NEHEMIAH 8:9-12: “And Nehemiah, who was the governor,a 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 nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.”

OBSERVATION: How do we view the Word of God? Is it a book of rules and commands that reveal our sinfulness and call us to a life that we never can attain? Or, is it a book that leads us into the fulness of life that God desires to give us? The answer is the latter. God’s Word is meant to be spirit and life. If that is true, then why do we so often respond to God’s Word like the children of Israel did when Ezra and the Levites read it to them?

I think it is because we misunderstand and confuse conviction with condemnation. Romans 8:1 is clear – “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” Yet, there is conviction. Conviction is the inner call to repentance that is a natural response whenever that which is imperfect looks into that which is perfect. The Law of the Lord is perfect – converting the soul. God’s Word brings conviction because when we look into it we see our sinfulness and need. Yet, it is not meant to condemn us, but it is given to call us to run to the Lord for His Mercy and Grace. It is meant to produce godly sorrow which ushers us into life!

“Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” (‭II Corinthians‬ ‭7‬:‭9-11‬ NKJV)

Godly sorrow brings us to Jesus, the source of our life! The flip side of godly sorrow is JOY! When we turn to the Lord, He brings His forgiveness and cleansing to our lives. We are then given a capacity to hear and understand the full intent of His Word to us. We see that His Word is the pathway of life – through the Spirit. It is not something that we can attain to in our own strength, but it is something that He is working in us through the indwelling power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells each one of us – “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭9-11‬ NKJV)

So, like the Israelites who heard the Word of God – Lord, let me hear Your Word and enter into Your Joy! Today is not a day of mourning, it is a day to rejoice! As I run to You I see that Your arms are wide open and inviting me into Your presence, into Your love, into Your JOY! This is the source of my strength! Thank you for the conviction that comes to my heart and leads me from brokenness to healing, from bondage to freedom, and from sorrow to joy. May I respond to Your Word always with an open heart and may I long for Your Words of Life each and every morning! In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
This entry was posted in Nehemiah. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s