The Joy of the Lord

Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord in your stronghold.” Nehemiah 8:9-10 HCSB

The first church I served after graduating from seminary was the Delaney Street Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida. My position was Minister of Youth and Outreach. The bus ministry was part of my outreach responsibilities. Our church used four buses to pick up children each week and bring them to church. Included in my responsibilities was leading a children’s worship. One of the songs we sang with the children was “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength” which was based on this Scripture in Nehemiah.

The people were overcome with emotion as they heard the Word of God and realized how they had sinned and rebelled against God. As they heard the stories of the Israelites being delivered from slavery in Egypt and then wandering in the wilderness, they identified with them because they too had experienced being in slavery and now God had brought them back to Jerusalem. The leaders reminded them that it was a holy day and a day of celebration instead of grieving. The people were to party and give to those in need.

Challenge: When was the last time you were moved to emotion because of your sin? As a believer God loves you and has brought you back from the slavery of sin to a right relationship with Him. As a believer, celebrate your new life in Christ. One of the best ways to celebrate what God has done for you is by giving to those in need. Look for ways you can help others. Listen to the kids music of “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength” on Youtube at

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