What does the joy of the Lord mean for the loyal follower of Jesus? It means we are a joyful people or at least we should be. Without question, it is a statement of deep meaning and significance for us, the children of God. One often overlooked under challenging times being blinded by our circumstances. It only takes a little for us to lose focus on what is essential. The joy of the Lord speaks to the understanding that there is a unique kind of joy that comes from knowing and serving God, one that is not found anywhere else in all creation.

For example, in Nehemiah 8:10, we read, “Then he said to them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I do like the context of this statement. God’s people have a job, and their enemies want to stop the work. So instead of calling them to a fast, they are called to a feast and a time of rejoicing. Having a feast in front of our enemies makes a statement. We are not afraid, for we trust in our God. An attitude like this reminds us of Psalm 23:5: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”

Even when we are face to face with the accuser rattling his saber, we have a table, a feast of joy as it were, to come to and rejoice in the darkest hour. We call it communion or the Lord’s Supper. Personally, I like to call it the feast of the sinner and a joyous occasion to celebrate Jesus. When the noise of war is raging all around us we can come again and again to the table of the Lord with thankfulness and praise, all the while finding rest for our weary souls. Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29–30) How can we not have joy when focused on Jesus and His great love for us?