“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.’”
Chapter 8 brings us to the climax of the book of Nehemiah. After the grueling task of building the walls was completed, the people gathered together to celebrate the Lord. Ezra the priest, stood on the a stage and began reading and explaining the Word of God. One by one the people began to weep as their sins were exposed in light of the Word.
I find it interesting that Nehemiah told the people not to weep. In essence, he was saying this was not a day to weep, but to rejoice. His reason, this was a holy day. The word holy carries the idea of separation. This day was to be dedicated to the Lord, and instead of sorrowing over past failures, they should be celebrating the work of God. There is nothing more worthy of our celebration than when a person turns to Christ. The Bible teaches us, when that happens, sins are forgiven, eternal life is granted, and the work of the Spirit begins transforming us into the image of Christ.
While it is important that we realize our sins and turn from them, it is also important that we move past them into the wonderful mercy of God. As long as we let the past hold onto us, we will be hindered from moving forward in the Lord. It is time to let go of our failures, trust the mercy of the Lord, and move into the life He has written for us.