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SING ALOUD UPON YOUR BEDS
by Philip Owen

Joy is the exclusive privilege of believers.  The world may experience various forms of happiness and measures of glee.  They may experience merriment.  But true joy is reserved for those who have been washed from their sins by the blood of Jesus Christ and know the blessing of the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit.  In fact, joy should be a constant and abiding characteristic of a believer’s life.   The penultimate psalm says, “Let the saints be joyful in glory:  let them sing aloud upon their beds” (149:5).  Now there is a striking image, one that may seem peculiar to us, but an exercise that we should consider. 

 

The experience of joy.  The call for saints to “sing aloud upon their beds” is a powerful image that provokes us to think about what occasions joy for the believer.  Whereas the world finds its happiness in some positive external circumstance, which when ended takes whatever happiness it offered with it, the believer’s happiness comes entirely from within and is the fruit of  the joyful nature of “Christ in us,” not merely some positive external event or situation.  A bed conjures up many ideas.  The primary purpose of a bed is for sleep.  The psalmist reminds us that, regardless of the primary activity in which we are engaged, the joy of the Lord is to fill it.  No activity is so important that it should quench our joy.  For many a bed is a place of solitude.  Joy should be expressed openly and in public (see v. 1 of this psalm).  But often our greatest and deepest joy finds expression in total privacy, when none but the Lord has the full attention of our hearts and minds.  Our prayer closets should be places where we pour out not only our private grief but also our personal rejoicing.  A bed is often a place of sickness and suffering.  Yet even in the midst of trials, we may experience the joy of the Lord.  Suffering, which may bring only sorrow to many, may bring to the submitted saint a trainload of rich and sweet joy.  Our Lord is not limited by unpleasant circumstances nor hampered by difficulties; the experience of His joy may well exceed the burden of our trials. The bed is most often the place of succumbing.  But the process of dying is no hindrance to the spirit of joy that is the birthright of every believer.  I will never forget the privilege of visiting a believer on his deathbed.  “Oh, the joy of dying!” he exclaimed repeatedly.  For that which represents misery and defeat for the lost is the time of joyful coronation for the believer.

 

The expression of joy.  There is not just one proper way to express joy.  Sometimes we may find ourselves overcome by a joy that leaves us entirely speechless.  Sometimes tears are a profound expression of joy.  But there are many times when it is appropriate and necessary to express our joy in the Lord verbally to the Lord.  The psalmist says that night seasons should be times of expressing our joy to the Lord.  When others are overcome with anxiety or fear, believers may be overwhelmed with joy and rejoicing.  There may be and there ought to be paeans of praise springing from the heart to the lips of believers.  “Praise is comely for the upright,” declares another psalm (33:1).  Tight-lipped, closed-mouth saints are not becoming.  The Lord creates singing hearts and intends us to sing our thankfulness and His praises aloud.  Surely a saint living in communion with his Lord will break out in audible joyful praise from time to time—if not often—upon his bed, that is in the privacy of his own life.  The Lord desires and fosters our joy.  May our hearts be submitted to Him in such a way that we can say with Fanny Crosby, “I think of my blessed Redeemer, I think of Him all the day long; I sing for I can not be silent; His love is the theme of my song.”  The joy of the Lord is a wonderful gift.  Those who exude joy from the Presence of the Spirit and express joy in the power of the Spirit reflect glory upon their Lord and manifest the beauty of His saving grace in their lives.

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