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Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

"The Joy of the Lord is my strength" Nehemiah 8:10

This passage in scripture has always wondered me. What is this joy of the Lord and how is it my strength. I have been considering this for quite a while and after reading about joy and other scripture referring to joy, this is what I've come up with. The definition of joy found in the Miriam-Webster dictionary is: joy(noun)- the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight b: the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety2: a state of happiness or felicity : bliss3: a source or cause of delight. and joy(verb)- to experience great pleasure or delight : rejoice. Now lets look at the definition of strength: 1: the quality or state of being strong : capacity for exertion or endurance 2: power to resist force : solidity, toughness 3: power of resisting attack : impregnability 4 a: legal, logical, or moral force b: a strong attribute or inherent asset 5 a: degree of potency of effect or of concentration b: intensity of light, color, sound, or odor c: vigor of expression 6: force as measured in numbers : effective numbers of any body or organization 7: one regarded as embodying or affording force or firmness : support 8: maintenance of or a rising tendency in a price level : firmness of prices 9: basis —used in the phrase on the strength of .— from strength to strength : vigorously forward : from one high point to the next.

OK, now that we know the proper definition, how does this fit in with The joy of the Lord is my strength? First of all the joy of the Lord, I believe is His utter delight in who we are. His creation is His joy, He takes great pleasure in possessing US! that is the noun form, the thing His joy is. Now here comes the good part. Joy is also a verb, an action word. Because God is in such a state of joy, happiness and pleasure, He wants US to feel the joy too. So every time we move closer to Him, He shares more and more of His joy with us. When He is happy and satisfied, we are happy and satisfied.

How is His joy our strength? Well according to the definition, joy is an emotion evoked by the prospect of possessing what one desires. It is an expression of the emotion. A state of happiness and a source of delight. When we are walking closely with God and following His ways it gives Him great joy and He shares it with us. For us this joy translates to wanting more joy. It gives us the desire to keep going, to hang on, to endure and to persevere. We know how good it is here on earth to experience God's joy in us, and He has promised us eternal joy when we meet Him in Heaven. His joy is our prize, the great out pouring of His love to us. An experience we long for and thus it becomes our driving force, our strength.

Lord, I thank you that You take such pleasure in us. I thank You that we are fearfully and wonderfully made for Your joy. I thank you that You willingly share Your joy with us as we choose to follow You, giving us the strength to endure the trials set before us here on earth. Help us Lord to always seek to please you, to be Your joy. In Jesus' wonderful name. Amen

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