“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10 (NASB)
These words were spoken by Nehemiah, governor of Judah during the time when the people of Israel rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. It was time for a holy day of remembrance. The people were weeping in much sorrow because of their sins. “For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law.” (v.9) When they heard and understood God’s law, they understood their violations of it. Not tears of joy, but penitent sorrow came forth as they were grieved by conviction. Nehemiah encourages them the same as we can be encouraged when we have grief over our failings before God, our family, friends and others. Strength come from the Joy of the Lord. How does it come? It comes through the grace and mercy of God who wants more to draw us into repentance and confession than to punish or discipline us harshly – even when we deserve that. What we do not deserve is the Joy of the Lord but He gives it to us just as he gave it to these children of Israel. That Joy which comes only from the Lord is what infuses strength into our spirit to do the right things.