Today's passage: Isaiah 51
"Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: They shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away." I am singing this song in my head right now. In Bible college, we were always taught that if a verse starts with "therefore" to see what it is there for. So, looking at the previous verses in this passage, the Lord is reminding Israel how He blessed Abraham and Sarah. He tells them that He will turn all their wastelands and deserts into beautiful places. (God can even use my weaknesses, and with His help, He can make them strengths). He warns that He will judge Israel's enemies. Most importantly, He tells them that salvation has been provided.
Who is doing the singing in this verse? The redeemed of the LORD. Those who have accepted His Son for their salvation. Now, I have always known that there is a difference between happiness and joy. It has been said that happiness depends on circumstances, joy does not. This verse says "they shall obtain gladness and joy". These are not things I automatically have. If I obtain them, I have to get them somehow. How do I get them? I have to be redeemed. Gladness and joy only come through salvation. If I do not know Christ as my Savior, I can have happiness, but I will never have gladness, and I will never know joy. The latter part of this verse says that "sorrow and mourning shall flee away". For unbelievers, they will have an eternity of sorrow and mourning. For those who know Him, this life will pass and there will be no sadness in Heaven. I am so thankful today that I am redeemed and I can claim these precious promises.