✙ Ps 105:43
Left to my own devices, I tend to think joy is earned. This means, if I'm good, I deserve to be happy. If I'm bad, I blame myself for my misery. I have to be in control.
But Psalm 105 is a song of grace. It doesn't tell me how Israel delivered itself by its own strength, or gained its redemption by its own righteousness, thus earning the right to rejoice. Instead it sings of a God possessed of two things: love, and a plan. Like a compassionate parent, God did not wait for the chosen to earn their deliverance, but brought them through their difficulties step by step. And like a loving family, they emerged from their trials with joy and singing.
The story of Israel's exodus must be recounted again and again, because belief in such grace is not my default mindset. And it's the same with the New Testament exodus, i.e. the death and resurrection of Jesus. How can I believe that Christ's suffering was for me, not at my best, but me at my worst? How can I sing songs in the language of resurrection grace, when works righteousness is my native tongue?
I read the psalms not just to hear pretty words or even to learn the history of a people I am not a part of. I read them to learn my own story—of trial and unfaithfulness, yes, but also of joy and deliverance.
Thank you, Lord, for your gift of joy. Forgive me for waiting to rejoice until I've made myself happy, when you have taught me that true happiness comes from you; in the Name of the One who taught me to pray: Our Father...