You have multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before you according to the joy in harvest…
I. THE FACT OF THEIR JOY. "They joy." Who? Those who, embracing the light of the Gospel, and renouncing the hidden works of darkness, are made the children of the light and of the day.
1. It is Divine in its nature. The joy of the men of the world, however diversified it may be, has its spring and source in the world. The joy of the ambitious has its rise in the pride of the world. The joy of the miser has its spring in the riches of the world. The joy of the sensualist is derived from the pleasures of the world. But believers are taught better.
2. It is extensive in its grounds. God — their Christian privileges — their Christian principles — their Christian prospects,
3. Salutary in its effects. Its tendency is good.
II. THE PECULIARITY OF THEIR JOY. "Before Thee." This is an expressive term and intimates several things.
1. It is spiritual It is a joyful state of mind, connected with that Divine Being who is a Spirit. Every exercise of the mind that unites us to Him must be spiritual.
2. It is sincere. The Christian's joy is real, not imaginary. It will bear inspection.
3. It is secret. As the world knows not the extent of our sorrows, so it is unacquainted with the abundance of our joys.
III. THE RESEMBLANCE OF THEIR JOY. To what may it be likened? The sacred writers have used various similitudes. It may be compared to the joy of the captive, released from bondage; to the joy of a patient, after his recovery from a severe illness; to the joy of a mariner, after a storm. Two figures are here employed to set forth the Christian's joy —
1. The husbandman in the field of harvest. "According to the joy of harvest."
(1) It is a joy that results from labour.
(2) Connected with anxiety.
(3) Requires patience.
2. The soldier in the field of battle.Conclusion — This subject gives as a view of two things with regard to Christianity.
1. Its requirements. It is no easy thing. There is much to be done and suffered.
2. Its rewards. These are inestimable. Present and future — exceeding description and baffling conception.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.