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The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength
The more we are aware of the extent of our sin, the greater our joy in God’s forgiveness.
In Be Determined by W. W. Wiersbe explains Nehemiah 8.
In Nehemiah 8 As Ezra read and explained the Word, the assembly’s first response was one of conviction and grief. They mourned over their sins, “for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). The law can’t save us; it can only convince us that we need to be saved and then point us to Jesus Christ the Savior (Gal. 3:24). The Jews had just observed the annual Day of Atonement, and the Lord had dealt with their sins (Lev. 16); so they should have been rejoicing in His forgiveness. On the Jewish calendar, the Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth) follows the Day of Atonement, giving God’s people an entire week of happy celebration (23:26–44). The sequence is important: first conviction, then cleansing, and then celebration.
The Word of God brings conviction and leads to repentance, but it also brings us joy; for the same Word that wounds also heals. “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name” (Jer. 15:16, NKJV).
“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Ps. 19:8). “Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart” (119:111, NKJV).
Assisted by the Levites, Nehemiah convinced the people to stop mourning and start celebrating. It is as wrong to mourn when God has forgiven us as it is to rejoice when sin has conquered us.
The sinner has no reason for rejoicing and the forgiven child of God has no reason for mourning (Matt. 9:9–17). Yes, as God’s children we carry burdens and know what it is to weep (Neh. 2:1–2); but we also experience power that transforms sorrow into joy.
The secret of Christian joy is to believe what God says in His Word and act upon it. Faith that isn’t based on the Word is not faith at all; it is presumption or superstition. Joy that isn’t the result of faith is not joy at all; it is only a “good feeling” that will soon disappear. Faith based on the Word will produce joy that will weather the storms of life.
Psalms 28: The Lord is My Strength
The same stickers also work for Psalm 28!
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