Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
It may seem odd to think that there is great strength in joy. Yet, this truth was something the saints of God earnestly needed to hear since they were filled with sorrow from hearing the pronouncements of God for their wickedness. They had failed the Lord in so many areas and stood guilty before a righteous and holy God. Being filled with sorrow was not wicked, but rather refreshing since it showed that their hearts were tender toward the words of God. The right kind of sorrow does bring benefits. For instance, God uses this right type of sorrow to lead men to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-11). Yet, it is in the joy of the LORD that saints specifically find strength. Among the people of God, sorrow had done its work, now it was time to turn the sorrow to joy and find the strength to do what was right.
• (For children): David wanted to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem. Because he did it the wrong way, he had sorrow (2 Samuel 6:1-11). Sorrow turned to joy when David discovered the correct way (1 Chronicles 15:2, 25-28). Consider another example: Jeremiah 13:19, 25; Psalm 137:1-4; Psalm 126:1-3.
• (For everyone): Are you experiencing the joy of the LORD? In what ways is that joy the source of your strength?
• Why did the people in Nehemiah’s day need strength? What are some reasons you might need strength too? Can you find that strength by allowing the Spirit of God to bring about His fruit in you (see Galatians 5:22)?
• Ask God to give you of His joy.
• Ask God to help sorrow and joy accomplish their God-given purposes.
SONG: TAKE THE NAME OF JESUS WITH YOU