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Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength - Nehemiah 8:11

Why the Joy of the Lord is Our Strength - Nehemiah 8:1-11
The Jewish people returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of Persian exile. When Ezra read the law to them (Nehemiah 8:1-11), it was the first time many had heard it. 

Realizing they fell short of God’s desires, they begin to weep. And Nehemiah said: “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” 

We often hear the phrase “the joy of the Lord is your strength!” 

But knowing the background brings even more joy. 

Can you imagine hearing God-breathed truth for the first time? 

I can. That’s what happened when I gave my life to Christ. 

I’d heard many of these Bible truths before, but they came to life when I followed Christ. They brought tears of sorrow, knowing I fell short (Romans 3:23), and tears of joy, knowing I was forgiven and now had God’s Spirit to change and restore my heart (Romans 10:10; Philippians 2:13). 

Do you remember? 

Take a moment today to thank God for the Joy you experience in Him. The joy of the Lord is your strength!
Check out Bible Love Note's archive of 1-minute devotions on Joy and Laughter and bookmark it so you can read several whenever you need a boost of joy in the Lord.

Bible Study

1. Below are excerpts from Nehemiah 8:1-11 as well as some New Testament passages. What similarities and what differences are there between this Old Covenant hearing of God’s Word and our New Covenant hearing? 

Why the Joy of the Lord is Our Strength - Nehemiah 8:1-11
Nehemiah 8 excerpts: Ezra the teacher of the Law stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion…Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground…The Levites…instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read…Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

John 16:13: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.

John 14:16-17: I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 

2. How important is joy in the life of the believer?

Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

1 Peter 4:12-13: Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 

Philippians 3:1: Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. 
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

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