REJOICE—THE LORD IS KING!
Charles Wesley, 1707–1788
After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3)
This text by Charles Wesley is another of the more than 6,500 hymns written by the “Sweet Bard of Methodism.” Wesley wrote on hundreds of scriptural passages as well as on every conceivable phase of Christian experience and doctrine. This text was developed by Wesley to encourage his followers to have a more spontaneous joy in their lives as they became aware that Christ reigns victorious in heaven. It was based on the apostle Paul’s instruction to the Christians at Philippi:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
It is important to remember that this instruction was written while Paul was a prisoner of Emperor Nero in Rome. The teaching of the entire Philippian letter is that it is possible to be a victor in life—regardless of the circumstances—when our faith is in an ascended, reigning Lord. There are twelve references to rejoicing in this one short book.
“Rejoice—the Lord is King!” first appeared in John Wesley’s Moral and Sacred Poems in 1744, and two years later in Charles Wesley’s collection, Hymns for our Lord’s Resurrection.
Rejoice—the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore! Rejoice, give thanks, and sing and triumph evermore! Lift up your heart, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
Jesus the Savior reigns, the God of truth and love; when He had purged our stains He took His seat above: Lift up your heart, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
His kingdom cannot fail—He rules o’er earth and heav’n; the keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n: Lift up your heart, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
He all His foes shall quell, shall all our sins destroy; and every bosom swell with pure seraphic joy: Lift up your heart, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
Rejoice in glorious hope! Our Lord the Judge shall come and take His servants up to their eternal home: Lift up your heart, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
For Today: Philippians 4:4–9; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 2:9
“Rejoice in the Lord always” is easy to quote but difficult to practice. Yet we must remember that this attitude of joy is not an option for the Christian but a scriptural command—the result of an intimate relationship with our reigning Lord. Carry this musical reminder as a help—