Exodus 16:11-12 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.”’
When Israel lost faith at Marah and here at Sin, they were thirsty and hungry. When Israel recognized God as her Healer and Provider there was plenty, instead of need. Our faith in Jesus means we can have abundant joy. We don’t have to focus on problems. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas found themselves stripped, beaten with rods, and imprisoned with their feet in stocks.
Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
There is the notion these days that obedience to God somehow hampers life. “You can’t be a Christian and have fun,” some might say or, “Christianity is boring.” Yet God is the Giver of life … in fact, abundant life …
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
So how is it that others can point to Christians and say that their faith robs them of life? It has a lot to do with the way Christians talk and act. We are being watched. If you follow Jesus, people are watching you to see what you do. Some want to know what life is like for a Jesus follower … Is it miserable? Is it hard? What do you show them? Do you walk around with a smile? Are you joyful? Or … do you go around like you’ve been baptized in vinegar?
Nehemiah 8:10c Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Joy in the life of Christians is important. In fact, many Christians are weakened by their lack of joy. The Joy of the Lord is strength! When challenges hit, rejoice in the Lord and you will find God has strengthened you. When a trial comes, rejoice in God and your strength will be quickened. Jesus promised there would be trials and the Bible tells us:
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Rejoice when? Always! Rejoice in the Lord when things are working out the way you planned them. Rejoice when the good times are rolling, AND rejoice when trials are at hand, when trouble is around the corner. God says rejoice always in Him. Have your joy in the Lord today and everyday … and the joy of the Lord will be strength. Paul and Silas found their strength in the joy of the Lord. As they sang joyfully to God, the earth shook and the jail doors opened. But the story doesn’t end there … that joy was contagious. When the jailor discovered the prison doors burst open, he drew his sword to kill himself, but Paul called out to him … nobody had left! But wait … there’s more:
Acts 16:34 Now when he [the jailor] had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.