Weeping to Joy


The books of Nehemiah and Ezra used to be one book. Somewhere along the line they got separated, but here in Nehemiah 8, we see Ezra show up. He’s reading the book of law to everyone.

Everyone has gathered on the first day of the seventh month, which is the Feast of Trumpets, a day they are supposed to gather for an assembly and do no work.

They learn about the Feast of Booths, which is also celebrated in the seventh month and they celebrate that.

But before they go their way rejoicing in celebration, they weep.

They heard God’s word and they realized how far they were removed from it. They wept. They had not kept God’s law.

When God shines His light in our heart and shows us something we’ve not been obeying or a way we’re grieving Him, it should grieve us. It should send us weeping before the throne of grace and mercy.

The word is a lamp to our feet; it is a light for us. It is one of the ways God uses to shine His light on our lives and reveal our sins.

That’s what’s happening here. They are reading God’s word and having it explained to them so that they can clearly understand it. Ezra was an expert in the law. He understood it well enough to explain it clearly to the people.

They see their sin and grieve. But what comes next?

When we weep before God, we receive the mercy we’re after. He is ready to pardon. He gives us the grace to turn from our sin and to walk in new life.

And we are filled with joy. We’ve received forgiveness and are filled with the Spirit, having our relationship with God strengthened, not harmed.

In this way, we walk in blamelessness and our relationship with God is never severed. Sin separates from God. Hell is eternal separation from God. If we are walking in sin, we’re walking into hell.

His blood covers sins we don’t realize we are doing. When He shines His light on something in our life that is not pleasing to Him, our relationship with God is not severed if it drives us to Him to confess and receive the grace and mercy we need. Then it doesn’t separate, but strengthens our relationship with Him. Our relationship is intact and we’re walking on the paths of righteousness to eternal dwellings.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (vs. 10) Rejoice in the God of your salvation!