The joy of the Lord
Nehemiah had led the exiles back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. They had faced much opposition, but God prevailed in every circumstance. Now, Ezra the priest has brought forward the Book of the Law as provided by Moses years earlier. He read it to the people who were assembled. They were overcome with joy, and with sorrow. They actually wept as they heard the words of the Law being read to them. As I pondered this, a question came to me; is this the way I respond to God’s word when I study it and read it? Do you?
Nehemiah requested that the people go their way, to eat and drink and send portions and make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. They were being strengthened in the midst of great trial by the word of God. And it says that the joy of the Lord would be their strength. Their grieving had turned to rejoicing.
The strength of God’s word
What are you facing that has brought grief or has the potential to take you down? As I awakened in the middle of my sleep last night, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a wave of anxiety, so I immediately started reciting scripture, especially the Psalms that I’ve memorized for years. The peace that passes all understanding came over me and the momentary issue disappeared. The joy of the Lord replaced anxiety. Isn’t that what we seek when we go into God’s word?
I asked myself, what would I have done had I not stored up these Psalms in my mind and heart; what would’ve happened, where would I have turned for relief? Praise God for the comfort and strength of his word!