The Joy of the Lord
The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength…Nehemiah 8:10
Nehemiah was an amazing servant of the Lord’s. Because of his outstanding character, he had reached the prestigious position of being the King of Persia’s cup-bearer…a position requiring a man to be both trustworthy and loyalty; and Nehemiah was just that… trustworthy and loyal. However, even though he was loyal to the King, his heart grieved for his people, the Jews, and for his beloved city of Jerusalem.
Even though the Jews had been returning to Jerusalem for nearly 30 years since their 70 year captivity in Babylon, the city’s walls continued to lie in waste and ruin. The Jews had proudly rebuilt their sacred temple, but had failed to rebuild the city’s damaged walls. Why were the walls so important? In that day and time, people lived within the city’s walls for protection from their enemies and intruders. Also, the newly rebuilt temple needed protection…Much like a “gated communities” today.
Even though a remnant of God’s chosen people were returning to Jerusalem, they were scattered throughout the region living in various villages and other nearby cities. Nehemiah knew that God wanted his people to return to Jerusalem to live within its city’s walls.
Nehemiah sought permission from the King of Persia to travel to Jerusalem in hopes of rebuilding the walls. Not only did the King grant Nehemiah permission to go; he also gave him permission to use his own forest (The King’s Forest) for timbers needed to restore the destroyed and burned down wooden gates.
When Nehemiah finally reached Jerusalem, he waited for three days before touring the city at night. As he surveyed the walls, he discovered gaps as large as 100 yards long and massive piles of fallen stones and broken down gates. What a task for one man to supervise…but Nehemiah knew that he had God on his side and that God would direct him. Nehemiah was also a great man of much praying; a true prayer-warrior!
Within fifty-two days after Nehemiah arrived on the scene in Jerusalem, he organized labor parties, worked to rebuild the walls with one hand while holding his sword in the other to fend off his enemies, and encouraged the people to stay strong in the Lord. In only 52 days, Nehemiah completed his task; a labor of love.
It wasn’t until after the walls had been completed and had been dedicated unto the Lord, that Nehemiah comforted his people with these famous promised-filled words, “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
Nehemiah wanted the people to never forget where their strength lies; in the Joy of the Lord. The same is true today for those of us who are Christians; our strength to make it through each passing day is found in Jesus Christ; our Lord.
Today, you may be in need of strength to complete a task in your own life…If so, pause for a moment and give Praise and Thanks unto God for His son Jesus dying on the Cross to save us from our sins and from our enemies as well. Like Nehemiah, you, too can say, “The Joy of the Lord is MY Your Strength.”
Remember, God Loves You!
Lin T. Rollins, Author