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The Joy of the LORD is my Strength
In last week’s study we looked at some of the dynamics of a warriors spirit, particularly how, “prayer, fasting and singing are more effective than anger, logic and a sword”.
Often times we notice, in our study of Scripture, how principles in the spiritual realm are completely opposite to those of the natural.
World says, “work two jobs, cheat, steal, hoard”.
Scripture says, “tithe, give”.
World says, “separate, get even”.
Scripture says, “forgive, reconcile, bless”.
World says, “take medications, see a specialist”.
Scripture says, “call for the elders...lay hands...pray.”
With this understanding it’s not surprising to discover that a Christian warrior’s secret weapon for battle is joy.
In an epic passage of Scripture where in Joshua has been given the position of leadership over Israel, and is about to direct them into battle in the promised land, God speaks to Joshua, in chapter one, and says, three times, “Be strong and of good courage.”
Strength is a necessary component for battle.
Jesus said, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his goods. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” Lk. 11:21-23
In this passage Jesus had just cast out a demon. Notice the warlike language He uses to meet the skeptic's challenges.
In our opening passage, “the joy of the LORD is your strength” from Neh. 8:10, the returned exiles had come together in the open square to hear the Book of the Law read aloud. And they were grieved when they heard the reading. But vr. 9 “And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the LORD your God, do not mourn nor weep.’’’
The people mourned and wept because their transgression was great in comparison to the reading of the Law. But in the declaration of the Word of the LORD is also the presence of the LORD.
How much more do we have cause to rejoice, since the presence of God abides in us and with us.
Phil. 4:4,5, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”
As Christians we have a unique opportunity to rejoice. The fundamental questions of life, for us, are sufficiently answered.
Our destiny is secure: Gal. 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Our identity is established: I Cor. 3:22,23, “all things are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” Col. 3:4, “When Christ who is our life appears then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
Our sense of right and wrong is defined: Jos. 1:8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night…”
“God is for us… Rom. 8:31
We are loved. II Thes. 2:16,17, “Now may our Lord, Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”
These are established truths that we carry with us wherever we go, even into battle. When we rejoice, we confirm and magnify these truths, even in the midst of temporary hardships. We battle with this!