Do you think that God wants you to be happy? Why or why not?
In the Bible, the book of Nehemiah tells the story of how God’s people, the nation of Judah, came back to the Promised Land after their exile in Babylon. But when they returned the people were very sad because everything had been destroyed by the wicked Babylonians. No more temple, city, walls, houses, or palace. So Nehemiah gathered all the people together to listen to God’s word, the Bible. They read the stories of creation, and of the Exodus, and they read the laws of God.
Hearing he law of God made the people very sad. Why do you think they felt sad after hearing God’s law? When the people heard God’s laws they knew that they hadn’t loved God or each other as God commanded. But then Nehemiah told the people to stop being sad. He said go home and throw a big happy party. Eat, and drink, and share, and sing, and dance. Here’s what Nehemiah said to the people:
Nehemiah 8:10-12. 10 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.” 12 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.
But how can we have joy even when we’ve done bad things? How can we be happy, even when sad things happen? Because of Jesus. We can have God’s joy because we know that even when we sin, we are still loved and forgiven by God because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. We can be happy even when sad things are happening because we know that one day Jesus will make everything OK again. We can be happy because Jesus’ very sad death on the cross turned into his very happy resurrection from the dead.
Because of Jesus I know that everything sad will be made happy.
With Jesus I can be happy knowing that God always loves me no matter what.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Nehemiah told the people to go home and have a party celebrating God’s love and grace. So why not have a celebration together as a family. Talk about how God wants us to be full of joy knowing that he will always love and forgive us.
Jesus, you make God happy and you make me happy. Help me to be happy today knowing that you will always love me and forgive me. Amen.