About a year or so back, my Dad and I were hangin’ out at the house and I happened upon one of my brilliant ideas. Suddenly, I’m thinking, “Umm, milkshake.” So I get to making one when my Dad asks for half of it. Back to the football game he meandered as I started to pour. Too thick. It wouldn’t come out so I start tapping the blender with a spoon. Sploosh! My milkshake went all flood-stage on me. The counter and stove were covered in chocolate milkshake. Wonderful.
Hearing my, “umph,” Dad jogged into the kitchen. “Ummm, had a little accident,” I said. And the laughter started. Through the giggles I started cleaning the mess while my Dad started making another milkshake. Almost finished, he decided to test the consistency with a spoon. Suddenly, with near simultaneous timing I hear an “Oh!” from Dad and a “BOOM!” from something else.
Time was irrelevant, it happened so fast. Chocolate milkshake covered everything. The wall. The counter. The stove. The refrigerator. The floor. At first we weren’t even sure what we were looking at. As hearing, sight, and nerves regained their footing, our giggles burst into full on belly laughing. Looking things over, Dad pieced together what happened. Now here’s where it gets interesting… Earlier that Sunday morning, while in the pulpit, Dad taught about Moses and the Burning Bush. And there, in that split second, staring at chocolate catastrophe, it hit him, so naturally he said, “I guess God doesn’t want me to have a milkshake today. He really wants me to stick to that fiber stuff. ‘Thou shan’t have a milkshake, Ricki!’”
Dad lowered the spoon too far into the blender…while it was still running. Bam! The blades grabbed the spoon, shot it through the side and pierced both ice cream and glass. In its wake, milkshake flew everywhere. We don’t know how, but the spoon actually ended up behind me. How all that happened and didn’t kill someone we’ll never know. Dad said, “I guess He protected me from having a milkshake and protected you from a bruise from a spoon.” And the laughter rolled on and on. How could it not? The hole from the spoon was on the opposite side of the blender from where it landed behind me.
Now the mess was gigantic. Added to mine, Dad’s mess put us into some serious cleaning time. Yet, somehow, in the middle of all that happened and had to happen, my silly Dad talked about God. How on earth does God enter into something so sudden and so silly? It got me wondering about how the joy of the Lord works. How do you get it all the time? How do you learn to experience Him and His joy in your everyday little things? For that matter even, what is the joy of the Lord?
You know what I mean? We hear about it. We hear about the joy of the Lord that should flow naturally out of the re-born child of God. But really? I mean that’s a big thing, isn’t it? And I’m not sure if it’s my experience. I just know I want it.
Take King David’s example during that whole thing with the Ark of the Covenant. Now the Ark was around long before Dave. God told the nation of Israel to build it. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, think about the old Indiana Jones…the one where he and the Nazis search for a big gold box. In the real history of the Ark of the Covenant, God told Moses to keep the stone tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments inside the Ark. The glory of God displayed itself between two golden, ornamental angels on the lid of the Ark. Where the nation of Israel went, the Ark was to go before them. As they sojourned in the wilderness, God also had them create a Tabernacle. Within the Tabernacle a small enclosure resided. It was called the Holy of Holies. Within the Holy of Holies the Ark rested. When the Israelites were on the move the Ark was removed and carried out front by the priests.
Fast forward to King David’s time. The Ark remained the most sacred item in the Israelite inventory. They honored it. They thanked God for it. They kept their eyes on it. Seeing the Ark, the Israelites saw the glory of God. There was confidence in its presence. So long as they kept their eyes on God, followed Him, obeyed Him, the glory remained. Turn their back however, and God’s warning would prevail. The glory would be removed. And so it happened. In their rebellion and disobedience they lost God’s blessing. In an encounter with one of their enemies—the Philistines—God allowed the Ark of the Covenant to be captured. Israel fell into dismay and disarray.
Dave became king. Unlike the previous king, Saul, Dave walked with God. His leadership produced victories and growth. Ultimately, during one of these victories, the Ark of the Covenant was returned (2 Samuel 6:12-15). Read the entire account and you will see that Dave was thrilled with the knowledge that the Ark could only have been restored by God’s power and favor. He knew the blessing had returned. He found the joy of the Lord knowing God found favor with him.
Dave understood that God is the most High King and no other king stands before Him. Dave knew that God is also the Master of the universe and therefore the Creator of all. God is the Creator of life and of joy. He uses the joy of His children as a way to show Himself to this world. So, David led a parade into the great city. Stripped down to his drawers, he danced before the Lord leading the Ark of the Covenant back to its proper place. It was a celebration. How could he not break forth with joy? His God, your God—if you know Christ Jesus—is good. Real good. David knew that anything and everything good, here and later, comes from the Lord. When His followers, then and now, find themselves in Him, their joy—His joy—shines to all the world.
That’s what I’m getting at. My dad, just goofing off, let God shine through him. In a moment of pure silliness his thoughts ran to God. It was like that with Dave. I don’t think he spent much time thinking over his actions. He just exploded with joy. He sang. He danced. With joy, he pointed people to God.
Telling people about the Savior isn’t that hard when all you have to do is let the joy of the Lord flow. It might not be natural for you and I…yet. But that’s okay. I’m thinking about it. Trying it. And reading this, now you’re thinking about it. So now let’s pray more about it. Wonder more about it. Talk more about it. Let’s try living more with it. I bet we can become ahappy-go-lucky Christian faster than we can become an accomplished Christian like Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. Let’s just unleash our joy.
The Apostle Pete wrote in his first letter, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8,9). Just a short bit later, he wrote, “Even angels long to look into these things.” Sweet beans, I say. Now that’s something worth getting excited about.