Blessed are you, O Lord, who is my exceeding joy.

Send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
~Psalm 43:3-4

In the middle of Psalm 43 are these verses that form a prayer.  They are a plea for light and truth as well as for return to God from a place of exile. The Psalmist may be speaking of having been carried miles away by Israel’s enemies, but I find myself tempted to be carried away by my emotions.  There is an enemy of our soul seeking to separate us from experiencing the joy of God’s salvation.  When there is any kind of distance from God, there is a urgency to return to worship the Lord, who is our exceeding joy.

In the person of Jesus, light and truth come to us and lead us toward lives of holiness and wholeness. Notice what happens in this exchange between Jesus and one of the ten lepers.

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” ~Luke 17:11-18

The light of God’s favor and the truth of promised healing led the Samaritan leper to return to Jesus, saved and strengthened. The words that the prophet Isaiah spoke on behalf of the Lord God, the holy One of Israel echo through the leper’s story. “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15).

Like the Psalmist, and the leper, may we find ourselves returning to God’s holy hill and resting at the altar of God.  And may we encounter great and exceeding joy.

Blessed are you, O Lord, who is my exceeding joy.

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