Revival means “to live again” or “to give life again.”
Apply that to joy—“to live in joy again” or “to give joy to life again.”
Sounds pretty good, huh?
If you agree, consider this tidbit from Nehemiah . . .
“… the joy of the Lord is your strength … And all the people went … to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.” (Nehemiah 8:10b, 12)
See the double reference to joy and rejoicing?
The “joy of the Lord” could mean either: a) the joy the Lord possesses (it is the Lord’s own joy) or b) the joy the Lord gives (the joy the Lord distributes). I suggest Nehemiah has the latter in mind.
So how does the Lord intend to give or distribute this joy that only He can give?
Look at this in context. We have set before us in the middle of Nehemiah the pattern for revival among God’s people:
- God’s Word proclaimed to and understood by the people. (Neh. 8)
- Confession and repentance of the sin exposed by God’s Word. (Neh. 9)
- A new commitment to obedience. (Neh. 10)
Chapter 8, then, concludes by reminding us that all of this flows from joy—freshly out-poured joy! Such joy arises from experiencing God’s voice from His written Word with clarity and understanding.
Two principles emerge …
- Strength is in direct proportion to joy.
- Joy is in direct proportion to hearing God’s voice with understanding.
So what would be the pathway to joy?
The pathway to a revival of joy might look like this:
God’s Word → heard with understanding → produces joy → providing strength to change and live differently
If I am weary and powerless, I need joy.
If I need joy, I need to hear God with understanding.
When you need joy, the world says, “Indulge yourself!” God says, “Listen to me.”
When joy recedes the world says, “Be yourself!” God says, “Draw near to me.”
The world diagnoses joylessness and prescribes listening to your desires. God spots your joylessness and moves toward you, inviting you to listen to Him.
So you want more joy? What does God’s Word suggest you do to revive joy in your life? How will you take that step toward joy?