Sermon: (November 22, 2015) “A Time For Joy”
Date: November 22, 2015
Speaker: Steve Elliott
Text: Nehemiah 8:1-12
“It is not laughter that is the sign of life, but tears. In effect, this world turns crying and being into synonyms. I cry, therefore I am.” -Calvin Miller, The Valiant Papers
Ezra’s work at spiritual renewal in the city goes hand in hand with Nehemiah’s tangible renewal of the city.
They wanted to hear not just what God told Nehemiah about rebuilding the wall, but about what God would say to them about rebuilding a relationship with him.
… so over exposed to a world without God, that their souls were too dry to cry.
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” -Pierre Chardin (1881-1955)
“…there is a famine in the land, not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of the hearing of the words of the Lord.” Amos 8:11-12
We gain strength to walk every day from the joy of the Lord … the joy he takes in us.
The truth that finds these repatriated Jews in Nehemiah 8 is this: though they have forgotten God, he has not forgotten them.
A significant key to arriving at joy is to remember that our focus is to be on God and his grace to us and not on ourselves.
The key to joy is not found in prolonged, introspective self-consideration but prolonged Savior consideration.
“I am being held up, but I am also being held together. It seems like there is a kind of deep joy that is steadying my heart. I didn’t expect this. I didn’t go looking for it. It sorta came and found me.”
The blessing is not in the act of mourning but in the comforting God gives.