This evening I have had a chorus running through my head. Then, I felt led to look in the book of Isaiah and as I was perusing the portions of my Bible that are highlighted I ran across the scripture that the chorus was written from. I decided that was supposed to be my topic for this evening, so here goes…
“So the ransomed of the Lord will return, And come with joyful shouting to Zion; And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 51:11
The words to the chorus are slightly different, but the meaning is the same. This verse is part of a promise that God gave His children – the children of Israel – after they had been held captive in Babylonia. It is a promise of restoration, gladness, joy and more joy.
Throughout the course of time Israel has been through incredibly difficult times – this verse tells of the sorrow and sighing (the chorus we sing in church uses the word mourning) that has been part of their experience. We all, as humans can relate with sorrow – the kind of sorrow that wrenches the very core of you . Loss, mean-spiritedness, betrayal, disappointment come our way because we live in a sinful world.
Our only hope is found in the God of the universe. He is only one that can bring the kind of joy this verse talks about. He repeats the word joy three times – joyful shouting, everlasting joy, and gladness and joy. He wants us to get the idea that good things are ahead.
The word joy is defined as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness”. Some of the synonyms for joy are jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, rapture, and enjoyment. That makes for a pretty exciting promise.
For children of God we have confidence in knowing that whatever we are facing, no matter how difficult, it won’t last forever. Sorrow and mourning will flee away and joy will come crashing in like nothing we have ever known.