Joy prescribed

“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.  This day is holy to our Lord.  Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’” Nehemiah 8:10.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Nehemiah 7-8, and Acts 1.

I tend to concentrate more on God’s justice than on His mercy.

I know the things He wants me to do and I am more than aware that I often fail Him.  He has reasons to be displeased with me.  I strive to make a just God happy.

But today’s verse gets beyond the “just” God to the God of “mercy.”

I must remember that I am loved by a God Who knows all my failures.  There is no logic to His love.  It is flat-out mercy and in that I can rejoice.

The Jews had heard the Law and realized how evil they had been in the sight of God.  They were weeping and mourning over their failures.  But Nehemiah moves them beyond that because they are now right with God. The Jews had recognized their sins and repented of them.  They can rejoice in their cleansed relationship with God.

And I need to follow the same pattern.  I must recognize my sins and repent of them but I can’t just wallow there.  I must realize that my sins are gone.  I must realize that the consequences of my sins have been taken care of by Jesus’s death.  I’m clean forever!  Hallelujah!

“Lord, forgive me for limiting my view of You to justice.  You are just but You are also merciful.  I fear Your justice but I rejoice in Your mercy to me.  I have won the lottery and I didn’t even buy a ticket!  You are amazing, Father.”

Knowing what I know about God’s mercy, why am I not happier?  Am I waiting to be happy when I earn God’s approval?  That’s not mercy.

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