“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
The focus of Nehemiah 8:10b is normally on the Lord’s strength keeping us happy. After all, we have a command in this partial verse to not be grieved and are also told to be joyful.
However, if we dig into this verse we find more than just reliance upon God to make everything just and right in our world. Notice it doesn’t say our joy; it is the joy of the Lord that gives the Israelites strength.
The Israelites here are in the middle of repenting for their sins. Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Levite priests are absolving and instructing the Israelites of their guilt and shame. They were shown the law, they repented of their sins, and they went on to rejoice because they had understood the word of the Lord.
God’s joy is in the Israelites turning away from their sin. Their strength is rooted in God’s grace being extended to this generation instead of judgement. God’s Word was clear, it was explained, it was understood. God’s Word was taken to heart and lives were changed
So how do we apply this to our lives today, covered under the grace of Jesus?.
God’s joy comes from our repentant and contrite hearts when we turn away from sin. In giving all our cares, our struggles, our pain to Jesus we show our reliance on His joy for our strength. Our strength can be found in His grace, not in completing goals or in anything we do.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
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