“The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
This verse has new meaning to me lately and I hope it will be a new “mantra” for those of you reading this.
In Nehemiah 8 where this verse is found, a group of people somewhere near 50k were gathered to hear the Word (the Law of the Lord) as was the custom. Ezra stood on a platform so everyone could see him. There was a group of men around him to see that the Law was read correctly and another group to help the people understand what was being said (“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”).
It says when the people heard and understood the Law they wept. Something broke in them I think, and they wept while they listened and began to understand. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” When they heard the Word, they gained knowledge, understanding and wisdom that changed something in them.
Oh, that we would all have this experience!
Because it was a Holy Day they were told not to mourn, not to weep, not to be sad. “There’s no crying” in Holy Days!! They were sent away after the reading to celebrate because they now understood. “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” they were told.
I believe the joy of the Lord is the understanding of Him and His Words to us. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word, and with faith comes joy unspeakable and full of glory! To know Him is to love Him. How can we know Him without reading His Words to us and understanding His character, His grace, His eternal love and His holiness to which we are also called?
I pray today that the joy of the Lord becomes our strength and that we weep for a moment at the knowledge of our desperate need for Him, but rejoice in His answer of grace to our need and celebrate in the understanding of His Word that He lovingly gives us. I pray that we all take time each day to read to understand (not just to fill a quota or to tell ourselves we’re okay because we read today) His Word, let it sink in and let it transform our hearts and renew our minds. I pray that each of us going through something difficult lean on Him and His Word and pray for understanding that our joy may be complete and we may be strong in His grace. For it is sufficient!! Go in peace today and let the joy of the Lord truly be your strength.
(Taken from my Facebook page, Posted October, 2018)