Day 264

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Nehemiah 7:4-8:12

Paul Chamberlin, Elder

Reading this passage from Nehemiah at first gave me questions as to how it could relate to me. After wading through the lists of families and the genealogy, there is the description of the gathering once the wall and the city were secure. The more I read it I realized I needed to place myself there among the residents to experience the events. Once I did this it became so much more meaningful.

First being an engineer I looked at the details. There are nearly 50,000 people gathered to hear God’s words to Moses. They had gathered nearly 800 lbs. of gold, 6,000 lbs. of silver, over 8,000 animals, 600 priests’ garments, and 50 bowls. Wow! What an offering! They stood and listened to Ezra read God’s word. Hearing it brought a response of worship in praise, prayer, and thanksgiving to the Lord. After the years of captivity and rebuilding that preceded this event I am sure there was a flood of emotions.

I have been to some large gatherings but nothing of this scale. I am an emotional person and being among believers hearing the word of God and responding in this way would bring me to tears as it did to them. Tears of sorrow for the times I go my own way and not God’s, and tears of joy to hear that He knows me, loves me and forgives me.

That was 2500 years ago. God has not changed, but today we have even greater joy since we can know him through his son, Jesus. So now we can look forward to a time when all who place their trust in him will gather together by the untold millions to not just hear from him but to commune with him in person. Imagine the joy and worship that will take place on that day!

Experiencing God in this way is a great encouragement for me and I hope for you.

Nehemiah 8:10 – “The joy of the Lord is my strength!”

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3 responses »

  1. It seems that there are times when we must override our emotions in the presence of God. That’s a novel concept for our society where emotions rule everything, but as with love, God gives us a choice: what will you allow to rule in this situation – your emotions (phileo/eros) or your will (agape)? It’s hard for us 21st Century Americans to believe, but sometimes our emotions are wrong.

  2. Meditating on all it means to be Your child this morning, Father, I am overcome with joy and gratitude. Weeping precedes this joy because I see how far I am from Your mark and what You want and have available for me. BUT, I know that my past is reconciled and covered by the blood of my Savior, that today is lived with Your Holy Spirit in me and with me wherever I go and whatever I face and my future is secured by You for eternity. This feeling of joy truly does strengthen me to stand tall and crave the opportunity to serve You for all You are to me. The more I look to You, the more I am transformed into Your image. My pitiful, carnal desires are replaced by Your desires in my heart. Yes, Lord, Your joy is my strength. Your joy spurs me on to action. Thank You! Amen.

  3. “Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10 (MSG)

    We recently attended a cross country event where our grandson was participating. The race was 2 miles long, and the course was lined with parents and friends of around 100 elementary kids. As the kids passed by, shouts of “You can do it!” and “You’re almost there!” filled the air. There is a place for self-determination and pushing beyond what you think is possible….but in a deeper sense, our strength to endure and “go beyond ourselves” comes from God. Some days we face moments where our patience, self-control, and emotional strength fall short and the shouts of “You can do it!” aren’t good enough. How wonderful that we have a God whose very presence on the sidelines of our lives gladly gives us His joy and strength to carry on.

    Oh Lord, I ask that all who read these words today will hear You cheering their name and find encouragement.

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