Nehemiah 8:10: “Then [Ezra] said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.'”

August 8th, 2020 by Pastor Ed in devotional

The people of God assembled together to hear Ezra the priest and scribe read the Law. The more they heard the Scripture, the more they realized just how far they and their fathers had strayed from the will of God. Their failure and guilt was obvious, and they felt it deeply, weeping in sorrow. The sorrow that comes from the conviction of sin is essential in getting us to where we need to be. Since God is holy and we are not, we should expect a certain amount of our interaction with Him to be Him correcting our mistakes. He desires for us to turn from our sin and repent. And His people did. So Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Levite priests told the people they were forgiven, and to return to their homes and celebrate God’s forgiveness. They didn’t want the people to continue mourning but to begin rejoicing. Even though they were under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, joy was to be the correct reaction. How so? God Almighty is the source of our joy; real joy comes from a personal relationship with Him.

Our knowledge of our own sin should never be bigger than our knowledge of Jesus as our Savior. Yes, we are great sinners, but He is a greater Savior! Many have observed that forgiveness is the greatest gift we can receive because it removes the heaviest burden of life, GUILT. We are designed by the Creator to live in joy.

A young man came to me once and said that his life had suddenly changed, and he was no longer joyful. I asked him when he had first noticed the lack of joy. At first he didn’t want to say, but finally blurted out that it was about the same time he had moved in with his girlfriend. It’s simple to see the problem if you are on the outside looking in, but it hadn’t even occurred to him to backtrack and look for the cause of his absence of joy. Weeping, he confessed his sin and repented (turned around), saying he would move out the following day. When we met again a few weeks later, he didn’t need to say anything because the look of joy on his face said it all, “the joy of the Lord is [my] strength.”

“Thank you, LORD, for the gift of forgiveness that You so readily give to all who come humbly confessing and repenting. Please forgive us our sins this day we ask, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”