They walk in the light of your presence, Lord!
Happy people know the shout for joy. "Blessed are they that know the joyful sound" is how the New King James Bible says it. I have known the song that says this for years, but I did not know that it meant more than enthusiastic singing. In the translation I use, the Common English Bible, it says, "celebratory shout". Happy are the people who know the celebratory shout.
I was wondering what this joyful sound was, that the psalmist had in mind. We might assume that he meant the sound of voices praising God. That seems like a good answer and that is what I assumed for these past 25 years. Thank God, for a newer translation, that tries to get closer to the original language's meaning.
The NIV Bible version has been pretty popular, and it says, in Psalm 89:15, "blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you". Even though I use the words, "blessed", and "blessings", in personal speech and correspondence; I'm not sure it works with a wider audience today, especially not with those outside our faith. I'm not sure that I use the word "acclaim" very often or that most people use it.
The ESV translators keep "blessed", but translate the NKJV's, "joyful sound" as "festal shout". I think that is a good translation that takes us where the Hebrew word teruah goes. By the way, I am not a Hebrew or Greek scholar and don't claim to be. I look these words up and see what the scholars or experts say.
Even more so than "blessed", we have to explain what "festal" means. That is a word I have never used and it is an example of why I do not use the ESV. Like the NASB, it tries to be literal, but uses words that most people don't use or know.
So, what is a celebratory shout, the joyful sound? Have you ever been to a sports game and heard what people do when their team scores? They yell and shout and hoop and holler. They jump up and down and wave their arms in the air.
Christians ought to be the most happy people around. What Christ has done is a much bigger deal than the points scored at a game. If you are a Christian and your songs are about Jesus and God and if that is what the speaker's sermons are about, why are there no shouts, no cheers?
Remember the song, "if you're happy and you know it"? In that song, we teach kids to use their voices and their bodies. Adults need that training too. The church should be the people with freedom of expression to shout for joy to God.
If you allow yourself the freedom to shout for joy, the next thing is that you might start bouncing a bit. Soon, you'll be jumping for joy. Then you'll twirl a bit. Next thing, you are just plain dancing for joy.
The church I am wanting to join is a church where we shout for joy at what Jesus has done. This is what believers did in the Bible, so why not today?