Discover and draw strength from the meaning behind Nehemiah 8:10 where he proclaims that the joy of the Lord is His people’s strength.
As Christians, we experience a range of emotions every day. From love to anger, to passion, and even anxiety, it’s all part of our human nature.
Our emotions serve as an immediate response to circumstances that we find ourselves in. So when we’re having a bad day at work, it’s human for frustration to set in.
When we come home to a nice surprise, it’s our nature to respond with happiness and glee. When we experience events like the loss of a loved one, it’s most human to respond by sinking into depths of grief. We’re devastated, constantly being reminded that we won’t get to see them again in this world in our daily lives.
However, Nehemiah 8:10 gives us an insight into a secret that will keep our heads above even the most turbulent of waters. He says ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength’. So what is this joy of the Lord? What does it mean? How does it strengthen us and how can we constantly walk in it?
What Does the Bible Say about Joy?
Dictionaries define joy as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness” but the Bible goes beyond that.
Galatians 5:22 says,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”
In the Bible, joy isn’t just a feeling. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, a gift from God. The Hebrew word for the word “joy” mentioned in Nehemiah 8:10 is translated to “chedvah,” meaning to rejoice or to make glad. So according to this verse, joy is actually in action and a doing word, not just in feeling.
What Is The Bible Verse The Joy Of The Lord Is My Strength?
“The joy of the Lord is my strength” verse is Nehemiah 8:9-10. It says;
“9. Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Leviteswho were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
- Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
What Is the Biblical Context of Nehemiah 8:10?
The backstory here is that the Israelites had just returned to Jerusalem from exile. They were listening to the Law being read and realizing just how far from the Law their actions had been. In response to this, they were distraught and they wept for their sins.
Then Nehemiah urged them not to weep or mourn anymore but instead, they should eat and share food with each other. Looking at this, it sounds silly to eat when they should have been fasting, putting on sackcloth and ashes on their foreheads and mourning. It is just the same way it sounds silly to rejoice when someone just died. But it’s possible and the answer to ‘how’ is found in the next sentence; because the joy from God will give us strength.
The joy of the Lord is the joy that God Himself gives. It is untouched by circumstances and uplifts our spirits even in the darkest of times.
What Does The Joy Of The Lord Mean?
God’s joy is the genuine type of joy that comes from the Holy Spirit to us.
Like the Israelites, we are strengthened by the realization that regardless of our mistakes and sins, despite our current situation, God loves us and works everything together for our good.
It is the revelation that the same God who sent His only son to die on the cross for us in exchange of a deep and working relationship with us also watches over us and will provide all our needs. God loves us deeply. That is what strengthens us and uplifts our spirits in times of hurt, pain and grief.
How Do You Receive The Joy Of The Lord?
You don’t have to climb over seven mountains or pass through seven seas to receive God’s joy. It is already a gift from God through His Holy Spirit. To receive this gift, we can:
- Spend time in His Presence.
1Chr.16.27 helps us understand that strength and gladness are in His dwelling place. David, a man of God’s presence said, “You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.” (Psalm 4:7)
It is by spending time in God’s presence, worshiping, and praying that this joy, better than wine, will be planted in our hearts.
- Be Thankful.
In Psalm 43:4, David says, “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and on the harp, I will praise You, O God, my God.”
To David, God is joy. So reflecting on our lives helps us to be thankful for the little miracles that we may otherwise take for granted and miss entirely. Rather than focusing on the bad things, we must focus on the blessings we have and be thankful.
- Believe His Word.
Meditating and choosing to believe God’s Word over our situations will help us stay joyful. Constantly ingesting and planting His word in our hearts wells up springs of joy.
Why Is God’s Joy Important?
In a world where there’s a lot of unrest, insecurity, anxiety and depression, God’s joy is our perfect refuge. Things like money, networks, partying, sex, drugs, and all the other things that people in the world pursue to give them joy can only bring temporary happiness.
That’s why they seem to be in an endless pursuit of happiness and purpose. None of these things truly satisfy. But God’s joy is fulfilling and lasting. It takes the joy of God to laugh out loud in a seemingly hopeless situation, because of the assurance it gives. It is not of this world.
What Brings The Lord Joy?
God rejoices when we come to Him instead of turning to the world. He delights in fellowshipping with us and spending quality time with us. He rejoices when we do His will. He laughs and is so proud when we make good use of all the gifts He has given us and reach our full potential. Above all, He’s happy when sinners come to Him. (Luke 15:7) Many prayer apps focus on helping christians who need guidance.
Bible Verses About The Joy Of The Lord.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
“9. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
- That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
While we might not “feel” happy all the time, the joy of the Lord is something that is constant and should reflect in our response to circumstances. God’s joy is never a function of what happens around us. ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine’. That is our strength. And it is so beautiful and sure.