Friday, 13 December 2013

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

In the days of Ezra the walls of the city of Jerusalem were broken and Ezra asked the king, Artexerxes, to rebuild the walls of the city. When the walls were restored, Ezra gathered the people (Nehemiah 7:5) because the Lord put it on his heart to record them by their geneologies. While they were gathered there he read the book of the law to them. I love what it says in Nehemiah 8:8 :

They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (ESV)

The words of the law were explained clearly so the people understood exactly what was being said...and it caused the people to weep, because they understood the words of the law and recognized their fallen condition. But Ezra told them not to weep because the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemian 8:10)

When we understand the Bible correctly, it causes us to see our sinfulness and it is not pleasant to see that ugly condition. There are many ways to react to this understanding....
We can:

1. Grieve and become chronically depressed as we continue to dwell on ourselves and our misery

2. Decide to lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps (or go on medication, or perform duties that make ourselves feel better about our own "goodness", etc, we've seen all these before, eh?) and forget about anything the Lord has to say to us because it is depressing and who needs THAT...?

3. Become bitter and hostile against the Lord because He has made us this way...and couldn't  He have prevented all evil and suffering? (why didn't He? For me the answer to that question is revealed in Romans 8:28)

4. We can bow down in our grief and humility before an awesome Creator and Redeemer, acknowledging from the depth of our sinfulness how undeserving we are of His grace, and HE will lift us up to a joy unspeakable, that isn't feigned to show others how "holy" we are, but it is a deep joy that resonates in our being and sustains us through the good times as well as the bad. When I feel bad and get a glimpse of the ugliness of my sin, and a deep depression comes upon me to the point where I cannot even lift my head, I submit my sorrow and my contrition to the Lord, and He reminds me of His words of life. He lifts me out of my deepest sorrow and shame, and He will lift me up out of the grave on that awesome day of His returning with that same power that He now lifts me out of my sorrow and sin.

 Psa 28:7  The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Psa 28:8  The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Psa 28:9  Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever. (ESV)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are always welcome, however spam will be removed.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

If a comment is mocking or otherwise unfruitful it will be removed. If a comment is completely irrelevant to the post it likewise will be removed. If the post contains an audio or video teaching and it is obvious that the commenter has not listened to the presentation the comment may (or might not) be posted and I probably won't reply.