And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. (Ne 8:9 NKJV)
It is not surprising that the people were weeping & mourning when they heard the words of the Law being read by Ezra this day. It was a sacred moment and a life-changing experience for the listeners present. They could have been thankful that their city wall was finally constructed. Perhaps they realized just how sinful they had become over the years and the punishment they deserved from God.
Think back to the last time you were emotionally impacted by either the spoken or written word. What sparked the emotion in you? Was it thankfulness or conviction? Words are powerful because no matter where they come from, they speak into our lives. God's words are the most powerful of all because they convict us of wrongdoing, comfort us in our sorrows, and create hope in our circumstances.
Hearing God's truth with respect to our personal lives is oftentimes hard to digest. We don't like to hear how we've been wrong and necessary life changes may seem too monumental a task. However, God is not asking us to change in our own strength. We need not be overwhelmed. When Nehemiah, Ezra and the priests exhorted the people to quit crying, they made sure to tell them why they should as they proclaimed ""Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Ne 8:10 NIV).
The Israelites had help to change and so do we. God graciously extends forgiveness and provision to those who diligently seek to follow his ways. He can be all that we need if we rely upon him. This is the joy of the Lord.
Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them. For more information, visit her at www.purposefulpartnerships.com.