Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Today’s verse comes on the heels of the return to Jerusalem of some of the Israelites from captivity in Babylon. Ezra, the priest, was working to restore the people’s worship of the one true God. He reinstituted the feasts and celebrations meant to call God’s people to remember His goodness and he taught the people God’s Word. The people were so overwhelmed after hearing God’s Word that they wept. It had been so long since they had heard God’s Word, listened and obeyed the teachings. But Nehemiah calls them to rejoice – to celebrate – to call the day holy because God’s Word was again leading the way for them. He didn’t want them to dwell on where they had been but to fix their eyes on what God was doing among them right then and to celebrate His continued faithfulness.
What a great reminder for us that God is with us in our “now” too. His Word is alive for us and carries truth and hope and salvation… giving us every reason to celebrate!