Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice!
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4
In Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi he strongly urges the people to rejoice. In fact, it’s nearly a command -- not only to rejoice but to rejoice in the Lord always…and then he says it again, rejoice! This brings up some questions for exploration: What did he mean by “in the Lord,” why did he add “always,” and why did he say “rejoice” again?
Rejoice in the Lord
We all have things in our lives that cause us to rejoice; perhaps a new car, spending time with a loved one, or a summer vacation and we all know these things are temporal. Paul knew this from experience, and he knew what it was like to have and to have not. He also knew that true joy only came from one thing -- Jesus Christ and His ultimate sacrifice. It was worth his imploring to the church that Christ is enough and in Him alone we should rejoice. He is unchanging, His atonement on the cross paid our debt, and will never leave us or forsake us. That’s more than reason enough to “Rejoice in the Lord.”
Rejoice in the Lord always
Here Paul is speaking from experience. He knew intimately what it was like to “rejoice in the Lord at ALL times.” He was, in fact, writing this letter during an imprisonment in Rome already one year into his two-year sentence. I imagine there were times in Paul’s life where he could have said, “Rejoice? Now? Did you see the beating I just took?” But he knew that rejoicing in the Lord was his sustenance; it carried him forward with the strength of the Lord.
Again I will say rejoice
When words or phrases were repeated in Jewish writings it was a method that created emphasis. God is described in Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8 as “Holy, Holy, Holy.” This affirms the thrice holiness of God, spoken by the living creatures around the throne, and it emphasized the awesome, set apart, holiness of the one true God. When Paul repeats himself in this passage he is saying “Rejoice in the Lord always! Hey, church I said, Rejoice in the Lord Always!!!” He repeated for emphasis, and that means we ought to heed these words.
May this time of waiting on the Lord be a time of rejoicing in the Lord…always. We have a comforting peace because Christ was sent to be a sacrifice so that we could once and for all have true peace with God. That and that alone should bring comfort, praise, and rejoicing!
Vero Bible Fellowship Elder Team