One thing to remember in this time set apart for remembrance is
“…the joy of ADONAI (Yahweh) is your strength
…” Nehemiah 8:10 CJB.
It was the first day of the seventh month and the people had gathered together
“with one accord…and asked Ezra the Torah-teacher to bring the scroll of the Torah of Moshe, which ADONAI had commanded Isra’el… he read from it to the men, the women and the children who could understand…Ezra blessed ADONAI, the great God; and all the people answered, “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted up their hands, bowed their heads and fell prostrate before ADONAI with their faces to the ground… “Today is consecrated to ADONAI your God; don’t be mournful, don’t weep.” For all the people had been weeping when they heard the words of the Torah…”Go, eat rich food, drink sweet drinks, and send portions to those who can’t provide for themselves; for today is consecrated to our LORD. Don’t be sad, because the joy of ADONAI is your strength.
In the midst of ruins being rebuilt the memory of how things had once been must have been vivid in their minds, Solomon's temple, the city of Jerusalem, a land flowing with milk and honey and how turning away from the very Torah being read brought destruction and exile.
Maybe their thoughts went back further to another speaking of Torah by Yahweh at Sinai before a gathered together people who inherited a promised land and memories of how those people were prone to stray and suffered because of it.
Or even further to creation and how disobedience resulted in exile from the Garden for those at that time.
Those thoughts and who knows what others, brought them to tears. Were they thinking “Look what we’ve come to. What a miserable state of affairs. What now?”?
But Ezra, Nehemiah and the L’vi’im told them no, that this was a set apart day for Yahweh. This was to be a holy day, not a day of sadness, a day to celebrate.
They were made to understand the words that had been proclaimed to them and so “…the people went off to eat, drink, send portions and celebrate…” Nehemiah 8:12 CJB.
Maybe what they saw and understood in the words proclaimed to them was God’s faithfulness to His desire that they be His people and He be their God and that it was his joy to bring that about.
So, In spite of the memory of God’s blessings towards them and their continual falling away, there they were, returned to the land, returning to Yahweh’s Ways, rebuilding homes, walls, and the temple, being positioned to once again be fruitful and multiply. Maybe they understood that, hope was born and it turned their mourning into dancing.
Well here we are. The first day of the seventh month is upon us. It is a day of complete rest for, among other things, remembering. Remembering may lead to mournfulness and tears, just as it did then, but we in covenant with Him, we have the benefit of His forgiveness. He has not changed. It is still His purpose and joy that we be His people and He be our God. We need not be downhearted.
His joy is our strength. It is His gift to us when we take joy in Him.
Father, You are so good.
Help us to remember the things we have done wrong Father, right along side of the forgiveness You grant to our repentant hearts.
May our joy, because of that forgiveness, outweigh the guilt we feel for our wrong doings.
May we continue to grow as a people in whom You are well pleased.
May it be that You take joy in us and grant us strength in all circumstances as we take joy in You…Father we pray,
In Yeshua’s name,
May God’s love be in us all.