NEW SONG: Joy of the Lord

As Gareth Gilkeson from the worship band Rend Collective, points out, worship music tends to focus on God’s holiness, but doesn’t always take that next step into celebrating it.  This weekend, we are starting a year long focus on JOY, one of the fruits of the Spirit.  To help us do that, we are learning a new song, “Joy of the Lord”.  Gareth, one of the songwriters also writes,

 “It’s a call to the cynical to once again choose celebration over condemnation and a reminder to the broken that ‘the joy of the Lord is our strength’….Joy isn’t the same as happiness, it’s deeper than that. When you have joy in the Lord, your circumstances don’t have the same power and the same control over you.”

It’s also a fun song.  Rend Collective tried to make it sound like fun. It’s what the Psalmist calls, ‘a joyful noise’.”  So let’s jump in…it starts with the Psalms…

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. -Psalm 73:26

VS1: Though tears may fall
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
Though my heart may fail
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
While there’s breath in my lungs
I will praise You, Lord

You can see already that joy is not connected to our circumstances because this song doesn’t shy away from the tears and failures of life.  Instead, it calls us to praise God in the tears and failures…

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. -Psalm 150:6

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth. -Psalm 121:1-2

VS2: In the dead of night, I’ll lift my eyes
I’ll lift my eyes to You
When the waters rise, I’ll lift my eyes
I’ll lift my eyes to You
While there’s hope in my heart
I will praise You, Lord

And then we come to the rock’in, stomp’in, sing it out loud chorus…

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” -Nehemiah 8:10b

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him. -Psalm 28:7

CH: The joy of the Lord is my strength!
The joy of the Lord is my strength!
In the darkness I’ll dance
In the shadows I’ll sing
The joy of the Lord is my strength!

Next, the song echos Hebrews in reminding us that even faith itself is believing in things we can’t see…that’s not an easy thing, but faith is another avenue to praise and then to JOY!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. -Hebrews 11:1

VS3: When I cannot see You with my eyes
Let faith arise to You
When I cannot feel Your hand in mine
Let faith arise to You
God of mercy and love
I will praise You, Lord

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. -2 Corinthians 4:6

Now the verses have gone through pain, sorrow, faith and praise to life in God’s glory.  Remember, “there is strength when I say, ‘I will praise you, Lord”.

VS4: Oh You shine with glory, Lord of light
I feel alive with You
In Your presence now I come alive
I am alive with You
There is strength when I say
I will praise You, Lord

BR: When sorrow comes my way
You are the shield around me
Always, You remain my courage in the fight
I hear You call my name
Jesus, I am coming
Walking on the waves
Reaching for Your light

And with that, we go back to the chorus because “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”  It’s going to be a good anthem for us to sing this year.  Because as Gareth reminds us, “Seriousness is not a fruit of the Spirit, but joy is.”


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