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The Scriptorium

Reason to Rejoice

Make sure your joy is lodged here. Luke 10.17-20

Luke 10 (3)

Pray Psalm 23.4-6.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Sing Psalm 23.4-6.
(The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire)
The Lord is ever by my side; His rod and staff with me abide.
A table rich for me He spreads; with oil my Lord anoints my head.

Goodness and mercy, full and free, shall ever after follow me,
and in the house of God, my Lord, shall I abide forevermore!

Read Luke 10.1-20; meditate on verses 17-20.

1. What did the seventy report as they returned?

2. What reason did Jesus give them to rejoice?

We can imagine the excitement of the seventy as they began trickling in and gathering to report on their mission: “Lord, even demons are subject to us in Your name” (v. 17). That would have been a joyous reunion, to be sure.

Jesus’ response was on the order of, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”: “I was watching [when] Satan fell like lightning from heaven” (v. 18). Imagine how cool that was! The seventy must have gasped and cheered when He told them that. High fives all around, yeah!

And then: “I give you authority to trample…over all the power of the enemy…” (v. 19). Talk about Wow! Feel the joy and wonder rising as the seventy began to imagine themselves ministering with such power, and no one or nothing to hurt or hinder them (v. 19).

Then the “Wait, there’s more”: “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you…” (v. 20). To be sure, reclaiming ground from the old regime and plundering the holdings of the devil is pretty heady and exciting stuff. This Kingdom work is a great calling! But our real joy is laid up in heaven, in eternal glory, in the sure and unchangeable knowledge that we belong to God the Father, that we will see Jesus as He is and be like Him, and that we will dwell in the unmediated Presence of God forever and ever, world without end.

Cue the rejoicing.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.
So I said, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness.
I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest’” (Ps. 55.4-8).

“Cue the rejoicing”?

Truth is, to “rejoice” over anything that isn’t what we should find joy in, should leave us with the same angst that David felt when he penned those words. The seventy were rejoicing because “even the demons are subject to us”; but even that amazing authority and power over wickedness, was not where their joy was to lie.

The Lord Jesus was very specific that our joy should only derive from the fact that our names are written in heaven (Lk. 10.20). If we ever make the mistake of basing our happiness level on how things are going in our life, or in our ministry, or in personal relationships, or our financial status, or our health, we will either be sorely disappointed or misguidedly elated.

Of course, some days are better than others. Today has been a decidedly bad one. But still, my heart can rejoice because I know and serve the One Who “makes all things new” (Rev. 21.5). And “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1.12). And I know that nothing and no one can separate me from the love of Christ (Rom. 8.35). And I also am “persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor power, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8.38, 39).

I also know that my name is written in heaven because I believe in the Only Way, Truth, and Life, and am coming to the Father only through Jesus (Jn. 14.6). This is true, no matter how I feel on any given day.

So yes, please, “Cue the rejoicing” because Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father; and I am His.
I need no other reason to rejoice: What could be better?

For reflection
1. What is joy? What’s the difference between joy and happiness?

2. Why must we seek joy only in the fact that we belong to Jesus and will live with Him forever?

3. Why are changeable circumstances and conditions not to be counted on as sources of joy?

The more simply dependent we are on the teaching, help, and blessing of the Son of God, the more we shall know both of the Father and of the Son; the more blessed we shall be in seeing the glory, and hearing the words of the Divine Savior; and the more useful we shall be made in promoting his cause. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 10.17-20

Pray Psalm 23.1-4.
Rejoice in the Lord, that He has chosen and saved you! Call on Him to lead you today, to provide for your needs, and to keep you focused on that glorious Kingdom to come in all you do.

Sing Psalm 23.1-4.
(The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire)
Because the Lord my Shepherd is I shall not want, for I am His!
He makes me lie in pastures full; I rest in Him by waters still.

My soul He quickens and will bless; He leads in paths of righteousness.
Though I may walk through death’s dark vale, I shall not fear – He will not fail!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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