"The JOY of the Lord is your strength." ~Nehemiah 8:10
Wow, what a tremendous statement!
Notice, the Word does not say, knowledge, riches or luxuries, teaching, doctrine, or power. If Joy is our main source of strength, then we need to know exactly what it is.
Let us examine the original sacred Hebrew words.
(Where our English bible says joy or rejoice, the Hebrew text will say one of these words):
Simchah - exceeding joy related to God-appointed festivals
Sameach - to rejoice arrogantly or improperly (blithe)
Samach - to brighten up, cause to rejoice
Gil - Spin around under the influence of violent emotion, & to rejoice in (as) a cringing fear or emotion
Words and actions associated with or in conjunction with joy:
Teruah - festal shout, battle cry, alarm, clangor of shofars or instruments
Shir - to sing, stroll musically, from the root to behold, spy out, regard
Machol - dancing, round dancing, travail, bring forth, drive-away, tremble
Anah - To respond, testify, announce
While I am sure there are more secrets to joy than written in this article, let us explore the meaning of some of these root words!
(I have summarized & shortened the meaning for memory purposes.)
Festival Joy (Simchah): When this word was written about 2,500-4,000 years ago, the only God appointed festivals were the Feast Days mentioned in Leviticus 23. Interestingly, Yeshua, the 12 Apostles and all the early disciples celebrated these as well as adhered to the 7th day Sabbath. This went on for hundreds of years until Constantine changed it to Sunday and literally made them illegal. Could there be a secret lost joy in celebrating these feast days?
Arrogant Joy (Sameach)- This is very interesting, why does this word connote arrogant or improper? I believe the reason is because the world is run by satan. In the world's natural state, it is uncommon and even strange to rejoice (exceeding joy) throughout a normal day or during difficult situations. We have to choose joy even to the point where it seems prideful. We are to stand tall and confident in the glory of God, every day and every situation.
Brightened Joy (Samach)- In the Aaronic blessing we hear the words "cause your face to shine up me." This particular word, which is the main word for joy in the bible, denotes spending close time with Father God. Yes, the root of our joy stems from intimacy with Abba.
Violent Movement Joy (Gil)- Perhaps the most mystifying, to spin or cringe under the influence of violent emotion. The Shekinah (physical tangible presence) of God is alive today, those who've experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit act in different ways, a demonic deliverance, shouting, the receiving of languages, falling to the ground, deep peace and so much more. To have this particular facet of joy, we must experience the terrifying beautiful side of God, which emanates from a child of God's soul causing our very bodies to move. Accordingly, many occult practices have mimicked this very movement, you will see it in Turkish Sufi dancing and those who practice witchcraft, of course it is a counterfeit, but the understanding of whirling or spinning under the influence of something powerful, bears weight in and of itself.
Now, the actions of Joy.
The Battlecry (teruah): It is wonderful to think that because God is sovereign and stands alone, we are to literally shout into the atmosphere as He merits this type of clamor! While singing and music are common, there is a powerful and triumphant yell we are to make due to God's greatness. When we are obedient, the joy follows. We must remember as well, that the receiving and manifestation of joy, may at first be a battle.
Beheld Singing & Music (shir): We are all familiar with singing and music, but in the Jewish culture, singing was often accompanied by strolling. When the Israelites went to battle, the singers and musicians often walked along with them. Further, when the temporary temple was moved or during a festival, it was a common practice to sing while walking, giving it more of a natural yet playful nature. The conjunctive meaning with this word is to behold or spy out, this implies that our singing and music should come from avidly seeking God out or after experiencing Him in awe.
Travail Dancing (machol): Machol is close to the word travail meaning laborious or painful effort, or whirling about, to drive away or to bear forth. This seems to have multiple meanings. The Holy Spirit while will cause us to move passionately in this way. Also causing us to literally birth things first in the spirit, and then in the natural. Further, the power which comes from Him, allows us to drive out evil. As Yeshua (Jesus) calls us His bride, He takes over us just like a husband takes over His Bride during intimacy. It would only make sense that the touch of God's Spirit would cause us to move in this way.
The Apt Reply (anah): This is arguable the most pivotal action of joy. The wisest King who ever lived tells us "a man shall have joy by his apt reply" Proverbs 15:23. That means that joy is a response, a choice, an answer and even a defense. The enemy's attack almost always starts with words 'satan' means the slanderer. And we must give an apt, timely, quick and appropriate response before the words, or curse take root. The other part of this word is testify and announce, we are to remember the works God has done, and declare as God's heirs, what the real truth is.
"Blessed are those who know the festal shout, who walk, oh Lord in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day." Psalm 89:15-16
"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice!."
Shalom & blessings brothers and sisters of God.
By: Julie Ann Espinoza
Biblehub.com (strongs number, Hebrew word & definitions)