Nehemiah 8:8-10
8 They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage. 9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” All the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the law. 10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of choice foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Why would the joy of the Lord be our strength?  It seems like our joy should be our strength.  But Nehemiah is telling us that when we recognize our sin by reading the Word of God, we realize how much we have sinned against God.  The Jews who had returned to Israel after 70 years of exile and realized how much they and their ancestors had sinned and this made them very sad.  But God was pleased because you can not make a change if you do not know there is a problem.  And the people realized how much they had sinned and knew they had to change.  They realized that they needed to obey the Word of God.  This made God joyful.  It is the recognition and repentance of our sins that is the joy of the Lord.  And when we make Him happy by realizing and repenting of our sin, this is our strength.  That is why Nehemiah said, “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”  Reading and studying the Word of God should cut through our lives like a knife and expose our sin.  As we realize our sin, we turn to God for forgiveness and strength.  It is our repentance that strengthens us and our willingness to obey God that gives Him joy and this in turn gives us strength.  Make God joyful today as you read His Word realize and repent.  Determine to live according to His Word an you will find strength.

Have a God Day!