What Do You Expect?
- Friday, September 07, 2012
The joy of the LORD
“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
Ezra is not saying, “Dry your eyes. Cheer up and be happy!” Your joy is not your strength, the joy of the Lord is your strength. I cannot read this verse without thinking of Jesus’ words about the joy in heaven over “one sinner who repents” (luke 15:7).
When there are tears on earth there is joy in heaven. When you feel your weakness and you say, “Oh no,” it is as if God says, “Yes!” When you feel that hunger for a more godly life, it brings joy to the heart of God, and that is your strength.
When you look up into the face of God you will find that He is gracious. His hand is extended out to you in Christ. His joy will be your strength. This is what Paul means when he says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (romans 8:31). The whole world may be banging on my door, but if God smiles upon me, then all is well.
How do you know God is smiling on you? God gave His own Son for us. How will He not, along with Him, graciously give us all things? (romans 8:32). If the Christian life was simply your attempt to fulfill God’s law, then your strength would eventually be exhausted. But the message of the Bible is that in God’s mercy, you will find strength.
The Gospel does not leave you preoccupied with yourself and your failures, it gives you a fresh glimpse of the grace and mercy of God, bringing you new hope, new joy and new strength to face the challenge of another week!
This week's Scripture: All the people assembled as one man in the square before the Watergate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the book of the law of Moses.
This LifeKey is based on the message “Joy,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, delivered on August 13, 2000, from the series “Unlocking the Bible.” Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.
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