"The whole company that had returned from exile built temporary shelters and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great" (Nehemiah 8:17).
Have you ever felt that you were in a season of life where you saw your greatest celebrations in the past rather than in the present or the future? Have you experienced a time where it seemed as though your experiences were limited to pain, discouragement, loneliness, worry, and the like? You're not alone.
The Jewish exiles, exiled due to their grave disobedience to the LORD, had now been led back to praising, worshiping, and hearing the reading and teaching of the Word of God. Hearing again the statutes and precepts of God, they were reminded of how far they had fallen. This, along with their hearts of brokenness and longing to be reconciled with God, led them to repentance and great mourning. Nehemiah, however, instructed them to rejoice!
In response to his instruction, and in accordance to what the Law prescribed during this season of the Feast of Tabernacles, they constructed shelters. These shelters were a part of this great feast celebrating God's divine deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage. Instead of being discouraged about where they were now, they began to rejoice of what God ha done before, in faith, believing He would do it again. They had NOT celebrated like this!
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get discouraged about how things can be? What's not so easy, but necessary, is to remember what God has done in our lives: how's He has delivered us; how He has come through for us; and the fact that He is faithful, unchanging, unending, and unstoppable. He is our joy, ant that joy is the strength that keeps us walking the steps that He has already paved the way for!
Remember this today: This is the day that God has made! Choose to rejoice and be glad in it! Celebrate Who God is, what He has done, and that He is still right there with you. That's reason enough to celebrate again!