Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
When the people heard God’s Law, they experienced deep sorrow. They had ignored and betrayed their sovereign and personal God. The very thought of their sin made them sob. Instead of patting them on the back and telling them how great it is to mourn their sin, they encourage the people to turn their mourning into a celebration. Once they understand God’s written message and accept His mercy, their joy overflows.
We need to do the same. Sinning is something to be sorry about (for real) and shed tears over because we have grieved our Daddy. I was a daddy’s girl growing up and nothing caught my heart quicker than grieving my dad. But we don’t have to stay there…..God’s mercy over us is something to shout about. Mercy is not giving us what we deserve. God had mercy on us and sent His Son to die so that instead of getting what we deserve, we get heaven…..we get forgiveness….a pardon….we get to dance and shout for joy instead of mourning. To skip Jesus means we are still lost in our sins. Don’t skip Him! He loved you enough to die for you! You are valuable to Him….that’s why He came!
Jerusalem’s wall was strong and restored and now the people needed to restore and strengthen their relationship with God. Nehemiah tells them that their delight in the Lord will be their inner fortification.
Need to mend the broken relationship between you and the Lord? Go ahead! He’s waiting. He’s not standing there with a pointed finger, waiting to say I told you so…..He’s standing there with a smile on His face, joy in His heart, and arms open wide for His prodigal child has come back. All of heaven is waiting too, with their party hats on and their noisemakers ready to scream and shout. You are valuable and dearly loved.
The people were no longer to focus on their inadequacies, mistakes or sins. As they repent and find their source of life and celebration in the Lord, their self preoccupation diminishes. They came out of their sin heavy funk and had a party! They experienced the truth of Nehemiah’s words: “The joy of the LORD is your strength.”
You’re forgiven child! When you bring that sin back up to the Lord, He’s going to say, “What sin?”. He’s not kidding when He says you’re forgiven. Don’t waddle in it anymore (and don’t do it anymore!)…..do a Jesus jig along with the rest of us because Jesus came and brought joy to your world! Ever see someone go through something so horrific with such strength? This is their secret….the joy of the Lord is their strength!
“Send some to those who have nothing”….. spread the news! There are others around you who need the joyous news right now. There’s plenty of joy to go around, share the good news!