Have you ever felt like you were in a pit of misunderstanding, a dungeon of disbelief or in a hole that hindered you from seeing any truth? I have been there during my life. The journey from there to here has been one filled with tears and prayers. I would like to share some truth that has lifted me into a much better place. It is based on Psalm 89:15-16: “Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness.”
“I just want to be happy,” I remember telling myself in the midst of a time of hurt in my life. I had never experienced weeks of the feeling of loss, sadness and despair until then. I refer to that experience as being in the pit. In this pit, my companions were loneliness, grief, and brokenness. I have come to realize that there is purpose for the pit, but at the time, I could not see it. Although I will not discuss my pit in detail, rest assured that it was a horrible pit just like the one described in Psalm 40:2. In that verse, the psalmist David wrote this: “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.” I can say that over time, I was rescued by Jesus who brought me up and out of that awful place. Thankful to be set on a rock and having my new path established, I have walked into newness. The memory of the pit sometimes comes to my mind, though. Memories of that dark place wrestle with my new found peace. I have to choose to not dwell in the memory of the pit, but walk in the light that God has provided by His presence. Through the help of the Holy Spirit of God, I was brought to a stable place and have peace in my heart and mind.
As I have sought to stay in my happy place, I have realized that there will be ups and downs. Even so, God’s Word guides me into truth and shares what to do when you want to be happy. The psalmist speaks in Psalm 89:15 and 16 about what happens to people when they hear the call to worship God: “Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness.” In all of my life, I can’t remember even reading these two Scriptures until recently and they continue to resonate with me.
When I choose to hear the joyful call to worship, my focus shifts from the pit to the One who rescued me. I realize His presence is with me, in me, working for my good and for His glory. So by worshipping, I walk in the light of God’s presence. This must be why I feel so close to God when I am singing, meditating on Him and His word and praising him with my words. Not only do I worship with song and meditation, but I also worship by the choices I make moment by moment. Hearing the “call to worship” is one that I can choose to hear or ignore. If I choose to hear this call and worship Him with my life, my words, my time and my choices, then I feel a contentment knowing that I have obeyed my Father, in heaven. I am in His presence as I worship which gives me the ability to walk into truth.
When I read Psalm 89:15, “Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence,” I see a result. “They will walk” means that we move through our days not in darkness but in light. If you can’t see, then it’s hard to walk. You fumble around in a state of confusion when nothing is clear. In the midst of the pit, it’s hard to walk. You are stuck in the miry clay confined by the depth and the depravity of it. When you worship, you allow God’s light to enter and your mind is able to walk into God’s presence where there is fullness of joy. There is still the heartbreak, but the healing of His presence is ushered in as our minds worship God. Just being in His presence offers me comfort and fills my broken heart with strength and hope.
As I meditate on Him, I begin to thank Him for being such a good God who has rescued me. In His Word, God has a reputation of being holy, loving, righteous, merciful, sovereign, unchangeable, graceful, good, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, just and loving. In a study at this site, https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/attributes.cfm, the attributes of God are described with Scripture reference. I think this is a powerful way to understand God when you study His attributes. When you get to know someone, you begin to get a feel for who they are and what they are like. When we study His Word and see times when He showed himself as, for example, loving, we can meditate on this part of His reputation. If he made this reputation for himself, then he will again do what he needs to do in my life to show His attributes.
I can rejoice all day long in His reputation. It’s not just that He has a good reputation. When I am faced with a concern or an issue, I can reflect on how good that God is and can call on Him. As I pray, I can ask for Him to again help me because of his many attributes. I not only know of times in the Bible when He made His reputation known, but know of times in my own life when He has made His attributes clear. When I needed to know if I should move jobs back in 2007, I asked. His word revealed that he would guide me like the Israelites by a cloud by day and a fire by night. He led them so I was confident that He would lead me. I had no doubt that after several days of praying, I sensed that I should take the job. I passionately wondered and asked Him if it was the right thing to do and He knew my heart’s desire. Because He answers prayer, He gave me direction and allowed me to know that He would be there with me and guard me. In many instances, I have seen Him guard me and protect me in my job. It was because I sought His will that He made it clear to me. Because He is omniscient, He knows what is best for me. I can trust in His direction because he is all knowing and will lead me into truth.
When I see how God has answered prayer, brought me up and out of the pit, set me on a solid foundation and established my goings, thankfulness and appreciation for Him erupts in my heart. Psalm 89:16 in the New Living Translation says that “They exult in your righteousness.” The word “exult” means to show or feel a lively or triumphant joy. When I exult in His righteousness, I can show joy by my actions and words, not being boastful of how God answered prayer, but in celebrating the fact that He brought me up and out. Sometimes, I wish that I could sing and play piano loudly while other times, I am assured of His faithfulness to me in my life without the fanfare. I think though, that when we hear David in Psalm 89:16 use the verb “exult” we should realize that it is perfectly okay to feel a lively joy and to rejoice because of what God has done. I want to always remember how he rescued me from my pit of despair and because of His lifting me up and out of there, I want to rejoice. I need to be more thankful as I reflect on all the many blessings He has given, all of the issues that He has worked out, all of the love that he has restored in my life. Because of His righteousness, I have been given a new hope.
How can I be happy? Hear the joyful call to worship. When I hear it and participate, then I can expect to walk in the light of His presence, rejoice in God’s reputation knowing that He will again show His attributes in my life and jubilantly show and feel a joy about what He has done. If we choose to not hear the call to worship, then we can expect other emotions besides happiness.
I would like to also think that when we hear other calls to worship the world and things, then they will provide a sense of happiness, but just for a little while. The temporary trappings of the world bring pleasure for a season. I am so glad that as I go through my life, I can be confident that in whatever season that I am in, I can choose joy and a path that leads to happiness. This happiness is one that is not just for a little while, but forever. Meditating on God’s word and worshipping Him allows His presence to light up my darkness. I know that there are still days when darkness tries to cover my heart. Clinging to the hope that I have in Jesus is my choice. I hope you will choose to hear the call to worship, walk in His light, rejoice in His attributes and celebrate His goodness.