Tears and Joy
Today’s scripture selection: Nehemiah 5-9
Key verses: Nehemiah 8:1
“All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.”
When the people were finally settled back home, after years of captivity and restoring their homeland; they gathered for a very special service. Ezra, who had led the spiritual revival of the nation during these years, did the reading. And the people wept when they heard it. They realized how far they were from obeying the laws recorded there.
But then Ezra, and Nehemiah the governor, told the people “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” It was time to finally celebrate, even as they re-dedicated themselves to following God’s instruction for them.
It strikes me that there is this combination of tears and joy at this important juncture in the people’s history. In our lives, it’s good that there is a similar balance.
On the one hand, when we realize we are far from God’s wishes for us, it should sadden us and bring us to prayerful repentance.
On the other hand, when we realize how gracious God has been to us over the years; helping us when we couldn’t help ourselves; never giving up on us – well, that is cause for real joy.
So, right now, whether you are more inclined to cry or sing; whether you feel close to God or far from Him – remember – God loves you and is as close by as His Word.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your ever present guidance that at times leads us to tearful repentance; at other times leads us to joyful laughter. AMEN.