Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 12: Starting Over, With Joy!

And Nehemiah 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 when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, “Go your way: eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing has been prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord, neither be sorrowful, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh. 8:9-10)

It’s normal for us as human beings to look back and feel the pangs of regret. One day we will find ourselves in the splendor of God’s presence and even there we will lament what we might have done in this life. On that day, it tells us, God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.

The first day of the seventh month was the Jewish New Year. We know it as Rosh Hashanah. It’s a day of introspection which begins ten days of awe and repentance leading up to the Day of Atonement. The people wept when they heard the law and realized how they had missed the mark. But the exciting news was that God would have none of their mourning and told them to dry their tears.

He called them to rejoice at the fresh start he was giving them as a people. He told them to take care of each other and rejoice in Him – for that joy would strengthen them as they continued to work to make their city whole.

(Note: today is the 1st of Tishri, 5769 on the Jewish Calendar, Rosh Hashanah.)

Father, we determine with Your help to put behind us the regrets, doubts, and self-imposed limitations of the past. We want to work in the new things You have for us, with joy in our spirits. Help us to do it!

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