“The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve or be sad. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.” Nehemiah 8:11-12
Nehemiah the prophet and cupbearer to king Artaxerxes, learned that the remnant in Judah were in distress and the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and destroyed by fire. Upon hearing such news he wept, mourned and fasted as he prayed constantly before God. He then asked permission from the king to go rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and it was granted because he had favor with him. He went on his journey to rebuild the walls, but many came against the plans that the Lord had put in his heart. They were cursed, threatened, and even set up to be killed. Much discouragement came upon Gods people during this hard task, but they remained in unity and after 52 days the wall was complete (Nehemiah 6:15).
Nehemiah, Ezra the priest and the Levites gathered the people of God together to read from the Book of the Law. They explain in full detail what God expected of them as his people. This was a new beginning for them, a fresh start. When the people heard the news they began to weep and rejoice at the same time, as if this were a hard thing to grasp and accomplish. Nehemiah had comforted them by confirming this was good news! Once the people had a greater understanding of the word they rejoiced and celebrated.
When we begin to get a full understanding of the promises in God’s word, we will rejoice and walk in confidence. Our God is faithful and is watching after his word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). Just as he was with the remnant, the Lord is with us today. The sorrow had past and there was no time for mourning, it was a holy day and holiness and tears did not go well together. This was a day for praise and gladness. They had to receive and walk in the spirit of praise in order to prepare them for the tasks that were ahead.
We as a people can do so much more in our daily lives for the Lord with a happy heart. When we are sad it makes each task feel like a heavy burden. Jesus said, “For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good-not harsh, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne (Matt. 11:30 amp.). So cast all your cares upon him because he truly cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
“The joy of the Lord always counts on something better than we lose, and remembers that there is one above who is the great Recompenser and Restorer, and will give a thousand times more for one victory of patience and love than all the world is worth to-day.” A.B. Simpson
Rejoicing in bad times will confuse the enemy. When you submit yourself to the Lord and sing in his presence with joy in your heart the enemy will flee from you (James 4:7). He will become so baffled wondering why you are so happy, in the mist of apparent trouble, that your smiling face will look to him like a terrorizing mask and scare him away.
Joy strengthens us and brings healing to our bodies. “A merry heart does good like medicine (Proverbs 17:22). When we are of good cheer our bodies receive the benefit there of. When we are full of joy our countenance shines and permeates our very soul and heals all afflictions and wounds. No lack, headache, cancer, pain, sickness, poverty or terminal illness will cause us to lose our joy, because joy is the channel in which the healing waters flow.
When you walk with joy in your heart nothing moves you. No circumstance, hindrance, delay, accusation, or attacks. You will remain in perfect peace as your mind is on Him who keeps you (Isaiah 26:3). A believer shining the light of God’s joy will draw the masses to salvation, unlike one who walks in sorrow and sadness. Our outward testimony holds more weight than our eloquent speech. The world is looking for happiness, joy and people who are genuine, as the Christian should be. We should be a praying joyful people.
It is the joy of our salvation that keeps us, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:18).”
Nehemiah and the people continually prayed to the Lord and were encouraged to move forward, even when so many hardships had come upon them. The leaders especially leaned on the Lord for their strength and joy.
For believers God wants to use us to make an impact for those around us. Whether it be at work, school, or in any area of our influence. It’s extremely hard for us to be an example if we are always sad, frustrated or angry, then we look no different than the world. He has commanded us to be set apart and holy for his good works. Our Great Physician has given us the prescription, the Gos- pill (Gospel) and in it the world can receive divine healing. Let us walk by faith in our Lord Jesus and infest others with Contagious Joy.
No matter the strife
God manifest full life
Hatred, Malice, and Rejection
His angels surround me with protection
Affliction of thy soul
Holy Spirit made me whole
The enemy cannot destroy
Jesus is my eternal joy