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What Is Joy? (Esther 8:15-17)

Introductory Thoughts

Words always have associative properties with other words; the word joy is no exception. When considering a definition of joy, many people would assume it is being happy or happiness in general.  However, the Bible does not associate joy primarily with being happy. God provided another word to enable the Bible student to define the word joy. In each of the three verses in our passage, the scripture makes reference to joy, either indirectly: rejoiced (Esther 8:15) or directly (Esther 8:16, 17). A careful consideration will identify that joy is associated with the words glad (Esther 8:15) and gladness (Esther 8:16, 17). This connection is consistent throughout the Bible (Psalm 51:8; Psalm 105:43; Isaiah 16:10) and is specifically connected to gladness of heart (Deuteronomy 28:47; 1 Kings 8:66; Esther 5:9).

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): Name some things that make you glad. We feel gladness in our hearts when we do something good for others and when we obey the rules set down by those in authority. How do you feel when you disobey?.
  • (For everyone): What kind of terms could be used to describe you: sorrowful or joyful? Do others find joy in spending time with you or do they become increasingly sorrowful as time continues?
  • Would you say that you have gladness of heart? If not, why? What are the things or situations that hinder you from knowing the joy of the Lord?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask God to show you the condition of your heart.
  • Ask the Lord to help you experience lasting joy.