When Ezra the scribe opened the Word of the Lord, the Law that Moses had given to the Israelites to observe, the people received it with reverence and worship, falling down on their faces in awe, crying, “Amen, amen!” When the Word was read and explained so that people might understand, its convicting power was present. The people started to weep and wail for they had not kept the Law. The first response to the Word is always repentance, turning away from our wicked ways and beginning to do the demands of the Law.
The Word of God is not only convicting, it is also liberating. When one understands the Word, there is hope for that person. Now he knows what the Lord requires of him and now he can begin to live that kind of life to make God happy. When God is pleased with us, our strength comes. If we do what the Lord tells us to do, His power and strength will be available to us. The key is to make God happy by doing what He commands us to do. An obedient Christian is a happy soul, with strength to live his life. So when you discover the Word of God, it is a day of rejoicing for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
The joy does not stop with feasting or the keeping of festivals, it is much deeper than superficial happiness. The purpose of the Law was to bring the Israelites into God’s rest as given to us on the Day of Sabbath. Because of repeated rebellion and stiffness of neck, the Israelites who went out of Egypt never made it to the rest of the Promised Land. Rebellion towards God robs us of the rest but when we know the Word of God and keep ourselves in it, we would experience rest. There is no need to seek any other people or way, we only need to seek the Lord through His Word. What a liberating thought that everything has been provided for us to live a life of godliness. Through obedience, we enter into rest.
The Word of God is powerful because it comes with the activity of the Holy Spirit, or the Good Spirit as mentioned here as one of the gifts from above. The Holy Spirit opens our hearts and teaches us not only to understand the Word but also gives us the power to observe it. Without the Holy Spirit, the reading of the Word is simply an academic pursuit. The Spirit convicts us, give us the understanding and the strength to do God’s will. Then we have joy and peace, resting in the hand of God.
Are you experiencing the joy of the Lord? Are you making God happy in what you do? Are you reading the Word and asking the Holy Spirit to teach you each day? If you are not experiencing rest, peace and joy, you need to go to the Word now. Make God happy and you will be happy. Pleasing the Lord is where your joy and rest come from.
Ps 88:1-7 Neh 7:61-9:21 1 Cor 9:1-18 Prov 21:11-12