"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
This morning, there is much in the world to get us down. These days, folks that are generally gloomy are now even moreso, folks that are generally indifferent are now more gloomy, and folks that are generally chipper are now losing that spring in their step and sunny twinkle in their outlook. While some people are more prone to smiles and twinkles than others in their general disposition, there is a sense in which gladness should be had by all of us every day no matter the circumstances that we face or the general mood that engulfs the world we live in. To understand why this should be, we need to understand first what gladness truly is, and then understand where it comes from and how it is focused. In learning these two things, we can then proceed to be glad in every day that have regardless of what is happening around us.
When speaking about human emotions, the old adage applies very well, "If you don't like it now, wait a bit. It'll change." Human emotions change sometimes at the drop of a hat, and for this reason, true spirituality, growth, and development cannot be based on emotion nor measured by such. Indeed, it would be a wonderful circumstance if all of our spiritual development came with happiness, and was attended by pleasant scenes. Thank God that we have such times, but we will not continually have such times. Therefore, since we will experience loss, sadness, and unfortunately anxiety and worry, we need to understand how spirituality is measured and how we should perceive it. The Psalmist here declares that we should be glad in this day that the LORD has made. What exactly is gladness?
Gladness or being glad is almost synonymous with joy or being joyful. The words are very similar in meaning and sometimes the same Hebrew word is translated to either gladness or joy. We have many times laboured to show the difference between human happiness and spiritual joy or gladness, but the difference bears repeating as many today still fail to understand the difference. Happiness is one of those changing, fleeting human emotions. Happiness is governed and tied to circumstance, and therefore, it will be painfully absent during times of sorrow, stress, or anger. Joy or gladness, on the other hand, is tied to the work of the Spirit within the hearts of His people. As joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), it is something that is not tied to natural circumstance or situation, but is tied to the regeneration of God's people. We have the capacity to exhibit love, joy, peace, etc in ANY circumstance in life. Whether experiencing ups or downs, we can show forth true gladness of heart, for the heart contains that well of water springing up into eternal life. (John 4:13-14)
Therefore, since being glad in a day is not governed by circumstance, the Psalmist's words are applicable to any day of our life. Gladness may be experienced in a manifest way by God's people that seek to daily work out what He has worked in. (Mark 8:34, Philippians 2:12-13) Now that we have investigated what gladness is to see where it comes from and what it is, we need to see how gladness is focused to understand our daily chart for living with gladness at the forefront of each day. How do we keep gladness of heart firmly placed in every day no matter the trial? Looking at the Psalmist's context to this verse will provide a profound answer to this question. Let us briefly see how the Psalmist builds to this point.
The opening of this Psalm shows the Psalmist's comparison to having the Lord and not having Him. Indeed, having Him on our side is far superior to any other circumstance. Trusting Him for all of our needs is far superior than trusting man in any sense. The Lord is more merciful, for far longer, than any other being in the universe. (Verses 1-5) What or whom shall we fear with the Lord on our side? All our enemies will come to ruin. They will come to nought since the Lord is our strength, song, and salvation. (Verses 6-14) Finally, rejoicing (being glad or joyful) is found in the tabernacles of the righteous. Why is this? The LORD has saved us by His own hand, and He has kept us from falling. Though He chastens us, yet will our lives not be given over to a death of separation from Him. He upholds and keeps us, for He has saved us Himself. (Verses 15-21)
For all of these things, it would be a great benefit to focus on them to experience gladness. However, consider that some of these things mentioned are circumstances that we will encounter. While we should be glad in them, we cannot focus on them to receive the gladness. All of these things are building to where our focus should be. The Psalmist begins to open the tapestry of thought in this building's wall by talking about our salvation. How was that accomplished? How did the LORD save us? Verse 16 talks about the LORD'S hand, specifically His right hand doing the work. That begins to open into a prophesy that we today should have full understanding of, and with that understanding, the focus to look at every day with gladness of heart.
Verses 22-23 say, "The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes." This prophesy is specifically repeated by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10-11, and Luke 20:17. It is then repeated by Peter in Acts 4:10-11. Therefore, five instances of this prophesy in New Testament Scriptures all point this prophecy, unequivocally, to the coming of Christ, His work, and the sureness of that fact. Consider the prophecy itself. It speaks, by inference, of a day too. This is the day that the Lord has come. He has come to do what no one else could do. He was going to be laid as the chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and tried (proven). (Isaiah 28:16) This day was a day that the prophets and Old Testament saints looked to. The day of atonement looked to it year after year. The sacrifices pointed to it daily. This day was a marvellous day in the eyes of God's faithful.
The reason this is marvellous is because it is God's work. He has done it, and who shall stop it? Not one. He has saved, and who hath prevented Him? Not one. He has come! What more reason to be joyful and full of gladness than that? The Psalmist says, in that day, that they can be joyful and glad just looking forward to the day when this will come to pass. How much more joy and gladness can and should we have today knowing that it has come to pass? Indeed, this news and focus should keep every day in bright refulgence of having another day of service to the One that loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) Paul exhorts that if one does not love Jesus Christ the Lord, let him be "Anathema Maranatha." (I Corinthians 16:22) This statement means let him be accursed (anathema) for the Lord has and will come (maranatha). Paul was living, as we are today, in the light of the knowledge that our love, our doctrine, our life, and our all in
all is built upon the fact that the Lord has come, and He will yet come again.
What will today bring? I have little idea. My best guess is generally not even half right. What will tomorrow bring? I have even less idea. Will there even be a tomorrow for me? Whatever days I have left, my course for every day is simple (not to be confused with easy, as easy and simple are not always synonymous). Gladness of heart is in order, for the day is the Lord's. He made it. My rejoicing and gladness is in knowing that it is His, and my focus is on that marvellous work that He laid in Zion when His Son came as the cornerstone of His family. None can shake it and not one can perish or be lost from Him, including me personally. What can man do to me? What is worth my worry to the neglect of being glad in Him and His day? With Christ as our focus, we can forget about those things which are behind and ever look before us with joy pressing toward that mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Philippians