Joy is a state of mind. It is a condition of the heart. Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem. Israel had been exiled for 70 years because of their backsliding. The Babylonians had taken them captive, destroyed their Temple, demolished their walls, burned their city with fire. All that was left was the remnants of what once was. When Nehemiah felt burdened for the remnant of Jewish people still in the land and when he heard of their plight and poverty, he began to Pray and Seek God. He repented for his sins and the sins of his fathers and the whole Nation. Revival always begins with an admission of sin and guilt. Many want to blame this and that. Many want to point fingers at others and make excuses. Honesty comes into to play. Nehemiah became honest and included not only the sins of disobedience of his fathers, but also his own sins. When Nehemiah turned to God and humbly asked for forgiveness, God heard and began the process of revival.
The Scriptures tell us to humble ourselves under the mighty Hand of God and He will exalt us. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. The Publican went to the house of God and would not even lift his head. He humbly asked God to forgive him because he admitted his sin. The scriptures tell us that if we hide our sin, we will not prosper. We need to repent and ask God to forgive us and restore us. This is what Nehemiah did and God heard him and began the process of restoration.
2 Chronicles 7: 14 If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
What a Great Promise God has given to us all. Humility and repentance will cleanse us and begin the restoration process.
Nehemiah came to a remnant that needed to return to God in their hearts. What he saw was what sin had done. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Nehemiah saw rubble, ruins, disaster, poverty, fear, torment, everywhere he looks was despair. It looked impossible, but Nehemiah challenged the people of Israel to return to the Lord and when they began the re-building process, He reminded them that the Joy of the Lord was their strength. We cannot have Joy and sin in our hearts. We must be cleansed, and forgiven; then Joy will come in.
It is not time to be weak. It is time to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. We need to serve the Lord with Gladness. We need to take off heavy burdens and put on Christ. He promised that He came that our Joy might be full and His Joy remain in us.
The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength.
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