Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.…
I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THIS DUTY.
1. That Christians are pleased that God exists. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." Man in a state of nature dreads God. Naturally wishful of independence he dislikes the idea of one above him who can dispose of him according to His pleasure. But in Christians this enmity has been slain.
2. That they are pleased that He exists possessed of all Divine perfections. They could not rejoice in Him were it possible for Him to make a mistake or use any deception.
3. That they are pleased that He formed the most wise, just, and benevolent designs from eternity.
4. That they rejoice in His constant execution of His original designs. "The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice."
II. THE PROPRIETY OF THIS DUTY. No one questions the duty of rejoicing sometimes; but how always? Is there not a time to weep? Thousands of things are the proper objects of mourning. Yes; but the text says: "Rejoice in the Lord." In Him there is no ground for mourning. And even mourning over evil things admits of an element of joy, inasmuch as they are ever working out His plans. We mourn over our afflictions, yet we may rejoice in God, inasmuch as a patient may rejoice in the skill of the surgeon while he bewails the pain of amputation.
III. THE REASONS FOR THIS DUTY. We are to rejoice because —
1. God always knows what is best to do with all His creatures. He is the only wise God.
2. He is always immutably disposed to do what is best. As a father feels towards his children the Father of mercies feels towards His whole family. The fountain of all good is in its own nature a just cause of rejoicing apart from the thousand streams of goodness which flow from it.
3. He is absolutely able to do what is best. If there were a single case of inability it would wreck our confidence in Him.
4. If, then, He knows what is best, is disposed to do what is best, and able to do it, He certainly always will do it.Improvement:
1. To rejoice in God always is the most difficult duty Christians have to perform. It is easy to rejoice in favours; but how about trials.
2. To discharge this duty is to do what is most pleasing to God, implying as it does the purest faith, love, and obedience.
3. To do this is to do peculiar honour to religion. Mere selfishness will dispose men to rejoice when they receive good at the hand of God.
4. Those who obey this precept are the happiest men in the world. Men of the world are in some measure happy, but their rejoicing is often interrupted.
5. To neglect this precept is unwise, sinful, and injurious.
(N. Emmons, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.