Ever been in a situation where the leader of the meeting exhorted everyone, “Give a shout to the Lord!” and it just honestly felt awkward to do so?  So when I come to Psalm 100 and it tells us clearly to “shout for joy to the Lord” it makes me ponder, and think about basketball.

The basketball team in our area is one of the best in the nation.  Perhaps the very best.  (This was just recently validated by a major sports publication).  In the game there is connecting with the players and knowing their story, then the risk, the tension, the battle, the heroes, the foibles, and then…the victory!  When my mother and I see the victory on the screen, you don’t have to tell us to shout for joy.  After the tension of every game, it just comes!  Even moreso when we get the occasional gift of a ticket to see the game in person.  They don’t even have to do anything to get shouts of appreciation.  Their history is such that that when they walk into the arena, their very presence calls for shouts of encouragement, thanks and appreciation.  People shout until they are hoarse!

This is true throughout the world.  Ever heard a Brazilian around World Cup time?  Or even the self-conscious reserved Brits even let go a little bit when one of their own wins an Olympic medal?

Now come to the Christian life.  Is there risk?  Tension?  Battle?  Heroes?  Team?  Foibles?  Grace?  Loss?  Victory? I believe there can be all this, especially when we experience and go after the things of God together.  Remember when Peter and John were in prison and the church was earnestly praying?  You better believe they celebrated when Peter and John had a supernatural deliverance and came knocking at their door.  Rremember when Israel was surrounded by more than 100,000 enemies and Hezekiah prayed to the Lord for deliverance?  You better believe there was a celebration when they were mysteriously struck down.   Remember when the Egyptian army was bearing down on the Israelites and God parted the Red Sea?  There was such celebration that Moses had to tell the people to stop giving.

Joy is multiplied when it happens together.  Joy is multiplied when there is serious risk.  Joy is multiplied when there’s corporate victory in the most difficult of circumstances.  And all this comes from corporate obedience to the purposes of God.    It’s when a church is praying together earnestly for a property and by a miracle it comes through!  It’s with churches gathering across the country to pray and petition leaders that a certain bill be passed or not passed and seeing it come to fruition when the vote comes through.  It’s when people are trapped are in a natural disaster and a group labors against the clock and they free the man in the nick of time.  Celebration! You don’t have to remind people to celebrate.  It comes naturally

When we press in together for great things of God and see the impossible happen, that’s when shouts of joy come naturally.  And when we see our hero, God himself, come into the room, he never needs to do anything.  His track record alone makes us celebrate with joy when He comes into the house.

Israel had that.  Their hero had saved them out of so many impossible situations that when the Psalmist says, “Shout for joy!”  The main question is where are the trumpets and tambourines, because we want to dance.  Hallelujah!