I said in my last post that I would ponder joy, joy unspeakable as found in 1 Peter 1:8 “Whom having not seen, ye love, in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”
Being called an empiricist (one who relies on their emotions instead of true knowledge) caused me to search. To search the Scriptures and to search my own heart (which by the way is interchangeable with my mind, not my emotions) to see if there was any truth to that claim.
There are several different meanings to the word joy in the Scripture. In the verse in 1 Peter above though it means; calm delight, gladness. In context of this specific scripture, we have gladness in Christ who loved us first and now because of His love we are able to love Him. We haven’t seen Him, but we believe and we rejoice with joy unspeakable
As I thought of joy, I had to think upon what unspeakable would really mean. It certainly couldn’t mean that we don’t ever speak of Christ who is our joy. It couldn’t mean that we don’t rejoice in Who He is and what He has done for His people, His complete work of salvation. We rejoice in His truth, the Gospel, His Grace. He is our all, our Savior, our Beloved King, our only comfort, Jesus our friend. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13.
I found it interesting that John Gill says this:
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; with a joy in believing on him, which is better experienced than expressed; a joy that not only strangers intermeddle not with, know nothing of, which entirely passes their understanding, but is such as saints themselves cannot speak out, or give a full and distinct account of; they want words to express it, and convey proper ideas of it to others: and it is a joy that is glorious.
So we all desire to express it, with our words and to try and convey, as Gill says, with the correct ideas of this joy. I find it interesting that he says that it is better-experienced (dreaded word) than expressed. I wonder if that is when we read His Word and find Him there, by faith. Or when it ‘feels’ like the world is crashing down around us and there He is, right by our side, never leaving us nor forsaking us. All others might forsake us, but never Jesus, we know this by faith and we believe His promises. We look to Him for our all; He is the author and finisher of our faith.
As I sit here typing I have a CD playing in the background with songs such as: “Come thou Fount”, “What Wondrous Love is This”, “Jesus, Lover of my Soul”, “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” and on the list goes. Songs that bring me great joy and yes stir my emotions as I listen and sing. I also wonder if those who wrote these songs were trying to express their joy in knowing their Savior Jesus the Christ.
Yes, I have emotions and they are stirred by the truths of Jesus Christ. However I don’t walk by them, nor do I know the truth by them either. I find the truth in the Holy Scriptures. God has created each of us with emotions and I pray to have balance and self-control in them but I also rejoice that God has given them to me. So many try to bury any emotion they may have and in doing so create a false image of who they are, not only to others but also to themselves.
Our emotions often cause tears and do you know that King David asked God to “put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book”, as was the custom of mourners to cry their tears into a bottle and bury the bottle with their loved one. God knows our trials and afflictions just as He knew David’s for they come from His Hand and He knows every tear over them. David wasn’t afraid of emotions; he danced in the street rejoicing, joy, joy, joy!
So with me perhaps you can ‘ponder anew, what the Almighty can do’.