Scripture reading for May 26th: Job 39-42, Psalm 1
Key Scriptures: Job 42:1-6 “Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures My counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
When God came and confronted Job in answer to his request, God’s questions for Job caused him to humble himself and repent of his own questions and lack of understanding. Job took responsibility for his own sins and recognized that his nature was dust and ashes!
Thankful for conviction: The Gospel confronts us with knowledge of God and conviction of our own sinful ways, providing Christ’s mercy as the way of escape! “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” (2nd Corinthians 7:10-11)
Scripture reading for May 12th: Nehemiah 8:2-10:39
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
After rebuilding the walls, Ezra and Nehemiah had a great church service. They brought out the book of the Law of Moses and began reading it to all who had gathered inside the walls near a high wooden platform built for this sacred occasion. Ezra the priest mounted the platform and those who would help with translation stood with him. When he opened the Book, all the people stood in reverence. (Nehemiah 8:4-5) Ezra praised the Lord and the people responded with “Amen! Amen!” and bowed in worship. As the word was read, the teachers instructed the people and made the meaning clear to them. The people began to understand what God had said and how they had failed to follow God’s word. This triggered emotions and conviction in the people and many began to weep and mourn.
Why did Nehemiah tell the people not to grieve and weep before the Lord? I thought that repentance was needed and that God would be pleased to see them with broken hearts for their sins. Godly sorrow that leads to true change is commended in Scripture. (2nd Corinthians 7:8-11) Nehemiah actually sent the people away to enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and share with those who didn’t have any. He told them that the joy of the Lord would be their strength! (Nehemiah 8:9-10)
Joy always follows true understanding of the grace and mercy of God. Joy is the result of God’s mercy being revealed to us as a gift to be received by faith. As the people understood God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness for them, they could celebrate as people who were forgiven. The Book of the Law revealed this mercy and love of God. They could celebrate it’s restoration to their lives and to the lives of their children.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit of God. (Galatians 5:22) New Testament believers can enjoy the Lord’s promise of joy as a fruit of abiding in Him and His word abiding in us. When we understand God’s word and promises, the joy of the Lord becomes our strength! The Holy Spirit comes into us upon our conversion and marks us internally. We have God’s law written on our hearts and the Spirit gives us understanding of God’s word. We can have this same joy for our strength, too! “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13