Daily Bible Reading Reflections

Searching for Gladness

Psalm 122 begins with those famous words, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!'”

Not everybody in the Bible talked like that.

“I was glad when…”

Amos 8 describes some who were making money by “trampling” on the poor. “When will the new moon be over,” they anxiously ask, “that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances?” They would be glad when the religious stuff was over and they could get back to business. The real satisfaction would be found in money (or so they thought), even if it meant taking advantage of others.

“I was glad when…”

Malachi 1 describes priests who, even as they offered token sacrifices to God, would say, “What a weariness this is.” Sure, they were checking the ceremonial boxes, but with blind, lame, and sick animals, snorting as they did so. Why? With hearts far from God, they would be glad when they had met their “obligations” to give an empty nod in his direction, now free to move on to the more important things. The real satisfaction would be found in exercising their own power and basking in their own prestige (or so they thought), even if it meant hypocritically despising the name of the LORD.

“I was glad when…”

Proverbs 7 describes a temptress who seduces a naive young man. “I had to offer sacrifices,” she whispers, “and today I have paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.” She is glad to have jumped through whatever ritualistic hoops she believes will have emptied her sin bucket and now she is anxious to plunge right back into immorality. The real satisfaction will be found in unbridled, self-centered pleasure (or so she thinks, and invites that young man to think along with her).

“I was glad when…”

The packaging changes as human history rolls on, but the same mirages will be chased by millions upon millions this week as they search for gladness in money, power, and pleasure, coming up empty over and over again.

Psalm 122 is a gentle nudge on this first day of the week in a different direction. A better direction. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!'” Not everybody around you will talk like that today, but life is more than money, and the body more than pleasure. The ancient, well-worn paths of our Creator still lead to real life. In his presence there is real joy. At his right hand are real pleasures. Forevermore.

May your restless heart find gladness today in an assembly of God’s people. May we drink deeply together from the fount of every blessing and be filled with the perspective, hope, and peace we need for the week ahead.

“I was glad.” Happy Lord’s day!