Day 75: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 75: The Way Of The Warrior

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

The Way Of The Warrior

We noted in our last devotion, at the time of Nehemiah there was profound change for the people of Israel.  In Chapters 1-7, with Nehemiah’s leadership, the people reconstructed the wall around Jerusalem.  They finally experienced safety, which was needed for their next phase.  God desired to move the citizens of Israel to spiritual renewal.  The walls had been ruined more than 100 years, and the Israelites had been without resource, without needed leadership, without spiritual vitality.  The wall was built in 52 days! (Neh. 6:15).

Nehemiah, a Jew came from Persia and organized. We remarked earlier, that maximum impact for God’s work came from maximum involvement by God’s people.  Nehemiah led that endeavor.  Security was needed for reenergizing the people with spiritual vigor.  Never think at times of spiritual dearth that God is unaware or absent.  Spiritual languishing is a choice, not by the Lord, but by people.  People choose alternatives to the Lord.  People replace God with prosperity, careers, romance, drugs, food…choose the dream. They often will get short term rewards from those endeavors. But like natural law, the choices diminish in value.  Often, the most unhappy people are those who attain their ambitions, and find the thing attained lacked real, lasting worth.

The book of Nehemiah revealed the spiritual renewal of the citizens of Israel.  They had lost their spiritual focus and from chapter 8 forward, discloses that spiritual health requires as much work as the tedious work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.  Spiritual work is hard work.  Spiritual health does not naturally happen, it comes through intention, and initiative, and intense focus, just as the rebuilding walls had required.  Get used to it.  Spiritual life is not for the timid, it is for the robust, the driven person who chases the Lord. Of course, the irony is when you find that satisfaction in the Lord, you discover that he had been chasing you! …goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (Ps. 23:6).

When we viewed Nehemiah 8 we saw the people received the Word of God through its reading: And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. (Neh. 8:3).  Then we noted the people ‘blessed’ God (8:6a), giving the Lord affection, so God is positively affected.  Then: all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD.  (Neh. 8:6b)

This spiritual process brought the people to a heart attitude, of authentic reverence.  The people weren’t pretending, rather the people received a new perspective, a mind changing understanding: They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (8:8).  The people got the ah, ha moment! When one finally understands the Bible, and the mind opens to it, it is life changing.  It is not just intellectual understanding, it is a transcendent multi-dimensional thinking, that is God energized: how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matt. 7:11).  Genuinely pray for it, desire it, and He will grant it.

Then there was an emotional response. Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest …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. (Neh. 8:9).  Their response of weeping was authentic, but erroneous.  What they misunderstood was God is delighted by obedience, yet they were sad. They incorrectly believed they’d missed an opportunity.  Guess what?  You can misunderstand spiritual truth sometimes, and the Lord’s not wigged out.  He’s patient with you.

The spiritual leaders explained their misunderstanding: this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (8:10).  What a revolutionary concept!! The joy of the LORD is your strength.”  The Lord is good, he wants the best for you.  He is on your side, and he wants to bless believers.  Joy was emphasized, not dread.  Do you have joy of the LORD?  He’s an ally.  He’s your advocate.  He’s on your side!

The response of the Israelites when they understood the concept correctly? 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. (8:12).  They lived in spiritual error. They’d sincerely grieved but were wrong!  What a loss, to miss out on joy!

The Lord calls you to authentically enjoy Him!  This was not Super Bowl party rejoicing, it was fellowship with others, rejoicing in the goodness and blessings of a wonderful God.  Ever done that? God calls you to a mission of experiencing great joy!  It’s really, very cool.

Does it all end with, bubbling, effervescing joy? No.  After joy, you add more.

The heads of fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law. (8:13).  Study. This is not a tedious thing, to learn new things from the Word: Do your best [study] to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15).  Yeah, studying is rigorous, hard work, like building a wall — but rewarding.

That they should proclaim it and publish it in all their towns and in Jerusalem, (Neh. 8:15). Proclaim and publish the Word?  Simple, not easy. The directives were: rejoice, study, proclaim, publish.  This was just for the religious professionals – right?  No! Everyone!

Some might argue that this the Feast of Tabernacles they were celebrating was a feast of rejoicing.  I agree.  However, it also is a type of what the New Testament believer should be doing.  Paul gives the imperative: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Phil. 4:4).  Rejoicing should be natural in a believer’s life, not only for certain dates or times.

The people in Jerusalem built the wall, then rejoiced, then studied the Word, then proclaimed the Word, then published the Word.  This is the same mandate as modern believers.  You get to spread the good news, because bubbling out of you is joy.  You don’t study, proclaim, and publish out of duty.  When in the Marine Corps, I performed tasks when ordered.  My obedience was not from joy, but honor, or fear.  Christianity first infuses one with joy. This a bubbling vitality that prompts obedience because of the sheer delight of bringing glory to the Lord.  Launch into that lane of spiritual traffic. Pursue joy, then study, proclaim, and publish the Word.  That’s an easy formula.  Will you do it?

Is joy missing in your life?  Start simple.  Thank the Lord for his blessings.  Joy will grow.

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

I have missed for so long, this joy of the Lord.  Duty, responsibility, burden of spiritual life has been my function – not joy!  Thank you for alerting me to my spiritual error, when I’ve minimized the joy of the Lord.  Help me destroy the barriers I’ve erected, that did not let me experience the high-flying delight in spiritual truths.  I know joy is not ‘giddyness,’ rather a quiet satisfaction in glorious truths. I’ve ignored or minimized my joy in you.  Joy affirms to me a new appreciation of your glorious goodness, because of your authentic love for me.  You chased me down, because of your kindness, not because of my glittering attributes.  Thank you!

Please let: the joy of the LORD be my strength. (Neh 8:10).  I don’t know that I quite understand it but let me have a glimmering of understanding when it presents itself.  I want to be alerted to it.  Let it thoroughly minister to my heart, so I am immersed in your goodness, identifying this joy as it occurs.  As my understanding of joy in the Lord increases, let it buoy my spiritual and emotional life, so I live out of the bounty you pour into me.  Let my joy in you, be bigger and wider than an ocean, more expansive than our galaxy, so that I always live in it, never getting to the shoreline of despair.  Let me be alert to an eternal hope in the goodness of a holy God.  I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

Let's Talk

100% Confidential | Warrior-to-warrior

We respond within 24 hours and can provide community support, resources, and referrals.