Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
When Paul wrote this he was sitting on death row, and he wasn’t sure of his own fate. Paul did not know if he was going to die physically, and with all of this uncertainty surrounding him, Paul still writes that we are to “rejoice in the Lord always.” It is the Lord Jesus who we can constantly rejoice in, all our forgiveness, the righteousness of God and the great hope of His coming. Paul had been in this situation before. He was no stranger to reverting to praise and worship. Paul was indeed saved from the mouth of the lion in this situation as he wrote to the Church at Philippi. He did not get put to death at this time in his life. Of a truth our God is mighty to save (see song below). You can learn more about the situational transformation that takes place through rejoicing and worship. There are many accounts in God’s Holy Word that speak to this power we hold in rejoicing. One such account is in Acts chapter 16 where Paul and Silas were in shackles and sang praises unto God (Acts 16:16-34). It is clear that this rejoicing in worship got things moving in the right direction. There is great insight into how to keep moving in victory from these details in the life of Paul.
Isaiah 61:3, “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”
These truths appear on the heels of Isaiah’s prophetic utterances concerning the setting free of the captives and the comforting of those who mourn (Isaiah 61:1 and 2). God gives us beauty for our ashes. In the east, ashes were used to show inward distresses on the outside (2 Samuel 13:9, Esther 4:1). We can rejoice in Him in all things because He will give us beauty for ashes. He will replace our mourning with gladness. God Himself will move in our lives to give us gladness like oil being poured on our heads in blessing. In all of this, these things are “the planting of the Lord.” This is how we will become unmoved, unshakable and unquenchable. We are the planting of the Lord, and as trees of righteousness we will grow and flourish. In the transformational praise we will grow, be made tall and remain fruitful. In this the Lord our God will be glorified by us. Let us praise Him together.