Seeing Jesus in Psalm 32 – “Rejoicing and Shouts of Joy”
Psalm 32:11 – “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.”
Joy and happiness, two things that people relentlessly pursue yet two things that seem to slip away from us. We want to apprehend them but so many times we come up empty in our pursuit. Our culture screams at us and says “you can be happy IF you just have everything or most everything that you want.” Commercials make false promises that say if you buy our product your life will be easier and you will joy. The same promise is made by our relationships, our jobs, our vacations and our bank accounts. If these things are just exactly right then we will have joy and happiness in our lives.
In our idolatry of self we even make this promise to ourselves, if I just look a certain way or achieve a certain status I will be happy. If I accomplish this or that then certainly the happiness that alludes me will finally be mine, and yet no matter how hard we pursue we come up empty.
King David knew that because he had been there. He had pursued happiness in his gold, in his power, in whatever else was available, and that pursuit had led him away from God and into sin. He was empty and he was emotionally, spiritually, and mentally broke. He looked to have it all but in reality he had nothing. He wasn’t happy and he certainly wasn’t joyful.
David had hit rock bottom and it was then that he began to look up. He looked up and he cried out to God for mercy, for grace, and for forgiveness. Ironically it was there that he found happiness. He was the king of the nation and he had accomplished many things but his happiness wasn’t found in what he had done. He had many things but his happiness wasn’t found in the things that he had. Instead his happiness had nothing to do with him and everything to do with God. He was happy and in fact joyful because God had forgiven Him. He was happy and again joyful because God had given him His love.
David says in verse 11 that it is the righteous that can truly rejoice. It is the upright in heart that can truly shout for joy. David however was far from righteous, think about the sins that he had committed just with Bathsheeba and Uriah the Hittite (if you don’t know, think Jerry Springer, he had an affair with Bathsheeba then had her husband, Uriah killed). He definitely wasn’t righteous nor was he upright in heart. In fact at times those words obviously did not describe David, and in reality they never described him. They don’t describe us either do they? We aren’t righteous and we aren’t upright in heart. We stumble, we fall, we sin. We have misplaced anger, we don’t forgive, we idolize ourselves, we pursue the world, we definitely aren’t righteous. Yet David says in verse 11 the righteous are the only ones who can truly rejoice and shout for joy.
So where does that leave us? It leaves us in desperate need of the grace of God. It leaves us in desperate need of Jesus, for on the cross He took our sins away so that we could be “upright in heart”. But He also did more than that, He took our sins and then gave us His righteousness. The word that theologians use is “imputation”, Jesus “imputed” His righteousness to us. We did nothing to deserve it, but He gives it to us anyway. So we can now rejoice, we can now truly shout for joy. Not because of what we do, but because of what Jesus did. Not because of the things we earn for ourselves but because of what God through Jesus gives us: His love, forgiveness, and righteousness.
Let us echo with our lives the triumphant cry of David in Psalm 32:11, let us “be glad in the Lord and rejoice because through His we are righteous, and let us shout for joy because again through Him we are upright in heart.” To God be the glory!