Angels Keep Rejoicing
What do you think causes angels to rejoice? While the only verses that speak specifically of angels rejoicing are found in Luke 15:7 and 10, we can extrapolate times of rejoicing by the wording and context of other passages, as well as implications from what we know about angels from Scripture.
First of all, the Luke 15 passage says that angels rejoice over the repentance of a sinner. Heaven is aware of our struggles down here, and watches with great interest—not just the drama of what happens to humans in this crazy world, but, more importantly, the unfolding revelation of the character and plans of God. Just think about it: before man sinned, God had not displayed His mercy, grace, and forgiveness in such amazing ways. His wisdom in how He worked out our salvation, His bravery as He stepped out of the courts of heaven to walk the earth and face the cross, His love as He reached out His hands to redeem those who were His enemies, and so many more amazing things about God are being revealed to the watching hosts of heaven. They marvel, and they rejoice to see a sinner respond to the good news that Jesus came to save them, and they turn from their sin to pursue God, His holiness, and fellowship with Him. It causes the angels to worship Him for what they see of His goodness to us.
Next, Luke 2:10-14 describes what the shepherds heard from the angels. The first angel gave them the good news of great joy. How do you tell joyful news? Do you say it in a complaining voice? Do you say it in a monotone or emotionless tone? Do you hate it when you have to give good and amazing news? No! (If you said yes, let’s talk later). When we
have get to tell good news, we generally do it eagerly, with a smile, and with a feeling of joy in our hearts, even when the good news is for someone other than ourselves. Knowing someone else gets to have joy presses our joy buttons, too, if we have a generous heart at all. So, when this angel and its accompanying hosts proclaimed the good news that the long-awaited Savior and Messiah had finally arrived and the promise of God was being fulfilled at last, it was done with praise and joy. It ties in with the rejoicing in chapter 15, because these sinners repenting are essentially responding to the good news of chapter 2. The Savior has come, and He is doing what He came for, saving souls, changing hearts, drawing sinners to their salvation—all this causes the angels in heaven to rejoice because they are seeing God’s will being done, His character being revealed and praised, and many souls joining the chorus of creatures acknowledging the many goodnesses of our great God.
How about us? What causes us to rejoice? What do we celebrate? Really, make a list right now. Now rank finding out someone has been saved. How does it measure with the other joys you’ve listed? What about the fact our Savior has come, has forgiven and set us free from sin, has wrapped us in His own righteousness, has drawn us into His presence, and has promised us eternal pleasures at His right hand—how high does that rank in your order of joys of your heart? Is it the supreme joy of your life? Why or why not? What IS at the top of your joy list, and should it be there?
Finally: Angels keep rejoicing. This wasn’t just the joy of a moment in time. They live in His presence and continually praise and worship Him. I seriously doubt their “Holy, holy, holy” is done in a monotone, dreary chant. 1 Chronicles 16:31 bids us, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns.’” When we praise Him, we are to rejoice and be glad. Praising Him is merely telling the wonderful truth about an unfathomably good God, and it should be done with a joyful heart.
If that seems out of keeping with how you really feel, let me encourage you to praise anyway. It isn’t a matter of “fake it till you make it.” It’s a matter of obedience, informing you mind and heart of what is true, entering His presence, and an act of trust; all of these work together to transform us from merely going through the motions to the point of awakening joy. Yes, rejoicing does give rise to praise, but praise also gives rise to rejoicing. If we join the angels and keep rejoicing in the salvation and goodness of God and who He is, soon we will see our own joy deepen, and our pleasure in praising Him grow.