“The joy of the Lord is my strength” is a phrase we often hear, but what does it mean, really? Let’s take a deeper look at the context of Nehemiah 8:10 and discover what this phrase means for us as Christians today.
Ever feel like your strength is running out? I have. Some days, it’s all too easy to evaluate my current level of strength and measure it against the days ahead. I even have moments when I struggle with doubt at times, and wonder how I am going to make it through that day, let alone all the days in the future.
Today, let’s look at the Bible Verse “The joy of the lord is my strength”.
Where does the phrase “the joy of the Lord is my strength” come from? This bible verse is found in Nehemiah 8, where Ezra the scribe reads the words of God’s law to the people. They stand in reverence for hours as God’s word is read, and as they understand it, begin weeping.
For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
Then he 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.” (Nehemiah 8:9-10)
When we feel sorrow – whether it be realization of sin or because of difficult circumstances – we often wonder where our strength is going to come from. But it is vital to remember: the joy of the Lord is my strength.
But what is ‘the joy of the Lord’?
We cannot conjure up this type of joy within ourselves, by our own power. It has to come from one source only – the Lord.
Thank goodness it’s not our human joy – it’s the joy of the Lord. Put another way, it’s the joy God has, or possesses.
Can you even begin to imagine the amount of joy God has?
What’s even more amazing is that God’s joy centers around us. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before Him” (a relationship with us). And Zephaniah 3:17 says that God rejoices over us with singing!
Have you ever thought about the fact that being in a relationship with you makes God happy? Knowing that God feels this way about you should spark the flame of joy within you, too!
As Christians, we have access to God’s boundless joy, a joy that does not come from our circumstances or within ourselves. It does not depend on how strong or spiritual we are.
This joy comes from God alone, and the relationship we have with Him.
This realization also enabled the apostle Paul. Here’s a sermon clip from my husband about how God’s strength enabled him:
How to Let God Be Your Strength (Like Paul)
You may be asking, “But how can I access God’s joy in my life?”
We have an example from Nehemiah 8. As Nehemiah read the words of the Law, the people wept and mourned because they were not obeying the law. But Ezra comforts them, telling them not to weep because the joy of the Lord is their strength.
Their joy was realized because, even though a knowledge of the truth caused sorrow (repentance), it also gave them direction. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
Changing their lives and following God’s ways gave them a deeper joy than they could have attained on their own.
It’s the same for us – when we study and know the truth within the pages of the Bible, we have the joy of the Lord!
Father, thank you for intervening in my life and allowing me to have a personal relationship with you. Thank you for your love for me today and forever. Thank you for the blessings you’ve given me and my family. Help us use those blessings to bless others. May I live a life of true joy as I see you at work around me today! In Jesus’ name. Amen.