Serve the Lord with Joy and Gladness
Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God . . . 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 47-48 NKJV
God instructed the prophet Elijah to anoint Elisha to be prophet in his place because Elisha, of Abel-meholah (Meadow of the dance), would serve God with joy (1 Kings 19:14-16). Elijah had become fearful, isolated, depressed, and lonely; he pouted and complained to God (1Kings 19:10-14). Like Elijah, it’s so easy to complain about what isn’t, what we don’t have, or think you’re right and others are wrong rather than being thankful for what is, what you have, and acknowledging that your only righteousness is in Christ. God wants His people to serve Him with joy and gladness for the abundance of everything.
In Deuteronomy 28, God outlines the conditions of blessings and the consequences of disobedience. It is interesting to note that this chapter enumerates 12 verses of various blessings and 54 verses of a myriad of curses that comes upon those who do not serve the Lord with joy and gladness. That’s 4.5 to 1 ratio. In other words, for every blessing of God, the enemy has more than 4 ways to steal it, place you in bondage, and attempt to utterly destroy you. Joy is an attitude of the mind and gladness is gratitude of the heart. Regardless of the enemy’s tactics directed against you, God’s blessings will continue to flow into the life of one who serves Him with joy and gladness. Why? “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).
“Strength” serves as your fortress (fortification), your defense, and your “Rock” against the enemies of hunger, thirst, nakedness, and the want of everything (poverty). Joy is that part of the nature of Jesus in you that is strength, gladness, and delight (fruit of Spirit, Gal. 5:22). When you’re conscious that you live in the presence of God, you’ll feel joy and gladness–—not loneliness and sadness (Psalm 16:11). Joy and gladness attracts God’s blessings to you, but ingratitude breaches your spiritual defenses and opens the door to the curses to find a resting place in your life. “Curses, like young chickens, always come home to roost” (English proverb; and Proverbs 26:2). Serve the Lord with joy and gladness! (Psalm 100).