And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. – Neh 8:1 (KJV)
In Nehemiah 8, the people gathered to hear and be taught as Ezra the priest read the law. I realized, as I read about the people in Ezra, that the Holy Spirit was not with them. From Adam to Jesus the people lived without The Comforter (I can’t imagine what that was like). The gravity of what Ezra shared from God made many weep because they were without comfort.
Sometimes the law of God can be harsh. The path we are required to take, the intricacies of our journey to eternity inevitably contain some rough patches. Only God knows what He has ultimately willed for our lives. In my life, God has been gracious enough to give me knowledge of what is about to occur on many occasions. Often, He only provided an inkling of where I was headed. In those inklings, I’ve gotten the knowledge that the direction I was headed in wasn’t going to feel good. Those times brought sorrow. In them, I faced my humanity as it appears against the wisdom and greatness of God. Like the people, I wept but God sent instruction to do otherwise.
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Neh 8:10 (KJV)
I’m so grateful for the atonement of Jesus and that he was mindful enough of me to leave The Comforter. Even when the news we receive is enough to drive us to tears God says keep moving forward. No matter how dark the day, the joy of the Lord is our strength. There’s nothing stronger.