Nehemiah 8:10 Scripture Art - The joy of the Lord is your strength

~ Today’s Scripture Art of Nehemiah 8:10 and Bible blog post were designed to help you make the joy of the Lord your strength. ~

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Do you love Bible searching as much as I do?

If your answer is “I wish” then you will definitely want to keep reading because today’s post will help you get there!

This year I have been reading – and Scripture-writing – through the Bible (see video) and I just finished the book of Nehemiah.  

One of my favorites!

Tucked into the middle of the book of Nehemiah, in the middle of a chapter, in the middle of a sentence, is a small part of a verse that caught my eye.  

It sent me searching for answers. 

And guess what I found? An amazing incentive that will make you want to start Bible searching!

How to make the joy of the Lord your strength - Nehemiah 8:10
*Purchase this ^ printable HERE.

Here’s the piece of the verse that started it all:

Nehemiah 8:10b (ESV): the joy of the Lord is your strength. 

Does that catch your eye too? Gimme some of that, right?

I could use some extra strength!

Maybe the Sunday School song of this verse started running through your head. You’re welcome. 

Actually, it’s not a bad song to have stuck in your head! 

But as I read all of chapter 8, I had a bunch of questions swirling in my mind along with that song. 

Practical questions like: Does the Lord just give that strength or do I need to take part in making that happen?

Let’s go Bible searching to see what we can find.

Nehemiah 8:10 Watercolor Scripture Art

How to Make the Joy of the Lord Your Strength

Notice the whole verse:

Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV): Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

When read by itself, this verse probably makes you wonder what all those various things have to do with each other.  

Or you might question whether it’s okay to grieve. 

Just FYI, Jesus answers that one by example …

John 11:35 (ESV): Jesus wept.

My point is that it’s imperative to read this verse in its context.

That’s one of the many perks of reading straight through the Bible like I’m doing this year – it ensures reading every verse in context. 

The joy of the Lord is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10 Scripture Art

So let me fill you in on the backstory before we zoom in on the joy of the Lord. 

The story begins with God showing off by helping rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in a record 52 days.

Nehemiah 6:15-16 (CSB): The wall was completed in fifty-two days, on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul. When all our enemies heard this, all the surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence, for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God.

Then Nehemiah summoned all the people to come back.

Nehemiah 7:6 (NLT): Here is the list of the Jewish exiles of the provinces who returned from their captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had deported them to Babylon, but now they returned to Jerusalem and the other towns in Judah where they originally lived.

Nehemiah 8:10 Bible Art

Chapter 8 opens with the people gathering together and asking Ezra to read the Book of the Law of Moses.

Now keep in mind that most had grown up in Babylon and were probably hearing this for the first time. (Can you imagine?!)

Nehemiah 8:3 (CSB): While he was facing the square in front of the Water Gate, he read out of it from daybreak until noon before the men, the women, and those who could understand. All the people listened attentively to the book of the law.

Wow. When was the last time you were attentive to the Word of God for 5 straight hours? {grin}

We laugh about that, but honestly … I personally think we would do well to take note.

Not only were they attentive for 5 hours, but verses 5 and 7 tell us that they stood up for the reading – in between bowing down and worshiping the Lord. 

For five hours.

That’s how they felt about God.

How to make the joy of the Lord your strength.

They exhibited true humility, repentance, and gratitude to their great God. 

Which brings us to the verse right before today’s verse.

Nehemiah 8:9 (ESV): And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law.

It was obvious that they were repentant. 

The Word of God should cause obvious repentance in us too. 

So why did Nehemiah ask them not to grieve?

Nehemiah 8:10-11 (ESV): Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” 

For that question I turned to my Bible’s study notes which said …

“Nehemiah’s command seems baffling since the leaders would have been encouraged by the contrition and repentance of the people. However, this dedication of the wall occurred on the “first day of the seventh month” during the New Year celebration. The feast days were to be days of joy (Lev. 23:24, Deut. 12:12) not mourning.”

They were simply obeying the very law they were reading.

Nehemiah 8:10 Bible Verse Calligraphy

Now we can zoom in on the part of verse 10 that caught my eye. 

Again, let’s ask our practical question …

How exactly can we make the joy of the Lord our strength?

What is that supposed to look like?

As I kept reading, a definite theme became clear in both chapters 8 and 9 – and I think that theme is the key to answering our question. 

Take a look at a few verses to see what I mean. 

Nehemiah 8:12 (ESV): And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

Nehemiah 8:18 (CSB): Ezra read out of the book of the law of God every day, from the first day to the last. The Israelites celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the ordinance.

Nehemiah 9:3 (CSB): While they stood in their places, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day and spent another fourth of the day in confession and worship of the Lord their God. 

Did you see the same theme I saw?

God’s Word. 

When asking our favorite question (How?), I think that theme is key. 

How do we make the joy of the Lord our strength – practically speaking?


What if I don't like Bible study? Jeremiah 15:16
*Purchase this ^ printable HERE.

Jeremiah 15:16 (ESV): Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name,

His words become a joy and a delight – after we “eat” them.

Psalm 1:2 (ESV): but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

When we love God’s Word and dwell in it, that will be our strength. 

Psalm 119:111 (ESV): Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.

To recap: dwelling in God’s Word = abiding in Christ, which produces joy and that joy in the Lord will be your strength.

Colossians 3:16 (ESV): Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:16 Scripture Art
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Those who go through tough times without dwelling in God’s Word are missing out.

The strength we need is easily acquired!

It might take a little time, but it’s as close as your Bible.

Kelly Minter wrote one of my favorite Bible studies: Nehemiah, A Heart That Can Break, and she hits the nail on the head with …

“The Lord had given His Word to them, and it was far from obsolete or impractical to their daily lives. It wasn’t a word set apart for a Sabbath reading that only had application for the 45 minutes you were sitting in a pew. The people were deeply aware that they were to live every moment of their lives by God’s words. They didn’t have the sacred/secular divide to which we are accustomed today; they recognized that ordinary life was to be inspired and directed by the rule and reign of God.”

I’ll close with one more thought-provoking question.

For those of us who feel our ordinary lives don’t have a single extra second to read the Bible, let’s ask ourselves how much time we spend watching TV, checking email, and scrolling social media each day.

Five hours?

*My prayer for you is … that this blog will inspire you to open your Bible every single day to seek God’s face and write His Word on your heart – because HE’S the key to lasting heart change!

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