When Ezra read the word of God to the tribe of Judah on their return from 70 years of exile in Babylon, they wept. 

The Temple and the city walls had been rebuilt but they did not know God’s word and they said to Ezra and Nehemiah “we are in great distress.” 

They wept because of the realization of how far they their hearts had moved from God and His ways and of how they had neglected His Word. 

Nehemiah stood up and said, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah writes that “the people went away to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.” 

Nehemiah proclaimed the powerful truth that joy gives us strength. 

The book of Proverbs says, “A joy-filled heart is curative balm, but a broken spirit hurts all the way to the bone.” 

Joy is like a healing balm that not only gives us strength also brings joy and strength to others. 

Nehemiah’s words highlight that it’s the joy that comes from God, that we find in Him, that is our strength. 

The source of our joy is often found in our circumstances or our situation but God is a limitless source of Joy. 

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11) 

Jesus was saying “You will find joy in My words and My joy in you will be a source of great strength” 

Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4) 

We may not feel like we have a lot to rejoice about, especially when we are going through difficult seasons, but God’s word shows us how many reasons we have to Rejoice. 

Here are just a few: 

Rejoice that our names are written in Heaven 

Rejoice in the hope of the glory of God 

Rejoice in the Truth 

Rejoice in the Lord 

Rejoice in our confident hope 

Rejoice that Christ is preached 

Rejoice that we do not run or labor in vain 

Rejoice in persecution for great is our reward in Heaven 

Rejoice in hardship and trials because our faith is being refined and is more precious than gold 

1 Peter 1:8 

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 

May the Joy of the Lord be our strength in 2019!