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. And his will for us in the darkest, most terrible times is to obtain his joy and gladness. Even as we see judgment falling around us, we’re to sing, shout and rejoice—not because judgment has come but in spite of it.
Isaiah 51:11 begins with the word Therefore, meaning, “In light of what I’ve just said.” What had God just said here? He had reminded his people, “[I] made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over” (Isaiah 51:10), meaning, “I’m still the Lord, the Ancient of Days, the worker of miracles. And my arm is still strong to deliver you.”
So, what is it God wants his people to know in light of this truth? He says it all in one verse, Isaiah 51:11:
• “Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion.” In other words: “I’m going to have a people who return to me with trust, faith and confidence. They take their eyes off the conditions surrounding them. And they’ll get back their song of joy.”
• “Everlasting joy shall be upon their head.” The joy that God’s people experience won’t be just for a Sunday morning, or a week or a month. It will last through the years, through hard times, even to the very end.
• “They shall obtain gladness and joy.” God looked down through the ages and said, “I’m going to have a people who will obtain joy, take, possess it. They’ll lay hold of it, and it will be theirs.”
• “Sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” This doesn’t mean all our suffering will end. It means our trust in the Lord will put us above every pain and trial. Such things won’t be able to rob us of our joy and gladness in Christ.