Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.
Heathenism knows nothing of the gladness described in oar text, But in this life every man may sing for joy of heart.
1. God makes His servants sing for joy of heart. There was once a famous musician who could bring out the most charming music from one string of a violin. Like that violin, many of us have only one string, and that a cracked one; but our God can make it sound forth perfect praise.
2. You may recognize a servant of God by his joyous face. We do not see many joyous faces, except in little children; and only then at odd times. The human race is born to trouble; but God can turn our sorrow into joy. How pleasant to look on a glad and joyous face I Nightingales do not often come so far north as Manchester; but last year one of those birds built its nest outside our city, and dozens of people went out to hear the sweet singer of the night. Letters were written to the newspapers about it, and everybody thought it a remarkable thing. How sweet it was to hear the warble of that bird in the darkness of the night! If the nightingale sang in the day-time, we might not notice it any more than the melody of the lark or the music of the wren; it is delightsome to us because it is a song in the night. Likewise, a joyous face and joyous words are equally remarkable. In this world of dark doubts and fears, let the singing of the joy in your heart be seen in your face and heard in your words.
3. The servants of God are also known by their joyous disposition. Live temperately, be home in good time every evening, rise early; and the joyousness of life shall enter your heart.
4. The servants of God have the joy of knowing Him.
5. There is the joy of pardon.
6. There is the joy of salvation.
7. We have also the joy of faith. How blessed to be able to trust God's care! In the long roads of the East, where people have to travel wearily on foot for many miles, it is the custom of kindly-hearted people to put on the road-side a pitcher of water, so that the thirsty traveller may freely drink. Likewise, God puts blessings and comforts for us on our pathway; and such tokens of His goodness cause us to sing for joy.
8. We have the joy of His presence. One day, when the Grecian army was near the enemy's camp, Alexander the Great slept very peacefully; and when he awoke, one of his friends said — "Alexander, how is it you slept so well?" The king replied, "Slept so well? Of course I can sleep well. Does not Parmenio watch?" Does not God watch over you?
9. There is the joy of His promises. Lord Chatham one day promised his son that when the garden wall was pulled down, he should be present to see it fall. But forgetting has promise, he gave orders for the wall to be taken down in the absence of his son. He remembered it the next day, and at once ordered it to be rebuilt, in order that the promise might be kept. But God never forgets His promise.
10. There is the joy of the future. You may ask, "Is there any joy in death? Yes! One day, a sculptor was near death; pain shot through his frame; and when his wife's tears dropped on his face, he said, "My dear, have patience; this pain is only the chiselling!" So, when death comes to you, you shall have the joy of knowing that your pain is God's kindly hand dealing very gently with you.
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.