I asked the Father last night what He wanted me to blog on today so I could start meditating on it and He said “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” I proceeded to go find the psalm that was in (though I can quote scripture all day I am not good at remembering WHERE things are in scripture) only to discover the oft quoted scripture isn’t in Psalms at all! It comes from the latter part of Nehemiah 8:10. Here it is in the Amplified:
…And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.
To give some context, this is being said right after the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem and many have now returned home. Ezra has just read the Torah to them and then a group of Levites helped the people understand what it all meant. And as understanding hit them, they all wept.
Repent & Be Forgiven
I love their initial response because it reflects what OUR response should be when we come into a full understanding of the weight of our sin. But Nehemiah’s response reflects the Father’s heart toward us when we repent and turn our hearts back towards Him – in Hebrew: teshuvah, meaning repent and turn.
This brings to mind Romans 8:1, which reminds us there is NO condemnation to those in Christ… and being “in” Christ implies both having already repented and a lifestyle of continuous repentance as we are convicted of our sins.
So one key point we can derive from this scripture is:
Once we have repented from that which He has convicted us of we are no longer to wallow in unhappy thoughts about whatever error we committed, we are to be in joy that we are in fact forgiven and redeemed!
Another key point we can see here is we are not to be depressed. For anyone who has struggled with depression (as I have), you know it feels like a literal weight. It sucks any life and strength you might have right out of you and literally can feel like an anchor.
So how do we break this depression? It is a spirit of heaviness and part of Isaiah 61:3 tells us exactly how to break it off:
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness
The tie to the Joy of the Lord being our strength is confirmed by 1 Chronicles 16:27 AMP
Honor and majesty are [found] in His presence; strength and joy are [found] in His sanctuary.
The key combination is that as we spend time with Him and praising Him, we find joy and in that joy of the Lord is our strength.
My question to you today is how much time are you spending in His presence? How much time are you spending praising our King? I encourage you to walk in the fullness of the joy of the Lord that is our strength!
Father help our hearts be tender to Your chastening, quick to repent, and quick to receive forgiveness and walk in a joy. I pray we would stay in an attitude of praise all day each day – singing to You both aloud and in our hearts – as we don our garment of praise breaking the enemy’s spirit of heaviness. Bless us Father as we seek to exalt You and glorify Your name!