“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” — Nehemiah 8:10
What do we do when we go through seasons of weakness? Seasons where sin seems to win the battle? Seasons where impatience and frustration seems to be the theme? Where do we go for strength, and how do we overcome seasons of joylessness? These are all questions every Christian asks, because every Christian has these seasons, and if you are truly regenerate, you despise these seasons. All who are truly born-again have a great desire to stay near to the Lord, to walk in His ways, but what do we do when times of wandering come upon us?
For me, in those times, I have a tendency to tighten my shoes a little tighter, and begin to sprint. I may not know where I’m going, but boy am I going to get there. I begin to move in my own strength, and before I know it, God sits me down, and turns my eyes to His word.
In the context of today’s verse there was a singular reason why they all were rejoicing, and it was the understanding of God’s word through preaching. Verse 12, “And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.”
They rejoiced because they understood God’s word. They understood God’s word because someone stood up and declared it to them. In this time of isolation in our lives, we need preaching more than ever. I thank God for the saints of the past like Charles Spurgeon, R.C Sproul, Leonard Ravenhill, and David Wilkerson who stood up and declared God’s word, and helped stir the joy of the Lord in me by helping me understand. I thank God for the living saints of today Paul Washer, John Macarthur, John Piper, Voddie Baucham Jr., Steve Lawson, H.B. Charles, and others like these who stand up, and faithfully declare the truth. There is nothing that stirs the conscience, and the Spirit like hearing God’s word faithfully explained, and heralded. There is nothing that produces joy in the Lord like God’s word being explained, and heralded. This is where we find strength, this is how we overcome.
There will be times of weakness, there will be times of wandering. What helps us overcome, and what helps us return, is the joy of the Lord produced by the faithful declaration of God’s word. This will never change.
“Joy in the Lord is one of the best preparations for the trials of this life. The cure for care is joy in the Lord.” — Charles Spurgeon