Day 3 in 40 Days of Joy

Wednesday, May 3rd

Title: The Link between Joy and Strength

Scripture: Nehemiah 8:10

“Then [Ezra] said to them, ‘Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.’”

Main Idea: The joy of the Lord makes us strong.

For Hungry Readers: The background of this verse is a revival in Israel. The people had assembled in Jerusalem and called for Ezra the scribe to read from the Law of Moses, which he did from early morning until midday. As he read, the people began to grieve and weep because they realized how great had been their transgressions.

Normally such a repentant response would be encouraged, but the leaders apparently sensed that God did not want the people to linger in their guilt, which could lead to despair. Rather, now that their hearts were repentant, he wanted them to rejoice in the Lord’s goodness and mercy. Ezra gives two reasons for this. First, because it was a holy day, which was to be celebrated with a great feast. And second, because “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Joy gives strength.

We have all experienced that. When we become sad, discouraged, we lose our will. We lose faith and hope. We feel that all is lost and everything is pointless. Sadness is exhausting. It turns a strong man into a weakling. It leads to unbelief in what God can do.

But joy, specifically joy in God and his promises, gives strength.

Faith Declarations: I am strong for my greatest joy is in the Lord, not in my circumstances, not in my success, not in my appearance, not in my wealth, and most definitely not in the world. I rejoice in my great God.