Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Have you ever felt God speaking to you so strongly that all you could do is listen and cry? I often get this, and yesterday during church was one such time. It was one of those moments when I realized that God has a message for me, and he will continue to speak it until I get it. He is so good, and almost mischievous this way. He has been speaking to me all this year about how I need to love him and love others, and he reinforced that message yesterday.
Our sermon was about joy, and specifically Nehemiah 8:10. But if you read Nehemiah 8:1-12 you will get a better feel for what is happening, and why the joy of the Lord is our strength, and what brings about real joy for us. The people of Isreal are encouraged to eat, drink and be joyful AFTER they have heard the law of the Lord, it has been thoroughly explained by their teachers/preachers, and they have wept in repentance. And what do I hear God saying in all of this? Read the Bible, seek its meaning, repent, and then go and share over food and drink to receive real joy. (For further reading on this topic, I really recommend a certain sermon of Charles Spurgeon.)
Want to be happy? Go to church, read your Bible, learn all you can about it, repent of your sin, and then share your table and your time explaining to others what you have learned.
Father, help me make this a way of life. Help me to read your word faithfully, seek its meaning diligently, repent fully, and then share it completely with others. As I do this, fill me with your joy that will strengthen me.