Recently I was meditating on the book of Nehemiah and in Nehemiah 8:10 we see this familiar quote- ‘Joy of the Lord is your strength’.
Last Sunday during our church service our Pastor was talking about the difference between Joy and Happiness. Happiness is based on the circumstances and it is momentary . But joy is not dictated by our circumstances. We learn from Galatians chapter 5 Joy is an attribute of the fruit of the spirit.
When we learn the book of Nehemiah the initial chapters talk about how God used Nehemiah to encourage the people in Jerusalem to rebuild the broken walls. And what was the end result?. All the people united under the leadership of Nehemiah and they finished rebuilding the wall and dedicated in God’s presence.
And in Nehemiah 12:43 we read like this
“Many sacrifices were offered on that joyous day, for God had given the people cause for great joy. The women and children also participated in the celebration, and the joy of the people of Jerusalem could be heard far away.”
Nehemiah 12:43 NLT
So here we read that God had given people cause for great joy.
In Psalms 4:7 we read like this “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.” NLT
In Isaiah 9:3 we read about God, who increases our Joy.
So God gives us joy and His joy is our strength.
What brings Joy to the heart of God?
In the book of Nehemiah we see God is joyful because, His people united in rebuilding the broken walls and when they heard the reading of Gods word they repented of their sins. God is joyful because He got back what was lost.
That same joy of the Lord is what we see in these parables that Jesus said- the lost son, the lost coin and the lost sheep. There we see, when the people got back what was lost they rejoiced. We read in Luke 15:7 Jesus says that there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. So repentance of a sinner brings Joy to God’s heart.
That is why we see in the gospels when angels were proclaiming the birth of Jesus to the shepherds they said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”Luke 2:10-11 ESV. So what brings great Joy to God’s heart is the salvation of mankind, when someone recognizes the need of Jesus in their life.
How does the Joy of the Lord becomes our Joy?
The something really special about Joy. Joy spreads from one person to another. Psalms 16:11 says In your presence there is fullness of Joy. When we come to the presence of God, His Joy spreads to our life. It comes as a fruit from within us, by the Holy Spirit God gave inside of us. That is why Joy is rooted on The Truth that cannot be dictated by our circumstances. That is why we are able to be joyful even in our suffering.
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Psalm 30:5 ESV
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
James 1:2 NLT
And Jesus showed to us such a great example of Joy in suffering- He endured the cross for the Joy that was set before Him. That is why He was able to give thanks when He took the bread and broke it for the disciples during the last supper. He was looking forward to that Joy He is going to have. That through the breaking of His body He was making a way for the lost to come to the Father.
Many times we try to find joy in wrong places. We may think our spouse can give us joy, or may be through our friends or any other worldly sources. But what they all can give us is momentary happiness. True Joy can only be found in the presence of Almighty God. So if we can sit in His presence and receive the Joy that HE gives, we will not be needy in our relationships and friendships.
“Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”John 16:24 ESV. God delights when we seek Him and He is ready to fill us with His joy!!
Then we will be people who spreads the Joy of the Lord. Just like we read in Nehemiah 12:43, our Joy will be heard far away.
How does the Joy of the Lord becomes our strength?
God extended His grace to us and made us His children. Romans 11:24 says we were cut out of a wild olive tree and contrary to the nature God grafted us into a cultivated olive tree, that we share in the nourishing sap from the olive shoot. God made His promises He gave to the children of Israel, available to us too. We are His treasured possession. When we seek Him, He is delighted. And that is how His Joy becomes our strength .
We are strong because of the righteousness and grace that God gave to us. Now we are His people and God delights in us. And We rejoice all the more because of our salvation and our home is secure in Jesus. When we are in Jesus, He is giving us eternal life & Joy that cannot be taken away from us.
We know how safe our children feels when they stay close to us. They know that they are precious to us and we will protect them. So they just forgets everything and rejoices in our presence. They rejoice on the fact that their strength is not in themselves but how precious they are to us.
We are God’s precious children. So we will rejoice despite of our circumstances because our loving Father is the Almighty God.
And the Joy of the Lord is our strength!!!
Not only that Proverbs 17:22 says a joyful heart is good medicine. And isn’t that what we all need right now? Joy that is not dependent of any circumstances and a good medicine. A medicine not only for ourselves, but for this hurting world also.
So no matter whatever happens in this world we will rejoice in God because He made us His children. And we are called to spread the Joy. So that many will come and seek the reason for our joy. And they will know that the source of true Joy, that is Jesus Christ Himself.
So just as Apostle Paul wrote “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT
May God bless you all!😀🙏