the lottery and is presented with a check for some obscene amount of money? There’s lots of hoopla and a press conference and everyone wants to know, “What will you do with all that money?”
How do you think you would feel if you won 100 million dollars? Do you think you’d have some joy?
And so the psalmist is saying that this is what the Christian life can be like. We can experience great joy by simply obeying the Word of God.
He’s making a comparison here. So it’s good to note that the joy of obedience is similar to the joy of great riches. And it is also different. Consider this:
The joy of obedience is infinitely better than the joy of great riches. The joy of money is temporary. The joy of money is easily lost. I can take all my money, invest it in the stock market, and see its value decline by 10% or 25% or 50% literally overnight. Or I can invest in some foolish ponzi scheme and loose it all.
In contrast, the joy of Jesus is permanent. It lasts forever. It is eternal joy! And it is not dependent on circumstances. Rather, it is based on the never-changing, always trustworthy character of God. Nothing can take this joy away from us because this joy is a gift from the hand of God. And so those who know the joy of knowing and obeying King Jesus can say, “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold” (Psalm 119:72).
The joy of Jesus is based on the promise of God. But like many promises in Scripture, this is a conditional promise. We will only experience the joy of Jesus when we are living a life of obedience to his Word.
Do you know this joy? If so, I urge you to spend time today saying “Thank You” to Almighty God for his merciful outpouring of this joy on undeserving sinners like you and me. And you’ll have even more joy – the joy of praise and thanksgiving.