When I think of the word “holiness” I have to admit, it doesn’t usually include the word “joy”. There is an awe-inspiring connection to the holiness of God, and there should be. Everything about His character and the expression of it centers, around His divinity. Our God is a holy God. But what if there was more to it? God’s desire to see us consecrated and set apart is only part of the reason to see us holy as “He is holy”. God desires us. In Exodus 5:1, the exchange between Moses and Pharaoh is a plea to not only allow God’s children to depart from their misery of being slaves but to leave in order to celebrate the God they serve.
“Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”
God was raising up a deliverer in Moses so that He could celebrate with His children. He witnessed the suffering and His heart hurt for the people He meticulously created. As much as He wanted their consecration, He wanted to see them rejoicing. When Pharaoh finally gave the go-ahead to leave Egypt, God released a plan to meet with His people on a regular basis in the form of feasts. In today's culture, we would call it a party. An appointed time to celebrate the goodness of God and rest in His provision. Israel would wander for forty years and make many mistakes, but God still encouraged them to keep an appointment with holiness.
The Father calls us out of our wilderness wanderings. Those voyages into the unknown were never meant to be a long-distance relationship with our Lord. They were also not intended to hold us to an itinerary filled with drudgery. Although, life will present us with challenges, whether self-inflicted through choices or natural circumstances presenting themselves. How we respond to them will reveal where our heart is set upon. Are we delighting in the Holy One or commiserating with regret? The road less traveled is one met with joy leading us through rocky fields and muddy plains. Jesus said: “I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love. My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness!” John 15:9-11 (TPT)
Jesus is telling us that our joy is complete through the abiding relationship we have with the Father. Jesus lives in us and His own joy is being proclaimed through us. As holiness is revealed in separation from the things of the world, a holy joy is also represented. We might weep through the night, but joy is on its way. (Ps. 30:5) The same voice that called the children of Israel to celebrate, shouts to us today. In the middle of our mess, He calls us to experience His joy in ways that are contrary to the status quo. Delighting in the sacred leads us to a holy joy found only in His presence.