Today I am going to post one of the passages I will be preaching on this upcoming Sunday (July 16th).
Nehemiah Ch. 8
9 Then 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 were weeping when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
In these passages, the Israelites had been working very hard to rebuild the city of Jerusalem (specifically, the temple and walls that surrounded the temple). When the work was finished, Ezra and Nehemiah called everyone together...then Ezra read aloud the law of Moses. While Ezra was reading, a number of those listening began weeping (probably over the conviction of their sin). Nehemiah addressed the people, encouraging them to stop mourning, and to begin rejoicing. It is during this speech that he says "for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
We all need an occasional reminder that the the "joy of the Lord is our strength." When life becomes difficult and there are no easy answers, we can abide in our Savior, and allow His joy to become the strength we need to press forward. We express our pain to the creator of the universe, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to our needs. Then, we praise Him, with an attitude of thanksgiving; being grateful that He chose us, before we were even born, to be the beneficiary of His great love.