After the wall was rebuilt in the book of Nehemiah, the Israelites began to move back into Jerusalem and settle into towns.
One of the first things they did after getting settled was join together and ask Ezra to read from the Book of the Law of Moses.
As he read and they began to understand the messages from God and how far they had strayed from God's law, they began to cry.
Nehemiah told them "Don't weep. This is a sacred day!"
So the people went away to rejoice, because they "had heard God's Words and understood them!"
In the next chapter of Nehemiah, the people come back together and I love the series of events that takes place.
First the people begin to go over the law in greater detail.
Then they discover what the Lord had commanded them to do long ago.
And then I love what it says next.........
"The people went out" and did exactly what the law said to do.
Then it says, "They were filled with great joy!"
I don't know about you, but I struggle to always be the person God's Word calls me to be.
I fall short time and time again.
Sometimes I fall so short that like the Israelites, I cry.
But what power awaits me and you if we realize that when we read God's Word and understand our flaws, it is time to celebrate.
Because with the understanding comes a chance to do something!
I want to be like the Israelites who went away rejoicing and then returned to study more closely exactly what they needed to do next.
And then do it!
I want God's Word to continually change me into the person God wants me to be.
I am on a journey.
So are you.
The destination is Heaven.
Our map is the Bible and when we read it, we get the next bit of direction....
the next turn in our walk with God.
We are not all at the same place, but we are all "some place" on the road.
I tend to look around at who is with me on the journey instead of ahead at who is leading me.
I tend to compare my steps to those beside me instead of to the footsteps of Jesus right in front of me.
I tend to trip and stumble because I look down at the path with all of it's bumpy patches instead of looking up and realizing that God is ahead of me "smoothing the rough road."
I want to run on this journey, not stagger along barely making it.
Yes, life is stressful.
Yes, jobs are demanding.
Yes, people are disappointing.
Yes, things don't always come easy.
Jesus set a powerful example of what it means to live a life with great significance.
He walked to Calvary for us, and I'm just thinking that His path was a lot more difficult than any we have walked.
So, as you open God's Word remember this.
It may cause you to cry.
But then rejoice because it has moved you.
Then study it more.
Do what it says.
Be filled with joy.
And keep striving to be exactly who God longs for you to be!
Have a happy Thursday!