Third Week of Advent: Joy
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Nehemiah 8:10b… "The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
In the book of Nehemiah, God’s people had returned from exile to a Jerusalem in ruins. But God put it in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the wall of the city. And he did. With everyone’s help - perfumers, masons, priests, goldsmiths, nobles, peasants, singers, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters - the wall was rebuilt, and so was their community. After only 52 days of hard work, the wall was finished. Their first act? To hear the word of the Lord!
As Ezra read the book of the Law of Moses, and the people stood to hear it, the priests spread out among the people and instructed them in the word… encouraging and calming them. And they wept for joy! They finally understood the words made known to them. They celebrated their return to God, their return to Jerusalem, their return to being the people of God WITH GREAT JOY.
We must take these words to heart because they are as important for us today as they were for the Jews in Nehemiah’s Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 8:9-12 we learn that we must turn our mourning into dancing. Do not weep over past sins for which we have asked for and received forgiveness, but go out with JOY. Eat choice foods and drink sweet drinks and take some to those with nothing prepared (help others find and celebrate the joy of their salvation.) Rebuild our wall of faith and celebrate our return to being a people of God with great Joy!!
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, may we read your Word of truth and celebrate with Joy that you sent your only son for our sake. May we remember your sacrifice with great joy and work to help others find and celebrate the joy of their salvation. Amen.