I believe that deep, abiding joy is largely missing in much of the church today. I have heard Christians say, “We prayed down a revival in our church.” Yet revival cannot happen by prayer alone. There cannot be any such awakening unless people hunger diligently for God’s Word. And they must wholly commit their lives to being governed by the Scriptures. We cannot obtain heaven’s joy until the pure Word has convicted us of our backslidings.
When David was disobedient, he lost the joy of the Lord. That joy could only be restored by true repentance. David knew this, so he prayed, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. . . . Purge me” (Psalm 51:2–3, 7). David also prayed to regain what he had lost: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12).
Ezra told the people rebuilding Jerusalem, in essence, “You have hungered for God’s Word and allowed it to work in your hearts. You have repented and mourned, and God is pleased. But now it is time to rejoice! Take out your handkerchiefs and wipe away your tears. It is a time for joy!”
The glory of the Lord fell on Israel, and the people spent the next seven days rejoicing: “All the people went their way to eat, and to drink . . . and to make great mirth, because they understood the words that were declared unto them” (Nehemiah 8:12, KJV).
The Hebrew word for “mirth” here means “gladness, happiness.” This isn’t just a good feeling, but a deep, inner exuberance. It is clear to everyone around that this wellspring of joy has come from heaven.
When God’s Word is revered, the result is an outpouring of genuine “Jesus joy.”