We who know Christ’s righteousness are not to live as those who are without hope. We have been blessed with both the love and the fear of God.
What does God want his people to know in light of this truth? He says it all in one verse, “So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11, NKJV). In other words: “I’m going to have a people who return to me with trust, faith and confidence. They’ll take their eyes off the conditions surrounding them, and they’ll get back their song of joy.”
God’s will for us in the darkest, most terrible times to obtain his joy and gladness. Even as we see judgment falling around us, we’re to sing and rejoice, not because judgment has come but in spite of it.
Isaiah 51:11 begins with a Hebrew word that means “In light of what I’ve just said.” What had the prophet just said? He was speaking to God: “Are you not the one who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; that made the depths of the sea a road for the redeemed to cross over?” (Isaiah 51:10). Isaiah was reminding Israel that God had promised them and demonstrated his passion to save them. This verse is saying, “I’m still the Lord, the Ancient of Days, the worker of miracles. My arm is still strong to deliver you.”
Next, the joy that God’s people experience won’t be just for a Sunday morning, or a week or a month. It is everlasting, and that means it will go on through the years, through hard times, even to the very end. God looked down through the ages and said, “I’m going to have a people who will obtain joy and possess it. They’ll lay hold of it, and it will be theirs.”
Finally, this doesn’t mean all our suffering will end. It means our trust in the Lord will put us above every pain and trial. If we embrace this, nothing will be able to rob us of our joy and gladness in Christ.