I think it’s safe to say that the psalmist who wrote Psalm 43 was having a bad day.
Why have you rejected me?
Why do I go about mourning?
Why are you cast down O my soul?
If ever there was encouragement for letting it all out to God, it’s in the Psalms. No false piety here.
Psalm 43 is filled with genuine anguish. The psalmist sings prayer raw.
But right in the middle of Psalm 43, right in the center of all that pain, is a nugget of gold. A name of God:
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy
– Psalm 43:4
God My Exceeding Joy. El Simchah Giyl.
The Hebrew words simchah and giyl can both be translated as joy… this name of God is almost like saying God my joyful joy. A double portion of joy!
Exceeding joy. This can be said of no other joy. All other beauties have their boundaries, all other glories have their glooms. This is that illimitable sea, God.
– E. Paxton Hood.
And it couldn’t have been a better place for this uplifting name of God to appear.
God My Exceeding Joy is right there in the middle of suffering and pain. In the middle of the bad day, in the middle of a tragedy. His joy is not dependent on circumstance.
I have not yet discovered a name of God that can be translated “God Who Makes Everything Go the Way I Want So That I Am Happy.” Happiness is dependent on our circumstances.
In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
– Philippians 4:12-13
Who strengthens me with His joy…
…the joy of the LORD is your strength.
– Nehemiah 8:10b
And God My Exceeding Joy doesn’t just give joy. He is our joy.
Note the holy rapture with which David regards his Lord! He is not his joy alone, but his exceeding joy; not the fountain of joy, the giver of joy, or the maintainer of joy, but that joy itself.
– Charles Spurgeon
no matter my circumstances.
El Simchah Giyl. God My Exceeding Joy.
Have you experienced the joy of the Lord during a time of suffering? If you are facing a trial in your life today, may we pray for you? Please share in the comments.