Nehemiah chapter 8 begins with all the people gathered for the public reading of the Law of Moses in front of the Water Gate in the open square. The priests, religious people and the Levites explained the word for all to understand. People listened closely to learn as Ezra shared God’s Law and they wept as their hearts felt conviction.
“Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.” Nehemiah 8:9-12
As The Encouraging Word will commence our first Bible study Beauty for Ashes next week, I thought it an opportune time to look at the Bible to witness others gathered learning, reflecting, being encouraged and rejoicing. As we study His Word, there will be times that we feel empowered and possibly times that we feel inadequate. We can try to do more, get up earlier to have quiet time with the Lord, memorize bible verses, start a gratitude journal, or whatever else we think we need to do to get “right” with the Lord. Sometimes we think we are inept, therefore, we give up and become discouraged. When we are grieved we are focused on ourselves. Perhaps, when we are feeling this way we should heed the words of Ezra, “eat…rest… and do not be grieved.” When we rest in the Lord we keep our eyes on Him. He knows what we are bound up about and He wants us to lay it at His feet. Let’s release what is grasping and afflicting us and trust the Lord that He will provide all that we need.
Then rejoice by counting all of our blessings and know that the joy of the Lord is our strength!!!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You as we are. Some of us are deeply entangled in the messes of our lives and others just need to hear Your word and be encouraged. We lay the things of grief before You and open our hearts to Your joy. Thank You for Your precious Son, Jesus. Amen.