Tuesday: Psalm 119.49-88; Isaiah 61; Luke 18.31-19.10

From: Mark Booker

I think most of us feel like we’re the primary actors in our lives. What we do (or don’t do) matters most to our sense of joy or despair. When we open the Scriptures we’re confronted with a different way of seeing. God’s actions are primary, and they are THE source of joy. I was convicted by God about this last week while reciting Ps 95 in morning prayer. In that psalm, his character and his works inspire our joyful noise. They are the focus.

Isaiah 61 is no different. This is just the way Scripture works. Here, God’s anointed one (Messiah) brings about liberation and justice and blessing. It’s a glorious picture of salvation for a hard-pressed people. Their fortunes are changed, not by their ingenious or industrious action but by the gracious action of God.

And their response? Verse 7 promises “everlasting joy” and verse 10 says, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God…” Joy. That is a defining mark of God’s people, signified by the third candle of the Advent wreath that we lit this past Sunday.

When my actions are at the center, joy is elusive. There are too many failures, too many unfinished tasks, too many areas for improvement. When God’s actions are at the center, as, in fact, they actually are, joy is inevitable.

The question God is asking me right now, and I would encourage you to let him ask you, is this: are my (God’s) great works at the center of your life? The degree to which I can answer that in the affirmative, whatever is going on in and around my life, is, I think, the degree to which I will experience true joy.

Mandy and I live in Jamaica Plain with our four kids, the youngest of which turned 8 this past Thursday. She requested Chicken Tikka Masala (lovingly referred to as Chicken Ma’tikka in our family) and dirt and worms for her birthday meal and dessert.