And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said to all the people…
George Whitfield, it is said, once addressed a great gathering of colliers. As he discoursed to the rude, rough men who stood there in their working garb, and with unwashed faces, the Spirit of God touched their hearts. Tears filled their eyes and ran down their faces, making channels for themselves through the coal-dust there. And so here. As the priest made plain the Word of God, the people wept and could not help it. As Nehemiah saw them weep, he exclaimed, "Weep not," etc. "The joy of the Lord is your strength."
I. THERE IS JOY AND HAPPINESS IN LIVING WITH AND FOR GOD. I can well remember the first time I saw an engraving of the picture, "The Pursuit of Pleasure." In the picture was the beautiful figure of a woman, with butterfly wings gliding through space. Following hard after her were all ranks and conditions of men, so arranged by the artist as to suggest many forms of enjoyment and excitement, but all eager to get the goddess. In the haste and whirl, and rush, some had fallen and were trampled, but all who could were pressing on, eagerly on, to the abyss. Men pursue that goddess still, forgetting that peace, joy, real happiness, must arise from within, from the state of the mind and heart, from union with God and all that is purest and best men rush blindly off into a thousand outward diversions, all which fail to give rest to the troubled conscience, ease to the sore heart, or anything of the nature of permanent joy and happiness. This is only realised by those who will live with and for God.
II. THERE IS JOY IN WORKING FOR GOD.
1. All work for the good of man is work for God.
2. Those have greatest joy who work in a godly spirit, and put heart into their work.
3. God has a work for us all, and can give us joy in it. I know what it is to have the good word of one's fellow-men, to have the confidence of one's companions and helpers in toil, to have some of the honours which men have to bestow, to enjoy the comforts of home and to share the advantages and blessings of travel, but not all these equal the blessing which God gives me when I am used as the instrument to make one sad heart happy.
III. THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH.
1. In temptation.
2. In suffering and loss.
3. In all your life.
(Charles Leach, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
WEB: Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites who taught the people, said to all the people, "This day is holy to Yahweh your God. Don't mourn, nor weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.