WOW: 365 Challenge Day 11

Scripture: Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Devotion: Rebuild the ruins, the charge Nehemiah embraced after the Israelites disobeyed the commands, decrees, and laws set in place through Moses. As a consequence of sin, Jerusalem had been destroyed and its people scattered. Nehemiah took the lead and found favor with the king and began to rebuild the once ravished city of Judah.

This may sound reputable but Nehemiah encountered several attacks to inhibit the cities recovery. Plots were dismantled while a team of workers were gathered. One of my favorite scriptures in Nehemiah is 4:17. They did their work with one hand and held a sword in the other. Rebuilding was resisted yet they stayed focused on the task at hand.

By God’s grace, they rebuilt the city and the exiles returned. They returned to a structured lecture of the law. Remember, this is the law they walked away from that caused the destruction. The law was read word for word with strict explanations. I can imagine the atmosphere was weighty and the people exhausted from their sin and the cost of rebuilding. As the people wept at the reading of the law, Nehemiah instructs them to dry their eyes for the day was holy and the joy of the Lord was their strength. I can imagine the atmosphere shifting as their leaders released the good news. They immediately leave to celebrate.

Sin and it’s consequences as well as war and rebuilding weaken our state of being. But God has a remedy, joy. In a moment you can shift from one state of being to another. Joy not only brings elation but is infused with strength. That strength resets the soul and gives us the ability to run the next leg of the race circumspectly.

Reflection: Has sin or war weakened your soul? Are you struggling with leaving a season of sorrow and embracing the rebuilding process, or is the weight of expectations of the future weighing you down? Be encouraged there is a measure of joy being released to you for the next journey! May your future be met with exuberant joy bathed in strength that gives you ammunition to conquer every giant.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you that you have a new joy on our path. Help us to transition from the pain of the past into the joy of our future. Lord, teach us how to live from a place of joy.

Written by Petrina Milan


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