The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

Living Abundantly 
According to God's Word Series

Read time: 5 minutes

There is a song with that title and at times is runs through my mind. When thinking these thoughts I am not discouraged but uplifted. I realize that this is what Godly songs can do, they reiterate the Word and build up our faith, our believing, because they are speaking the Word to us. I had to search for the reason for this song. I had seen the statement in the Word, but what was the context? What does it mean, "the joy of the Lord is my strength"?

Nehemiah 8
:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly,
    and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
:9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha [governor],
    and Ezra the priest the scribe,
    and the Levites that taught the people,
    said unto all the people,
    This day is holy unto the LORD your God;
    mourn not, nor weep.
    For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
:10 Then he said unto them,
    Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet,
    and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared:
    for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry;
    for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

In order to really understand why the people wept when they heard the Word we need to understand their situation. Nebuchadnezzar carried away the first inhabitants of Jerusalem in 497 B.C. it is now 43 years later, 454 B.C. Many of them have been allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild. That is enough time for the teenagers that were taken captive to have grandchildren. They must have clung to the Word of God they knew and not let it die out of their hearts. They didn't let the world in to corrupt their love for God or commitment to Him. Over time, however, the Word gets lost and changed if there is no written text to constantly refer to. In their case the word is written in Hebrew, which was no longer understood by many of them because they have been in Babylon for 43 years. We see this evidenced when Ezra read the scrolls of the law before the people and gave the sense of it.

We also get a good idea of when this occurred from reading the corresponding book of Ezra. They read the law before the people in the 'seventh month' of the first year of Cyrus king of Persia (also call Darius the Mede in Daniel 5:31), 426 B.C., which is 28 years after the wall around Jerusalem was finished.

They wept because they had not been following the commandments of God; because they loved Him they were sorrowful. However, Ezra told them to celebrate because the law was found.

Jeremiah found great joy in the Word of God as well.

Jeremiah 15
:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them;
    and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart:
    for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

We are told to rejoice in the Lord just as Ezra told Israel to. God wants us to be joyful.

Psalm 32
:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous:
    and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

Psalm 33
:1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous:
    for praise is comely for the upright.
:2 Praise the LORD with harp:
    sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
:3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
:4 For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
:5 He loveth righteousness and judgment:
    the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made;
    and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
:7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap:
    he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD:
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

We have been reconciled to God by Jesus Christ, let us joy and rejoice!

Romans 5
:10 For if, when we were enemies,
   we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,
    much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so,
    but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
    by whom we have now received the atonement.

Let God fill you with joy.

Romans 15
:13  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
    that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

What a rich verse! Our God of hope will fill you to capacity with all joy (not just some) and peace in believing, for the purpose that we may abound in hope which is the anchor of our soul in the power of the holy spirit that God has placed within us.

Jesus Christ could see that there was greater things available to God's people from the Word. He knew he was our messiah that is why:

Hebrews 12
:2  ...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
    despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Joy is just part of our strength. When we have the joy of the Lord we will rely on the strength that God has given us. If we are joyful we can more easily trust in God who is our strength. Let God fill you with joy and come to His Word and see the joy that was set before Jesus Christ, eternal life with God.


For further study:

Word Study: Joy and rejoice, pay attention to the Hebrew words, some uses refer to dancing. The Hebrew Words are  simchah for joy and  samach for rejoice. The Greek words are chara for joy and chairo for rejoice.

Read about Nehemiah: The Return to Jerusalem, Nehemiah - How to Handle Opposition, This Work Was Wrought of God

Despaired Even of Life