Joy in the Mourning!

Vindicate me, O God! Fight for me against an ungodly nation! Deliver me from deceitful and evil men! For you are the God who shelters me. Why do you reject me? Why must I walk around mourning because my enemies oppress me? Reveal your light and your faithfulness! They will lead me, they will escort me back to your holy hill, and to the place where you live. Then I will go to the altar of God, to the God who gives me ecstatic joy, so that I express my thanks to you, O God, my God, with a harp. Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention.  (Psalm 43:1–5 NET) 
Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy. (Proverbs 12:25 NET)

Before we perform an exegesis (2) of Proverbs 12:25, allow me to review some background information with you that is important for better insights into this text. The Hebrew words used in this passage refer to the spiritual heart and not the physical blood pump.  The spiritual heart (1) is the interface between the soul and the spirit of a person. When the soul and spirit are rightly divided by the Word of God, then we discover the spiritual heart of man.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NET)

Furthermore, the spiritual heart is the soil (1) or incubator of our thoughts and intents (motives) and is what science calls the subconscious mind (Mark 4:15).  It is the hidden person, inner man, or real you (1 Peter 3:4).  You can fool people with your soul (i.e., by donning the proverbial mask), but your spiritual heart reflects who you are in reality.

As in water the face is reflected as a face, so a person’s heart reflects the person. (Proverbs 27:19 NET)

Remember, God looks at the spiritual heart because it is the real you. (1 Samuel 16:7. John 2:24,25).

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t be impressed by his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NET)
The Lord watches from heaven; he sees all people. From the place where he lives he looks carefully at all the earth’s inhabitants. He is the one who forms every human heart, and takes note of all their actions. (Psalm 33:13–15 NET)
All a person’s ways seem right in his own opinion, but the Lord evaluates the motives. (Proverbs 16:2 NET)
But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people. He did not need anyone to testify about man, for he knew what was in man. (John 2:24–25 NET)

Man’s heart is affected by what we give attention to with the soul (Proverbs 23:7. Matthew 6:21).  The soul of man is the center of our mind (i.e., our intellect and reasoning ability), emotions, and will.  The words that we say from our soul, via our body, go into our spiritual heart for good or for bad (James 1:26).  Furthermore, whatever you think about in our soul is stored or treasured in our spiritual hearts (Matthew 12:34).  When these thoughts become predominant in our spiritual hearts, then our behavior changes.  These dominant thoughts then manifest themselves as our intents or motives.

Spirit, Soul, and Body

Play the video above to see a graphical presentation of our Spirit, Soul, and Body dynamics, including the spiritual heart.

With the background understanding of spiritual, soul, and body, we can now perform an exegesis of the text of Proverbs 12:25. (3)

Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy. (Proverbs 12:25 NET)

Question: How does anxiety enter the spiritual heart of a person?
Answer: By a person routinely thinking anxious thoughts with their mind! (Recall, the mind is part of the soul).

Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy. (Proverbs 12:25 NET)

Anxiety or anxious fear in a person’s spiritual heart causes it to bow down under that heavy burden leading to depression. Note the Bible describes anxiety leading to depression (a manic-depression cycle) somewhere between the years 950 B.C. to 700 B.C when the book of Proverbs was authored.

A joyful heart makes the face cheerful, but by a painful heart the spirit is broken. (Proverbs 15:13 NET)
A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. (Proverbs 15:13 ESV)

Anxiety in a person’s heart, if not removed, will eventually break or crush the connection, communication path, or conduit between the individual’s spirit and spiritual heart. Recall, the spirit is where the Holy Spirit (1) tabernacles or dwells within a Christian (1 Corinthians 3:16;6:19). The breaking or crushing of this connection will effectively cut off the Christian from the life-giving benefits of the Holy Spirit, who is the wellspring of life (i.e., living waters) (John 7:37-39). Consequently, we must guard our spiritual hearts at all times to ensure the Holy Spirit has unfettered access to fill our spiritual hearts with “His living water” (John 4:10,11,13,14)

My child, pay attention to my words; listen attentively to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight, guard them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and healing to one’s entire body. Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it are the sources of life. Remove perverse speech from your mouth; keep devious talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look directly in front of you and let your gaze look straight before you. Make the path for your feet level, so that all your ways may be established. Do not turn to the right or to the left; turn yourself away from evil. (Proverbs 4:20–27 NET)

By the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), King Soloman admonished us to guard our spiritual hearts with all diligence due to its pronounced effect upon our lives.

All the days of the afflicted are bad, but one with a cheerful heart has a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15 NET)
For my life nears its end in pain; my years draw to a close as I groan. My strength fails me because of my sin, and my bones become brittle. (Psalm 31:10 NET)
A cheerful heart brings good healing, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22 NET)

A crushed or broken spirit will then have a direct effect on the health of our physical body. It will cause the drying up of the source of blood production in the body, which is located within the marrow of our bones.

“ ‘Any man from the house of Israel or from the foreigners who reside in their midst who eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats the blood, and I will cut him off from the midst of his people, for the life of every living thing is in the blood. So I myself have assigned it to you on the altar to make atonement for your lives, for the blood makes atonement by means of the life. (Leviticus 17:10–11 NET)(cf. Genesis 9:4. Deuteronomy 12:23)

Note that through our bones, via the blood, our spirit brings the living waters of the life (Gr, zōḗ) of God to our bodies.

The good person out of the good treasury of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasury produces evil, for his mouth speaks from what fills his heart. (Luke 6:45 NET)
Offspring of vipers! How are you able to say anything good, since you are evil? For the mouth speaks from what fills the heart. The good person brings good things out of his good treasury, and the evil person brings evil things out of his evil treasury. I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34–37 NET)
For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13 NET)

Furthermore, what is in our spiritual heart affects what we say and what we say affects our spiritual heart! That is, this is a feedback loop!

If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile. Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:26–27 NET)
When words abound, transgression is inevitable, but the one who restrains his words is wise. (Proverbs 10:19 NET)
The one who guards his words guards his life, but whoever is talkative will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3 NET)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love its use will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21 NET)
From the fruit of his speech a person eats good things, but the faithless desire the fruit of violence. (Proverbs 13:2 NET)
So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence—and is set on fire by hell. For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s image. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water. (James 3:5–12 NET)

We have seen that failing to eliminate anxious thoughts in the mind of our souls will result in deleterious effects on our spiritual hearts. This will result in adverse effects on our souls (e.g., depression) and physical bodies (e.g., blood efficacy reduction). Furthermore, we reinforce this cyclic process for good or for evil by what we are saying with our mouths from our spiritual hearts.

Now that is something to mourn!

However, God can tame our tongues by our choosing to store His word in our spiritual hearts! Remember, the Holy Spirit warns us not to say things that are judging and prompts us to speak words full of grace, mercy, and compassion. That is, the Holy Spirit provides a feedforward loop!

The one who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his life from troubles. (Proverbs 21:23 NET)
I decided, “I will watch what I say and make sure I do not sin with my tongue. I will put a muzzle over my mouth while in the presence of an evil man.” (Psalm 39:1 NET)
O Lord, place a guard on my mouth! Protect the opening of my lips! (Psalm 141:3 NET)
The intentions of the heart belong to a man, but the answer of the tongue comes from the Lord. (Proverbs 16:1 NET)
I want to do what pleases you, my God. Your law dominates my thoughts.” (Psalm 40:8 NET)
In my heart I store up your words, so I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
The godly speak wise words and promote justice. The law of their God controls their thinking; their feet do not slip. (Psalm 37:30–31 NET)
Do you want to really live? Would you love to live a long, happy life? Then make sure you don’t speak evil words or use deceptive speech! (Psalm 34:12–13 NET)

Question: What are Christians commanded to do when tempted with anxious thoughts so this self-destructive anxiety cycle is interrupted?

No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NET)
For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards,for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3–5 NET)
Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 4:6–7 NET)
Throw your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you. He will never allow the godly to be upended. (Psalm 55:22 NET)
And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty handby casting all your cares on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6,7 NET)
The Lord supports all who fall, and lifts up all who are bent over. (Psalm 145:14 NET)
The Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord lifts up all who are bent over. The Lord loves the godly. (Psalm 146:8 NET)

Answer: We are commanded to take every thought captive to obey Christ and then in prayer to discuss with God our Father the situation, and its cares, that are tempting us to be anxious.

Note that we are not just commanded to stop worrying but are given an “instead,” which is a significant point! The reason is we cannot simply stop thinking about something very long by sheer willpower alone. Recall, as a child, when you were told not to do something, and that became the very thing you wanted most to do! Rules have a way of empowering the same thing we are forbidden to do (Romans 7:15-19 . 1 Corinthians 15:56 b).

Question: How do you take thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ?

Answer: The way Jesus did when tempted (1) by Satan. To do that, you must learn the scriptures (1) by “spiritual heart” and depend on the Holy Spirit to cause you to remember the specific one(s) you need to use during the temptation (2 Timothy 1:14. Luke 12:11,12)).

Question: What should we be thinking about all the time to minimize anxiety?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8–9 NET)

Answer: Thinking only on things that are:

  1. True (i.e., having the character of truth)
  2. Worthy of Respect (i.e., worthy of reverence)
  3. Just (i.e., righteous)
  4. Pure
  5. Lovely
  6. Commendable (i.e., attractive)
  7. Excellent
  8. Praiseworthy

Indeed, the Word of God satisfies not just one but all eight of the above criteria!

“Reconcile yourself with God, and be at peace with him; in this way your prosperity will be good. Accept instruction from his mouth and store up his words in your heart. (Job 22:21,22 NET)
In my heart I store up your words, so I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 NET)
Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17 NET)
For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope. (Romans 15:4 NET)
Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy,complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. (Philippians 2:1,2 NET)
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria experienced peace and thus was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, the church increased in numbers. (Acts 9:31 NET)

If we spend time meditating on God’s word (1), which is Truth, then our spiritual hearts will be encouraged by the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit!

Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy. (Proverbs 12:25 NET)

This encouragement by the Holy Spirit, via the Word of God, will bring joy to the soul (mind, will, and emotions). The soul will then communicate that joy to the spiritual heart resulting in the Holy Spirit, who dwells within our reborn spirit, to grow His fruit of Joy (1) in our spiritual heart!

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction. (1 Thessalonians 1:6 NET)
For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17 NET)

Realize that joy is not the same as happiness, a product of emotions, but rather a spiritual quality that results in us being strong in the Lord.

He said to them, “Go and eat delicacies and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10 NET)
How blessed are the people who worship you! O Lord, they experience your favor. They rejoice in your name all day long, and are vindicated by your justice. For you give them splendor and strength. By your favor we are victorious. (Psalm 89:15–17 NET)
The Lord gives his people strength; the Lord grants his people security. (Psalm 29:11 NET)

This joy in our spiritual heart will become God’s medicine for our soul and body! (Mark 10:18)

A joyful heart makes the face cheerful, but by a painful heart the spirit is broken. (Proverbs 15:13 NET)
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones. (Proverbs 15:30 ESV)
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)

Not just a spoonful of medicine, but rather a continual supply! (1)

All the days of the afflicted are bad, but one with a cheerful heart has a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15 NET)
You prepare a feast before me in plain sight of my enemies. You refresh my head with oil; my cup is completely full. (Psalm 23:5 NET)
That is how you find “joy in the mourning!”
A joyful heart makes the face cheerful, but by a painful heart the spirit is broken. The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on folly. All the days of the afflicted are bad, but one with a cheerful heart has a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:13–15 NET)

Furthermore, the discerning heart seeks knowledge to discover and remain in His joy (1). How can you have a discerning heart?

We are to seek the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ in:
If I had not found encouragement in your law, I would have died in my sorrow. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have revived me. (Psalm 119:92–93 NET)
I claim your rules as my permanent possession, for they give me joy. (Psalm 119:111 NET)
As your words came to me I drank them in, and they filled my heart with joy and happiness because I belong to you. (Jeremiah 15:16 NET)
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. (John 15:4 NET)
If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete. (John 15:11 NET)
At that time you will ask me nothing. I tell you the solemn truth, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive it, so that your joy may be complete. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive it, so that your joy may be complete. (John 16:23,24 NET)
When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you— ...But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so they may experience my joy completed in themselves. (John 17:1,13 NET)
We wait for the Lord; he is our deliverer and shield. For our hearts rejoice in him, for we trust in his holy name. May we experience your faithfulness, O Lord, for we wait for you. (Psalm 33:20–22 NET)
Then Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. Now during the blessing he departed and was taken up into heaven. So they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,and were continually in the temple courts blessing God. (Luke 24:50–53 NET)
You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight. (Psalm 16:11 NET)
The godly bask in the light; the morally upright experience joy. You godly ones, rejoice in the Lord! Give thanks to his holy name. (Psalm 97:11–12)
You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, because you are attaining the goal of your faith—the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8,9 NET)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16,17 NET)
His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:21 NET)
Then the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!”So he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Look, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and on the full force of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names stand written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17–20 NET)

The Gospel According to Matthew Movie  (4)

Perhaps your mental picture of Jesus is not one of a joyful person? Did you know that Jesus has more joy than any other being? There is a joy, a fullness of joy, in the Lord Jesus Christ that cannot be obtained anywhere else!

but of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. So God, your God, has anointed you over your companions with the oil of rejoicing.” (Hebrews 1:8,9 NET)(cf. Psalms 45:7)
Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names stand written in heaven.” On that same occasion Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will. (Luke 10:20–21 NET)
I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent. (Luke 15:7 NET)
In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10 NET)

Question: Who is in the presence of God’s Angels that are so joyful?
Answer: God the Father and God the Son! Both of whom are full of joy over each person that is born again into the Kingdom of God! Hallelujah! (Acts 7:55,56. Revelation 5:1-12)

I tell you the solemn truth, you will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice; you will be sad, but your sadness will turn into joy. When a woman gives birth, she has distress because her time has come, but when her child is born, she no longer remembers the suffering because of her joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. (John 16:20–22 NET)
But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so they may experience my joy completed in themselves. (John 17:13 NET)
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction. (1 Thessalonians 1:6 NET)

Do you know the one who is the source of this joy? That is, can you call Jesus “My Joy?”

Simchati (1) – My Joy (Psalm 4:7,8. Psalm 105:43. Nehemiah 8:9,10)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): 1 Peter 1:8)

If you do not personally know the Lord Jesus Christ or are not sure you know Him, you can discover how to know Him even now by clicking here. (1)

Taste and see that the Lord is good! How blessed is the one who takes shelter in him! (Psalm 34:8 NET)
What we have seen and heard we announce to you too, so that you may have fellowship with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). Thus we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:3,4 NET)
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NET)
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. (Psalm 131:2 ESV)
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say: “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wants it take the water of life free of charge. (Revelation 22:17 NET)
Joy Series:

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

(1) Select the link to open another article with additional information in a new tab.

(2) exegesis, exegete, exegetical. The process of determining the meaning of a text (or the result of this process), normally in terms of “who said what to whom under what circumstances and with what intent,” is called exegesis. A correct exegesis is indispensable before a passage can be translated correctly. Exegetes are men who devote their labors to exegesis. Exegetical refers to exegesis.

 Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1973). A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Romans (p. 306). New York: United Bible Societies.

(3) For additional insights about the Spiritual Heart, see: “The Comfort of God’s Word” by Peter Horrobin, Seeds of the Kingdom, Ellel Ministries International

(4) Bruce Marchiano is an actor, author, and international speaker best known for his portrayal of Jesus as a man of joy and passion in the film The Gospel According to Matthew:  

  • Actors: Richard Kiley, Bruce Marchiano, Gerrit Schoonhoven, Dawid Minnaar, Kevin Smith
  • Directors: Regardt van den Bergh
  • Writers: Johann Potgieter
  • Producers: Carole Prentice, Charles K. Robertson, Chuck Bush, Ed Lopatin, Frank C. Schroeder

Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.  DOULOS HAL'S TOPICAL INDEX

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