The past few days the Lord has been speaking to me about joy. One of the scriptures that came to mind is Nehemiah 8:10. After Nehemiah tells the people to celebrate, he tells them why: “For the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
When I was raising my children I often begged God for strength to make it through each day. I knew how to rely on God, but I didn’t know how to enjoy Him. I interpreted scriptures about joy to mean that I needed to be thankful and praise God, even when I did not feel like it. While I do believe in offering God sacrifices of praise, Nehemiah 8:10 speaks to me more about relationship than duty.
The defining word for me was the little word “of”
The passage says the joy of the Lord, not joy in the Lord. That means it’s His joy that gives me strength. It’s one thing to know that the Lord fights our battles, but it is quite another to know that He delights in us and rejoices over us. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God rejoices over us with gladness, quiets us with His love, and even sings over us. That’s not just visitation; that’s intimacy!
Hebrews says that Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was before Him. That joy is us. Jesus suffered and died, not because He had to, but because He loved us.
It’s the Lord’s joy for me that strengthens me and gives me joy-joy found only in relationship with Him.
Verse 9 of the eighth chapter of Nehemiah says that the people wept when the words of the law were read to them. The people’s hearts were broken over their sins, but Nehemiah told them to rejoice. God had restored His people to Himself. It was time for joy, not mourning.
Jesus restored us to the Father when He died on Calvary’s cross. His precious blood was poured out like wine for the joy that was set before Him-you and me!
May the joy of the Lord be your strength!
Be abundantly blessed!
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