Rejoicing in Messiah's Name
James Smith, 1855
The religion of Jesus makes us happy — while it makes us holy. Yes, it makes us happy — by making us holy. It gives . . .
life to the dead,
sight to the blind,
light to those who sit in darkness,
liberty to the slave, and
opens a source of joy to the distressed and sorrowful.
"Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance." They . . .
are free from bondage,
have a possession in the promised land,
and live beneath Jehovah's paternal smile.
O Savior, you have done great things for them, you have conferred good things on them, and "They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness!" (Psalm 89:10.)
We must deplore our propensity to rejoice in something else — and yet admire the Lord's dealings in bringing us to rejoice in his dear name. We are sometimes left to rejoice in our gifts — and then the Lord causes them comparatively to wither, and this corrects our folly and brings us back.
Sometimes we are ready to rejoice in our knowledge — and then the Lord gives us a sight of our ignorance, and this corrects us.
Sometimes we rejoice in the actings of faith, instead of Christ — and then we are left to prove that we cannot act faith at all without Divine assistance, and this reproves us.
Sometimes we rejoice in our comforts — and lo! the cup of comfort is dashed from our lips, and one of wormwood and gall is given in its stead; this shows us our folly.
Sometimes we rejoice in Divine manifestations — and then we are left in the dark to grope like the blind for the wall; and this fills us with confusion.
Sometimes we rejoice in our prospects — and then suddenly they are all blasted, and our spring is turned into winter.
Sometimes we rejoice in our friends — and then they become our enemies, or are removed from us by death or distance.
Thus the Lord is pleased to wean us from all our false dependences, strip us of all our false joys, and lead us to rejoice in the name of Jesus alone.
And indeed there is such sweetness, excellency, and suitability in the name or names of Jesus — that a believer may find cause to rejoice therein in all states, under all his varying feelings, and in all situations.
Are we poor, necessitous, and surrounded with needs — which we know not how to get supplied? He is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides, and according to this sweet name — he will supply all our needs according to his glorious riches.
Are we sick, and disordered in soul or body — and need a physician to heal us? He is Jehovah Rophi, the Lord who heals us. And he gives medicine, attendance, and all that is needed — gratuitously, without fee or reward.
Do we find the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and is our bosoms the seat of war? He is Jehovah Shalom, the Lord who sends peace. He has made peace for us by the blood of his cross, he proclaims peace to us in the everlasting Gospel, and he communicates holy tranquility to our souls by the power of his Holy Spirit.
Do our enemies — the world, the flesh, and the devil — muster their forces, and call us out to an unequal war? Are we alarmed, and filled with cowardly and traitorous feelings? Then Jehovah Nissi appears as the Lord our banner — and unfurls, reveals, and waves the conquering banner of his love over us, goes before us as the Captain of our salvation, and says, "Fear not, I have overcome the world!" "I have spoiled the principalities and powers." "I will purge out the rebels." Thus he imparts courage, boldness, and loyalty, leading us on from conquering to conquer.
Are we cast down under a sense of our shortcomings, the imperfection of our obedience, and the daily breaking out of sin in our conduct and life? Then Jesus shows himself as Jehovah Tsidkenu — the Lord our righteousness, and enables us to say, "In the Lord have I righteousness and strength."
Do we look at our sin, curse, and condemnation, and begin to droop and despond? Then he is Jesus — who saves his people from all condemnation, curse, and sin.
Are we called away from friends and relatives, sent into a land of strangers, or even into the midst of enemies? Then he is Jehovah Shammah, the Lord is there; and he is there a friend to commune with us, deliver, cheer, or bless us.
Are our lusts imperious, our passions turbulent, and is a civil war commenced in the soul? Then he is our Lord, and he graciously puts forth his power, and brings all into order, consistency, and peace. Thus, let our feelings be what they may, or our state what it will; let us be placed in ever so uncomfortable a situation, and when we cannot rejoice in our comforts, in the actings of our faith, in our gifts, friends, prospects, or Divine manifestations — then, even then, we may rejoice in the name of Jesus! Yes, and rejoice in his name all the day long, because it is so suitable, indescribably sweet, and unutterably precious.
Gracious Savior! your name is as ointment poured forth. In your person, character, grace, sympathy, offices, and perfect work — there is enough . . .
to cheer us in the gloomiest day,
to comfort us under the most painful dispensations, and
to fill us with all joy and peace as we pass through the valley of Achor to your blessed abode.
May I never rejoice in my name — but yours; or fail to rejoice in that, at any time, or under any circumstances. You are all my hope, in you alone is my trust, and from you I expect grace here, and glory in a better world. Your name shall endure forever; your name shall be continued as long as the sun; men shall be blessed in you; all nations shall call you blessed.