“These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11
I guess the question I have to ask here, Lord, is, “What things have You spoken that I must focus on for Your joy?” The Greek word “tauta” used for “these things” is used over 240 times in Scripture. I was reminded elsewhere that “the Bereans rushed to the Scriptures every day in order to see if (in Greek, ei echoi tauta outos – literally “if have these so”) these things were true.” So, if it mattered so much what Paul said that they should rush to Scripture and search it out, then I think even what You tell me I should rush home to search out and come to truly understand and see for myself more deeply in the rest of Your Word.
Well, to start with, You’ve brought me back to Moses giving the “Shema” before the sharing of the Ten Commandments. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: and you shall teach them unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the posts of your house, and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
Now, I put emphasis on these words. Because in this case, Moses wanted the Israelites to focus solely on what they were learning in that moment for the rest of their lives. I think he was trying to tell them to just forget everything else, grab on to this truth, and live in it always. To follow God, to love Him, to obey Him, they needed a new focus, and this was it. It was in the truth of these words. But here’s a really interesting thing if we go back to the “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one,” (ESV) and go to the Greek translation.
“[In] the Greek translation of the [Old Testament], it starts with the transition word kai followed by the telling Hebrew term tauta [ταvτα]. Tauta is an alerting term, a word used for big ideas and causative issues. It was a common way for Greek philosophers to open a discussion about an absolute truth. It’s a word for getting down to momentous topics. From that tauta beginning, Moses goes on to discuss significant biblical truths: God’s unity; the joy of loving God with all our hearts, souls, & might; the import of teaching each generation to follow God. Brilliant, eternal, community-changing words about fellowship with God & generations of people all begin with tauta.” (Dr. Wayne Braudrick)
The point is, You are alerting us, You are introducing us and reminding us to and of big ideas and causitive issues from You. You are telling us of absolute truth, Yours. You’re opening up momentous topics to us, with significant truths straight from the heart of God, straight from Your heart. Now, I could look at it as only these things You’ve just spoken to the disciples, but then I’d miss out on so much. What You just spoke about was more encouraging then the disciples realized, but then again, so is every word You have ever spoken. And why have You given us Your word in Scripture, in ALL of Scripture? Because “[a]ll Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17) This is how You tutor us and bring us to where we can become teachers of others. But I think if John had written Timothy’s words, they might have sounded a little more like, “You have told us all these things so that we can abide in You, and as we abide in You and in the truth of Your words, You’ll abide in us and we’ll become like You, able to be like You in this world and forever.”
“These words have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you…” Your joy can abide in me as I abide in You if I remember and live in the truth of Your words, the things You have breathed out, the life You have breathed into me that created a new creature in me and that continually creates in me. Your calm delight, Your exceeding joy, Your fulness can be in me through all these things You have said, through every word You have ever spoken. There is truth for every truth I need in every situation. Why? So I can have Your joy in every circumstance.
What is it to have Your joy? The “shema” was followed by a promise for the people to have all kinds of physical blessings on their land and growing seasons and families. But I think they missed the whole point. The reason for their joy wasn’t in the physical blessing. They received the physical blessing because God, You, were present with them. They lost the physical blessing when they left You. The stuff wasn’t supposed to be their joy. You were supposed to be their joy. You are supposed to be my Supreme Joy. “Delight yourself also in the LORD; and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
Delight, find “shear enjoyment in the person of God.” Strong’s didn’t really help me understand this word so I went searching. I found that it’s “used for a garment that is delicate or luxurious” like silk. Just imagine holding silk and feeling the pleasure of it. It’s not necessarily what you do with it, but the fact of it’s feeling so wonderful. It’s just wonderful because it is. This Hebrew word, “anag” means “to feel great favor toward something. ” And the point today is that the favor we feel isn’t in Your forgiveness, or rescue, or promise, but in You. It’s not about what You are doing for me or what you have done for me. My joy is in You. It’s in seeing You. It’s in sitting back and hearing Your voice, the words spoken from Your breath, over and over again in my mind, and in my heart. You are the Marvelous One. You are attractive in and of Yourself.
Your joy remains, abides, in me as I make much of You and lift You up and trust these words, all of them, You have breathed out to me. It’s emotional. I have a chance to pamper You by what I do with Your words. I have this beautiful opportunity to melt in Your hands, by Your words. You point me to You. You point me to God. This is the treasure that is worth selling everything to gain. This is the treasure that is worth leaving everything behind and following.
Skip Moen shares a Hebrew word picture from this delight in Psalm 37:4. It is Ayim-Nun-Gimel. “The pictograph is ‘experience life lifted up.’ God is the God of life. To experience Him is to experience Life itself in all its splendor and majesty.”
“These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. “Not only will I know delight in You, Lord, through Your words but this joy I have in You can be full! I can experience life lifted up! My life is lifted up in You! I can say as the Psalmist, “You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fulness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore!” Wrap up satisfaction and exceeding pleasure together and that’s what I have in You, or, at least that’s what I can have in You, just like the disciples could. I have the opportunity as I rely on Your words every moment to have this life lifted up in You and the pleasure of You. I don’t ever have to leave this. I can always have You to overflowing, pressed down and crammed in so full, You just have to bubble over and out. I mean, after all, You are Life eternal. How can any vessel contain all of that?
Lord, I want to be able in the darkest and toughest situations to close my eyes and hear Your words breathed in my ears again. I want to cling to Your words, all of them, more strongly than I cling to my own life. I want to cling to them becaue they are You, and more than anything, I want to cling to You. I need to cling to You. Lord, may I love and obey and live in Your words more and more and more every day, moment by moment. I want to delight in You as my greatest pleasure. I want Your presence to be my greatest joy. I want to experience life lifted up in You. Be my Satisfaction. May my heart be glad in You, may my glory rejoice in You, and may my flesh rest in You, my Word of Life, my Everything, and my Joy.