Joan Corbett - Nuriootpa, SM - Second Part of Second Meeting, 2004

ln the Song of Solomon 2:3, "As the apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." In Psalms, we read about the Children of Israel that they hung their harps in the willow trees. The enemy was telling them to sing the Lord's song, but they couldn't sing the Lord's song in a strange land. The psalmist said 137:5, "If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning, if I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."

I wonder today what is your chief joy? I have to question my own heart, "What is my chief joy?" It's very easy to make earthly things our chief joy; living for the things of time; lust of the flesh and eyes. Maybe even your family could become your chief joy, and these days I believe God will search our hearts that we might know where our chief joy lies. The psalmist was very anxious that he would make Jerusalem his chief joy above everything else that might cause him to lose his joy. Jerusalem was the place where God dwelt; the place where everything to do with their worship was centered and that was his chief joy. Is that your chief joy today? Sitting under His shadow with great delight; is that how we feel when we draw near to God; that is our greatest delight we have; just drawing near to God. It should be! It should be our greatest delight. The greatest joy that we have drawing near to God and meeting together with God's people; the greatest joy that we have above everything else. We should be rejoicing in that. We rejoice in the mercy of God; we rejoice in God's goodness, and if we don't, there is something wrong if we are not rejoicing in that.

The most important thing in our lives; the greatest joy; the greatest delight, every day; every morning when we begin the day, is it our delight to draw near to God? We read of the fruits of the Spirit, and love is one of the first fruits or qualities that we read of, and joy follows it. I believe that if we really love God,  we are going to have joy in drawing near to Him; great joy in his presence, if we really love Him. If we aren't finding joy, then we need to question our love, and we would need to have our love increased, when we think about the love of God; we think about Jesus and His coming and His loving heart that He gave Himself so willingly and freely. If we think on that, it is going to help us love Him more. "Love Thee more; more and more. Oh enlarge this heart of mine, I would love Thee more." I hope we are not just content to love a little, but we want to love Him more and more. That will find us in the presence of God just loving to be there, because it is our greatest joy to be in the presence of God; seeking His help and seeking His face. I was noticing too about David and some of the psalmists, and David found great joy in the presence of God, and he said once, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy," and in another Psalm it speaks about "exceeding joy." If we could just feel like that then I feel our service would be so much more acceptable, if we felt like that and God was our exceeding joy. Everything to do with our service to God would be a joy; a joy to serve God; a joy to follow Jesus.

Very often we think about serving God in the sense of denying ourselves, and we don't think about it in the sense of the joy that there should be in laying down our lives for Jesus sake; we should be finding joy in that; joy in suffering reproach for Jesus name. Do we find a joy in it? We read about some of the disciples when they were in prison. They were beaten but they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer; they found joy in that. I just feel that I'd like to learn how to have a deeper love for my Lord; that my joy might be like that. The joy even in suffering. I was thinking of some of the blessings that come as a result of having such a delight and joy in the presence of God. In Psalm 112, it tells us about David's delight in God's commandments and of the blessings that come as a result. It speaks about fruitfulness; being enriched and also having something in his heart; compassion and a heart going out to others, and it seems that it all come from the fact that he delighted in the commandments of God. If we do that, delighting in the word of God like he said "God's word" was able to speak to him, and if that is what God's word is to us and we are availing ourselves of the wonderful privilege of drawing near to God, it is going to do something for our inmost soul; it is going to do something for our attitude to others; giving us something that we can pour out to others. Greater joy;
His mercy; His compassion. It speaks in this chapter about not fearing, and there will be no fear of the enemy, because our delight is in the Lord; delighting in the word of God and the Law of God. Making it the rejoicing of our heart, as David said "Thy word is the joy and rejoicing of my heart."

I was thinking about Jesus and His delight was to do the will of His Father; that was His delight, we read in Proverbs which gives us a little picture of Jesus, and it speaks about Him being the delight of His Father, and it says, "He was daily His delight." Daily His delight, and how does that come about? Because He delighted to do His Father's will. we would like to be a delight to God, wouldn't we? All of us would like to be a delight to God. If we delight in Jesus and we do His will; delighting to obey Him, then He is going to delight in us; we'll be His delight daily. It's a daily thing, and if we make Him our delight daily; drawing near to Him daily, then we can also be His delight. The Ephesian church, they had left their first love, and I believe that ioy would have gone out, too. We just want to take care of our hearts; our hearts' affections, and let's not lose our love because then joy will go too; we'll lose our joy. Those captives had lost their joy, they had nothing to sing about any more, so they hung their harps in the willow trees; they had no joy; nothing to sing about because the Lord hadn't been given the rightful place in their lives; they hadn't made Him, their chief joy. I hope we will do that, making the Lord our chief joy as we go out from here to live in such a way that that we d be manifesting this joy from our lives. Not something superficial but something that is deep down in our heart; manifesting it.

It speaks about shouting for joy. We don't want to do that verbally, but let our lives do it; let our lives do the shouting that we are really following Jesus, and that we have such joy; joy in serving Him. We are not going to follow after other things because we have joy in serving Him, and our lives speak this without words because we have joy and I hope we can do this in the days ahead; appreciating the joy we can have in the presence of God; being found there because we love Him and He is our greatest delight.