Every true turning to the Lord brings abiding joy into the life. When a sinner yields to the influence of the Holy Spirit, he sees his own guilt and defilement in contrast with the holiness of the great Searcher of hearts. He sees himself condemned as a transgressor. But he is not, because of this, to give way to despair; for his pardon has already been secured. He may rejoice in the sense of sins forgiven, in the love of a pardoning heavenly Father. It is God’s glory to encircle sinful, repentant human beings in the arms of His love, to bind up their wounds, to cleanse them from sin, and to clothe them with the garments of salvation” – Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 668.
On what conditions may you experience “the joy of the LORD” (Neh. 8:10) as your strength? That is, is there something that we have to do in order to experience the power of God and His forgiveness in our lives? If so, what?
How do we find the right balance in mourning over our sins and yet, at the same time, rejoicing in the Lord? Are not these contradictory to each other? How do the law and gospel together provide the answer? (See Rom. 3:19-24).
Read Nehemiah 8:10, in which Nehemiah says to the people, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength”. Eat the fat, drink the sweet, provide for those whom nothing is prepared — and do all this because the “day is holy to our LORD”? What does this teach us about ways in which we can rejoice in the Lord? What does the fact that it is “holy” mean in this context?