We have two marvelous Psalms before us today with so much rich truth from which we could learn. One is hard put to know what to choose. But, as I was reading, a term jumped off the page at me and I just can’t seem to get away from it. Not because I’m sure I know what all it means, but really just the opposite. I know that I am not fully familiar with this idea and I want to explore it and learn more.
The term is found in 89:15-16: “Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted.” [emphasis mine] So what is this festal shout? First, the two words come to us from a Hebrew word that means literally “to split the ears with sound.” The sound may be used in either of two ways (common with Hebrew words) — either alarm or joy. The translators of the ESV have obviously chosen the latter for this context. I did a quick survey and found that the NASB and the KJV use “joyful sound;” the NIV says “acclaim;” the NLT paraphrases “the joyful call to worship.” Each of these emphasizes that this “shout” is one of joy before the Lord and, in context, it is a grateful response for God’s blessings.
So I have to ask myself, “Have I ever done that?” Have you? Has there ever been a time when involuntarily, spontaneously, without restraint, I simply let out a shout because of God’s ginormous blessings to me? Somewhere, in the recesses of my mind, I vaguely recall it happening but I can’t put my finger on the occasion. Sadly, I must confess, I know I have done it at ball games and track meets. I can remember those.
So now I have to ask why. Why is this not a more frequent occurrence? It certainly is not because of a lack of opportunity from the lack of God’s blessings. Perhaps my heart needs to be more alert and responsive. Perhaps my blessing detector needs to be turned up. Perhaps my joy meter is set too low. I’m certain that I need to grow in the art of rejoicing in the Lord.
Prayer: Father, you are great and greatly to be praised! Fill me with joy and praise to you for your vast blessings to me.