Radiant With Joy

I was reading Psalms 34 with the boys tonight. We are beginning to memorize portions of Scripture together in our Bible study time, so I was going over this section with them, making sure they understood it, before we begin memorizing it. Verse 5 really struck me, “Those who look to him (the Lord) for help with be radiant with joy. No shadow of shame will darken their faces.”

Radiant with Joy! What a poetic thought. One of the kids wanted to know what radiant meant, and that got me to thinking about all that this simple phrase implies. The dictionary defines radiant as, “sending out light; shining or glowing brightly.” If I am radiant with joy it would follow that I exude joy. I shine or glow with joy! When I look to the Lord for help, a by product of that trust, is radiant joy. Radiant joy is not the kind of joy that I can keep to myself…it spills out of me, and brings glory to God.

No shadow of shame…that too is a beautifully poetic statement. When my hope is in God, I am not only radiant with joy, but also free of shame–which in my situation is a great consolation. But I have to wonder, why no shadow of shame? What about joyful trust, preserves me from shame?  A parallel passage to this verse e from the “book of joy”, Paul’s letter to the Philippians, offers an answer to that question. Paul said in chapter one that no matter what happened he was rejoicing that God’s Word was being proclaimed. He was looking to God for help and finding himself radiant with joy! Furthermore, Paul added, that, “in nothing I shall be ashamed…but that in all things Christ will be magnified in my body!” (vs. 20) The opposite of being ashamed according to our standard definition would be maintaining one’s pride, or dignity.  Thus I might be tempted to think that as I hope in God I will maintain my dignity. But a biblical contrast is made between being ashamed and Christ being magnified in me. As a believer, the opposite of being ashamed, is being a vessel for Christ’s glory to radiate from, and that is exactly what I become when I joyfully trust Him. No shadow of shame….but rather radiant joy.

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