Dr. Lynn Shmidt – “From Weeping to Joy”
“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’” -- Nehemiah 8:10
Reading and understanding God's Word brings joy. When the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem was complete, the people of God gathered around Ezra the scribe to listen to him read God's Word. They stood all day in honor of the Word as Ezra read, worshipped God through uplifted hands, and shouted "Amen." The Levites passed among the worshippers to explain the meaning of the scripture, and exhorted the people to stopping weeping over their sinfulness and to rejoice in the Lord as their strength.
Hearing and understanding God's Word is a necessary step toward living one's life fully in the grace of God. And here we must turn to the New Testament to listen to Paul, who says, "We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin" (Romans 6:6-7). As the Old Testament gives understanding of sinfulness, the good news of the New Testament adds much profounder meaning to the "joy of the Lord" by revealing Christ who carries our burdens and forgives our sins.
- Dr. Lynn Shmidt, Professor of Christian Studies & Philosophy