In the days of Nehemiah and the re-building of the walls of Jerusalem, we have a wonderful truth given to us. In chapter 8, with the walls and gates having been rebuilt, the people rejoiced and desired to have the Word of God read to them. When Ezra the priest began to read the law of Moses, the people all stood up. Then we read in Nehemiah 8:6 that, “they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” Upon hearing the wondrous Word of God, some of the people grieved over their sin and wept. Nehemiah told the people they should not weep because that day was holy to the Lord. Now let’s listen to the words of Nehemiah in Nehemiah 8:10, “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

That day of recovery, of learning and obeying the Lord’s Word was to be a day of rejoicing, not of sorrow. The people were to eat and drink, and make provision for those in need. These were the Lord’s people, separated and restored unto Him. As they remembered all His goodness, they rejoiced in Him. This is where strength for the believer is found. We read in Isaiah 25:9, “…this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are called upon to find our joy in the Lord. We are to fix our eyes upon Him and rejoice in His existence, His perfection, His love, His mercy, His provision. We are to look to Him for all our needs and rejoice in His provision. We appropriate these things by faith and rejoice in that One that we cannot see. As Peter said in 1 Peter 1:8, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Joy unspeakable! Although the world may hate and reject us, although we may go through times of poverty and sickness, although we may be persecuted and mocked, we have ‘joy unspeakable’ when we fix our eyes upon our Lord. In our rejoicing in Him, we are strengthened to endure anything the world might put us through.

When we consciously abide in the Lord’s Word and love, we have joy that the world cannot take away. The Lord Jesus said in John 15:9-11, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Then that fullness of realizing the greatest joy will be ours when we are in His presence. Psalm 16:11 tells us, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, may we find our joy in the Lord and not in this ungodly world that has rejected Him. When we do that, He gives us the strength to endure and to conquer. Psalm 32:10-11 says, “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” Philippians 4:4 instructs us to, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” (161.10)