Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength

"The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10b, NASB). 

There is a popular slogan by Under Armour that says, "Protect This House." I think what it means is that as we exercise, we are helping our body by keeping it healthy. There are many other ways to seek physical health and protection. Where do you run for strength and protection?

Lately, this verse above has been on my mind. God sent Ezra and Nehemiah in these days to restore Jerusalem in very realistic, visual ways, as they rebuilt the temple and the city walls, respectively. The focus in this chapter is that as Ezra read God's law out loud, the people began weeping.

Why were they weeping? These people were weeping at the reading of God's Word and as they realized their sins. I think God's Word can be challenging and lovely at the same time. We can see He is holy and deserves the utmost respect and worship, and I think the people may have felt regret or sadness over their sin.

Kelli Martin
What did Ezra say about it? He asked them to not grieve or mourn. I think the purpose here is that God, in that moment, was there to restore His people not just physically but also spiritually. It was also time to start the festival of booths. God was proving His faithfulness to restore His people.

He can restore us today as well, as we turn to Him in belief and with a heart of repentance. He gave His Word out of love, so that we could know Him more. It is good to be sorrowful over our sins so that we see the need to turn from them and toward God, but we must trust that God also lets us turn to Him and come to Him. He is a forgiver. Let's embrace that and walk in faith in that.

Let's take a moment to praise Him because He has shown how He wants to restore us. Let's share with others, by word and by action, our source of joy and strength.

Check out all of the first part of chapter 8 in Nehemiah here: Nehemiah 8:1-12 (NLT)