Psalm 137:1-4, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, and those who plundered us requested mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’ ‘How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?’”
As you can see there was no joy in captivity! God’s people are a happy, singing people. But when we are held captive by anything, ie: depression, sin, discouragement, worries, doubts and fears, it’s hard to be joyful, and if we do not have the joy of the Lord, we cannot sing!
God wants His people to be a happy, joyful people!
“Joy is a spiritual result of our focus on God. It is tied to our salvation and our walk with Christ. Joy is eternally-based and can be ours even in our deepest valleys…Joy is from God and therefore can never be stolen from us. Joy is given through the Holy Spirit the moment we accept Christ as our Savior. As Christians, our joy can never be completely destroyed, although there are many pitfalls which can significantly diminish it. Joy is a permanent gift from God, but it also a gift for which we must take responsibility for nurturing and protecting on a daily basis. –Dr. Michael Youssef
•Psalm 5:11, “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.”
•Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
•Psalm 33:1, “Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.”
•Psalm 66:1, “Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!”
•Psalm 71:23, “My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, and my soul, which You have redeemed.”
•Psalm 81:1, “Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob.”
•Psalm 89:15,16, “Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted.”
•Psalm 95:1, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.”
•Psalm 97:12, “Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.”
•Psalm 98:4,8, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises… Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord.”
•Psalm 104:34, “May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord.”
•Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 149:5,6, “Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth.”
Isaiah 12:3, “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
•Isaiah 35:10, “And 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, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
•Jeremiah 15:16, “When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight.”
•Luke 10;20, “Rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”
God’s people have always expressed their joy by singing.
•Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!”
•Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
•Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
•2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT, “For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new person. The old life is gone. New life has begun.”
1 Peter 1:8,9 NLT, “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
•Exodus 15:1-18, The song of Moses after the exodus. “I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.”
•Judges 5:1-3, The first duet in history. “Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying: ‘When leaders lead in Israel, when the people willingly offer themselves, bless the Lord! Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I, even I, will sing to the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.”
•Exodus 15:20,21, The first women’s chorus, a refrain from Moses song of redemption. “Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. “Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!”
•1 Samuel 10:5, The first male chorus, “After that you shall come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is. And it will happen, when you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying.”
•1 Chronicles 13:8, Congregational singing. “Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.”
•1 Chronicles 16:4-7, David’s choir. “And he appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the Lord God of Israel… with stringed instruments and harps, but Asaph made music with cymbals; Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests regularly blew the trumpets before the ark of the covenant of God. On that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the Lord…”
1 Chronicles 25:1-7, 288 prophets were trained in music. ”All these were under the direction of their father for the music in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, stringed instruments, and harps, for the service of the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the authority of the king. So the number of them, with their brethren who were instructed in the songs of the Lord, all who were skillful, was two hundred and eighty-eight.”
In Solomon’s Temple 38,000 Levites were appointed to the work of the Temple. Of these 4000 were singers and musicians.
•When Zerubbabel led a small group of Jews back to Jerusalem after the captivity, of these 200 were in the choir.
•In Nehemiah at the dedication of the wall. Nehemiah 12:40-42, “So the two thanksgiving choirs stood in the house of God, likewise I and the half of the rulers with me; and the priests, Eliakim, Maaseiah, Minjamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets; also Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. The singers sang loudly with Jezrahiah the director.”
God’s people sing!
Ephesians 5:17-20 NLT, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Colossians 3:126 MSG, “And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”
When we become a Christians, the Spirit of God comes to live in us and when the Spirit of God fills us, we become joyful. A Spirit-filled Christian is going to be happy, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in his life or in the world around him. He is never under the circumstances, he praises his way through the circumstances!