Daily encouragement

Video by

Chad Smith

ACF Devo Team

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Proverbs 10:28

The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

Behind the Scenes

Tis the season! We’ve had our fill of turkey. We’ve been scouring the stores and Internet shops for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday deals. And now it’s time for the full-court press into all things merry and bright. There are a lot of buzzwords that come with the Christmas season. One we’ll hear in songs and see on all sorts of cute decor in the coming weeks is “joy.”

Merriam Webster describes joy as a feeling, the entry reading: “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: DELIGHT,” and, “the expression or exhibition of such emotion: GAIETY.” When the angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people,” is that what he meant? Would the coming of Christ simply delight mankind? Or is there a deeper meaning of joy?

The Greek word for joy in the angel’s announcement is chara. In Hebrew, the word is translated as simcha. Today’s passage from Proverbs uses this same Hebrew word. One Messianic Jewish community, Kehilat HaTikvah, breaks down the difference between two Hebrew words that are often translated as joy in our English Bibles: sason and simcha. “Sason is characterized by short and sudden burst of exuberance sparked by some external stimulus…Simcha, on the other hand, is a deep and continuous pleasant feeling sustained through time and is not necessarily expressed in jubilant emotions.”

Make it Real

With all this linguistic context, we can read Proverbs 10:28 as, The hope of the righteous brings deep, continuous, sustained joy while the expectation of the wicked perishes. We find another comparison between the righteous and the wicked in Psalm 92 that helps to bring things full circle: “...though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever…The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green.”

Grass shoots up quickly. It is also easily trampled and has pretty limited growth potential. Trees, on the other hand, take much longer to mature. They are also stronger and have the potential to reach towering heights. Those who are living apart from God are forced to rely on external circumstances to spark short bursts of joy. They might have great expectations and life might live up to that hype for a short time. But ultimately, those expectations will wither.

The hope of the righteous, on the other hand, is a robust hope that brings joy and sustains us through the seasons. Romans 5 tells us, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God…and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” That is the good news of great joy we celebrate! Through God’s Spirit in us, we can be filled with deep-rooted, long-lasting, ever-increasing joy.

You may be someone who experiences spontaneous delight while decking the halls, or you might feel you have more in common with the Grinch than the Whos when it comes to yuletide gaiety. No matter which camp you fall in, there is a deeper joy that God desires for you. It isn’t dependent on external stimuli. It isn’t a short-lived high. It’s the abundant life Jesus came to give us as we abide in him. As calendars fill up and daylight wanes over the coming weeks, how will you remain connected to the True Vine, that his joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full?

End in Prayer

Jesus, you came to Earth under the most spectacular and most humble circumstances. You came as part of God’s epic plan to redeem all of creation. And you also came for me–that I might experience abundant life reconciled to you. And yet so many times I look so many other places to find the joy that can only be found in your presence. Help me to slow down even as life seems to speed up all around me. Help me to move through the coming days mindful of your presence and eagerly anticipating the celebration of your arrival. In your name I pray, amen.

Written by

Hailey Schroeder

ACF Devo Team