The Strength of Joy

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

The people had returned from their years of Babylonian exile, and the work of rebuilding the Temple and the walls around Jerusalem was finished.  As they gathered in a courtyard near the Gihon spring, Ezra the priest began to read and teach from the word of God.  When the people heard God’s word, a strange thing happened.  Many began to weep.  It’s hard to know exactly why. Perhaps they were reminded of the sins that had resulted in the great Babylonian destruction.

My friends, I would imagine that there are things all around us that can give us cause for weeping.  Perhaps you’re in a health crisis.  Perhaps there’s tension in the family.  Maybe the future seems uncertain.

Let me remind you as Nehemiah did to the people.  Learning to find joy in the Lord is your best source of strength.  If you’re wondering how you could be joyful in days like this, it’s only because you’re ignoring the finished work all around you.  Jesus died for you.  Your sins are paid for. God is for you. God is good. Rejoice.