“And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:9-10 (ESV)
At this point in time, the Israelites were preparing to celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacles. Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Levites have been reading the Law to the people and interpreting it for them. What was the reaction of the people when they heard God’s Word? They wept.
Why do you think they wept after hearing that the day was holy to their Lord and God? Perhaps they had feelings of grief because of the sin in their lives and their inadequacies. Ezra and the Levites didn’t want the people to focus on their mourning of their own shortcomings. He tells them to eat and drink and to share with those who have nothing. He tells them to turn their weeping into joy.
Why should they be joyful? Because the joy of the Lord was their strength and that strength is still ours today,
What does the Scriptures tell us is our strength? The joy of the Lord. Let’s read some more about strength in Psalm 28:7.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. (ESV)
Let’s summarize what we’ve read in these two passages. Notice the emphasis on certain words.
- The joy of the Lord is our strength.
- The Lord is our strength.
- The Lord is my shield.
- My heart trusts, my heart exults and I give thanks to him.
Take time to open God’s Word and search for the phrase “my strength.” Meditate on each of the passages you find and how they affect your relationship with God.
Let’s pray for each other as we learn to surrender to God and rely on Him for spiritual joy and strength.
See you next time,