Nehemiah 8:9-12 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. 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.” 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.
Ezra the priest gathered the people of God so that he might read to them the words of God. There were other men in the gathering who explained the meaning of the words spoken by Ezra. When the people understood, they came under great conviction of sin. Nehemiah, the cup bearer and governor, did not want the Sabbath day to be a day of mourning and weeping. So he tells the people to begin a feast supplied with good food and drink. He tells them to invite those less fortunate to the feast and serve them as the least of these. He then commands the people of God to get control over their emotions and choose joy rather than grief. I am reminded of Proverbs 16:32 which tells us the person who rules his spirit is better and has more might than the one who conquers the strongest city.
The people of God ought to have such control over their emotions that we can command our own souls to grieve not and choose joy.
For the joy of the Lord is our strength!