Neh. 8:10 - This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (NIV)
This verse is a favorite and repeated by many often. Uplifting and encouraging but how exactly do we achieve it. A look at Nehemiah's life while rebuilding the wall and gates of Jerusalem provides insight.
A captive in service of the King of Persia (cupbearer and advisor), he gains favor from both God and man. How?
- He calls to the Lord on behalf of Israel in repentance for sin leading to captivity. (Neh. 1:6)
- With integrity and transparency, he shows sadness and distress for Jerusalem's condition. (Neh. 2:3)
- Through faithfulness the Lord using the King of Persia, grants passage and materials to restore Jerusalem. (Neh. 2:8)
- Confronted in other Province's by tribal leaders is kept safe though accused of rebelling against the king. (Neh. 2:19)
- Trusted God to rebuild the walls and give victory. (Neh. 2:20)
- Assigns work to those faithful to the call to work and consecrate it to the Lord (Neh. 3)
- Stations guards to protect through the Lord from attackers. The men were always prepared to repel the enemy. (Neh. 4)
- He confronts and persuades the people to not take advantage of one another in giving, expecting usury in return. Rather grant God's favor and show fear of Him. (Neh. 5)
- Sacrificed governors privileged food allowance and trusted God. He lived and ate with the people. (Neh. 5)
- The enemy attempted to stop work trying to lure Nehemiah to a meeting for harm. When unsuccessful they made false accusations of him planning to be King of Judah. (Neh. 6)
- He refuted slander, calling on God to strengthen hands to complete work. (Neh. 6)
- Another attempt to lure Nehemiah to the temple to hide in fear. He stands in the Lord. (Neh. 6)
- The wall is finished in fifty-two days. All enemies realized this is completed so quickly by God's power.
- When finished, gatekeepers appointed and people registered. (Neh. 7)
- The people all renew the covenant with God and repent. (Neh. 8)
In chapter eight, the people are called to no longer have sadness and grief. Rather find strength in joy of the Lord.
The actions flowing from heart leading Nehemiah and the people to joy and strength in God are:
Repentance, integrity to mourn, faithfulness, trust, consecration, preparedness, mercy and love over profit, humility of the leaders, wisdom from above thwarting enemy plans, reliance on God's, power and a renewed commitment to the Lord.
Coming to God with hearts filled with these attributes, they demonstrated the faith to become overcomers in His might. Looking to the coming salvation of God in the Messiah; Who is our strength and joy. We are the joy for which Christ Jesus endured the cross.
Heb. 12: 2 - … fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (NIV)
How He Loves Us - David Crowder Band
Attributions: New International Version®, NIV® Copyright Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.