I read somewhere that ‘In that day’ referred to ‘the now’ and ‘not yet’. Literally the Kingdom of God recognised as both in the present and the future. The prophet starts by prophesying what is yet to come through the cross. Though God was angry with us, with our sin, he put in place a salvation plan because he loved us so much. He deflected his anger onto his son Jesus which meant his anger could be turned from us. As soon as this is done, the first thing that rushes in is comfort.
God is my salvation, I am not my salvation. I am just asked to trust. It is by grace that I have been saved, not because of what I do, what I achieve, how good I am. When I trust in God’s grace, I will not be afraid, I will be comforted.
Those that trust will overflow with joy which shapes their lives. When it is not about us, about our circumstances and it is about God, then we can receive joy. Verse 3 suggests some action on our part. The water is limitless, the well is his, the bucket belongs to God, but we have to draw joy out of the well and drink. Jesus promised us whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14). It is like receiving a present all wrapped up. We have to actively unwrap the present before we can truly enjoy the present. Just so, we have to drink from the well of salvation.
When we recognise that God’s anger has been replaced by comfort, and fear has been replaced with joy that overflows, worship follows. The prophet encourages us to:
1. Proclaim what God has done through Jesus, and what he has yet to do. This proclamation is our witness. Recognising what Jesus has done for us, we must declare it to those who don’t yet have that joy we have received;
2. Sing what the Lord has done for you and;
3. Shout aloud for joy…when we are full of joy it overflows and when we are overflowing with emotion, we want to sing and shout!
From that reality of knowing we are saved, we need fear no more, transformed by comfort to joy. We are not living in human strength but in divine strength. It is God’s forgiveness that has given us this joy. We need no longer try to please God by our actions, in legalism and self-righteousness, because Jesus has already pleased God on our behalf. We have no need to try and control our circumstances, because God has all things, all people and all circumstances in his power. So, if you are feeling anxious today, remember to draw on that well of salvation and un-clog that fountain of joy that Jesus has promised us!