Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV)
As a side note the holy day that Nehemiah is referring to is the Feast of Tabernacles is a time of joyous celebration as the Israelites celebrated God’s continued provision for them in the current harvest and remembered His provision and protection during the 40 years in the wilderness. It is also most likely that this is when Jesus was born and when Jesus will come back at the “second coming”. The Feast of Tabernacles is also one of the seven feasts that God appointed Israel to keep (they are not made up by the Jews) in Leviticus chapter 23.
Now back to our study, In Nehemiah 8:10 we see a group of people listening to Ezra as he opens the scroll of Exodus and reads the section of the 40 years in the desert when he finishes the people begin to cry and mourn but Nehemiah stands up and says “Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV).
We may not be happy when the hard, difficult and sad days come and they will, but we can still have “Joy” for the joy of the Lord is your strength! God promises that His joy will carry us through no matter what the situation or circumstance may be. The song “Joy Comes in the Mourning” is found in Psalm chapter 30:5 and I encourage you to read the entire chapter because it will encourage you and give you strength as we follow Jesus day by day.
Please sing both songs and let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart the message that is in these songs.
But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.
Galatians 5:22–23, TPT.
Joy is an internal feeling of great pleasure. The difference between joy and happiness is that joy is internal; happiness comes from external things that make us feel good—a kind letter, a raise in pay, a compliment. Joy, however, is internal. This pleasure flows from voluntarily refusing to point the finger at someone else. It is an act of the will.
When I refuse to point the finger—difficult though it may sometimes be—the result is sooner or later the same: joy. Internal pleasure. I feel good that I resisted pointing the finger. It is as though the Spirit rewards me for keeping no record of wrongs. But as I said before, one may experience joy by refusing to complain or not giving in to any temptations of the flesh.
Like love, joy can come either by an act of the will (as I’ve just described) or spontaneously. Years ago, I experienced spontaneous joy while driving my car from Palmer, Tennessee, to Nashville. It is quite impossible to describe. It was truly “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8, KJV). It lasted a good while, but one day—suddenly—it ended. After that I had to get my joy from voluntarily, actively, and intentionally overlooking faults in others that bother me. Or refusing to grumble. Or not speaking evil of another person—even if what I might have said was true! One can state what may well be true about another, but we will grieve the Spirit if our motive is to make another look bad.
Now you understand what I meant when I said that the fruit of the Spirit is sometimes spontaneous and sometimes by an act of the will. However, as I said, it is because you have the Holy Spirit that you can produce the same fruit by an act of your will.