Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a British Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of various denominations, among whom he is known as the "Prince of Preachers".The Secret of Joy: Psalm 126
by Josh Moody
Spurgeon was once criticized for putting too much laughter into his sermons. Frivolous. Lacking gravity. His reply to the woman who had button-holed him was classic: “My good lady, if you only knew how much I restrain myself.” This psalm shows us not only that “laughter” (Psalms 126:2) and God go together but also God and “joy” (Psalms 126:2-6). This psalm is written to help you discover the secret of joy.
Mistaken Notions of Joy When the psalm refers to joy, it does not mean the tendency that some people have, because of their temperament, to be happier than other people. For one reason or another there appear to be people who are more naturally wired to smile, who can wake up in the morning singing a cheery song, and who look at their breakfast cereal and simply clap their hands with delight. You may feel sympathy with the Snoopy T-Shirt that was popular when Charlie Brown was all the rage & I hate people who sing in the morning & but then others get up early because they like it. Some people are morning people, some people are evening people, and some people seem to feel happier than others. They are wired that way. However, the joy here is not this matter of temperament.
Nor is this joy about faking it, the sort of pretend joy that plasters a smile on your face while inside you growl. Nor is it imposing joy on others by going up to someone who that moment discovered his best friend had a car accident and telling him to “rejoice in the Lord always,” to which the understandable reply might be, “Let me punch you in the nose and see how much rejoicing you’re doing then.” Nor is it the deep Christian joy that is so deep & soooo deep that to find it you practically have to set up an oil well. Drilling, drilling, deeper, deeper, deeper. Ah, we have struck oil; there is a smile down there; it was deep Christian joy.
Living the Dream No, this joy is not a matter of temperament (your natural predisposition), an experience that must be manufactured for yourself and other people (faking it), or something so deep that it is not really happy (where the smile goes down rather than up). Instead, this joy is a result of being “restored” by God (Psalms 126:1)& not happy because of your genetics but happy because of what God has done for you. This joy is based upon an objective, real, God-given restoration. And those who have this joy are “like those who dream” (Psalms 126:1). The ancient world, when it referred to dreams, did not, first of all, mean a daydream. They meant an actual dream, the sort of dream you have when you are asleep. So when the psalmist says this was like dreaming, he is comparing joy to a very good actual dream. He is saying that this joy is like that. This joy is so good that when you experience it you think, “I am living the dream.” Such is the joy that this psalm is talking about.
So throw away all ideas that joy is found in things apart from God, or that God is the serious, gloomy, despondent, negative, critical sort of religious freak who will smack you over the wrists with a wooden ruler as soon as you step out of line. This psalm, first, describes the dream and then, second, tells you how that dream comes true.
Next week we will talk about the Dream