The Joy Of The Lord Is My Strength


We’ve probably heard the term “the joy of the Lord is my strength” a number of times. But sometimes when we say it, we fail to actually convince ourselves because we don’t fully understand the meaning behind those words.

What do those words signify? How did they come about? What exactly is the ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength’ meaning?

What Is The Bible Verse The Joy Of The Lord Is My Strength?

The ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength’ scripture is Nehemiah 8:10. Backing up a little, we see that Nehemiah and the people of Israel had just gotten home after their 70-year exile. Their country Israel was in ruins. But first, they gathered to read the Law and by doing so, they realized just how much they had broken it and how sinful they and their fathers had been to be sent into exile. And because of this, they wept. The conviction of their sins hit them hard.

Imagine how it must have felt for them. It was as if after hearing the Law they had just realized the full extent to which their fathers had disobeyed and despised God. Even though they were God’s special people, they disregarded Him and tried to live on their own terms in the worst manner possible. They mourned over their disobedience and must have wondered if their relationship with God had been broken forever. They must have wondered if they could ever start again when their land was so desolate.

But see what happens next;

“Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 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.” 

Nehemiah 8:9-10

How beautiful is this story? God tells them not to grieve anymore. Their repentance had reached heaven and God’s response was for them to go celebrate and be joyful.

What Does The Joy Of The Lord Mean?

To the Israelites at that time, what Nehemiah said might have sounded a tad bit strange in the middle of their weeping. But God was trying through Nehemiah, to help them understand that though the guilt, sorrow and doubt they had because of their sins were plausible, He was ready to help them begin again. He was admonishing them not to grieve anymore but be strengthened by the joy that comes from the realization that He the Lord, was with them and was guiding them.

Nehemiah might have just said, “Come on now guys, eat and share with those who don’t have. Don’t cry anymore, be joyful!” But God was simply saying “Even though you sinned and were thrown into exile, you are still my people, and I am still your God. Rejoice! Today is important to me because you have come back to me again”. Oh the graciousness of God!

How relieving it must have felt to know that God didn’t hold their errors against them. His mercy provoked a kind of joy that strengthened them to begin to build again. Not just their city this time, but also their relationship with Him.

The joy of the Lord is the joy that God Himself gives. It is untouched by circumstances and uplifts our spirits even in the darkest times.

Why Is God’s Joy Important?

The joy of the Lord is so vital for us because every other happiness doesn’t come close. The joy that we derive from food, money, loved ones, or activities never lasts. Material things can always disappear and our loved ones can leave us. Tough times may even make us forget the happiness these things once gave us. But the joy that God gives is constant because God Himself doesn’t change. This joy comes from deep within us.

Zephaniah 3:17 says,

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs”

This simply means that God rejoices over us, and because of His love for us and His joy in us, He will help us overcome our fears. His joy is exactly the grace we need to carry us through those hard times and according to 2 Cor 12:9, it is always sufficient for us.

How Do You Receive The Joy Of The Lord?

The Israelites were mourning over their inadequacies and failure to keep the Law they were given, but when they were told to eat and rejoice, they trusted those words and obeyed. From Nehemiah 9-13 and beyond, we see how they indeed ended up building Israel again, strengthened by the joy of the Lord.

This means that we receive the joy of the Lord by believing His Word over our feelings. When He says we are loved when we feel condemned, we have to believe it. When He says we are wealthy even though it’s hard to afford meals, we believe it. When He says we are healed even if we don’t feel like it, hallelujah! We believe it!

Prayer About Being Strengthened By The Joy of the Lord

Dear God,
Thank you for your presence. Thank you for the gift of your joy that gives us strength. Restore to us the joy of our salvation and help us be aware of how the enemy is robbing us of joy. Help us not to depend on other people and things to bring us joy but to know that your grace is sufficient in all our hardships.
Holy Spirit, lead us and speak to our hearts as we go through life together.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Final Thoughts

The Lord’s joy cleans guilt and shame and has even taken away the death we deserve for our sins. So when we say that the joy of the Lord is our strength, we mean that the joy that we have because of God gives us the grace to overcome all our difficulties.