A time of renewal, a time to wake up from the burdens, maybe even sadness that has hovered over your life.
I have been reading Isaiah 53 this week and it is the prophecy of the suffering that Christ would endure. It always amazes me how the Prophet Isaiah was given the message by God many, many years before Christ was even born, of how He was to suffer for our sins. These scriptures, among many, are proof that the Old and New Testaments are one Book of Truth from God; because as you read in the gospels of the New Testament, the prophecy was surely fulfilled in Christ's crucifixion.
And oh how Christ suffered for our sins, as Isaiah 53:4 states (New Living Translation):
"And yet it was OUR weaknesses that He carried, it was OUR sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins!" Then Verse 5 goes on to say "But He was pierced for OUR rebellion, crushed for OUR sins..."
He allowed them to lead Him to the cross as an innocent lamb to be slain for our weaknesses, our sins, our rebellion...because of His Love for us. After reading these scriptures I felt impressed by
God to read Psalms 21-23. and when I got to Psalms 23:3 this verse stood out "He restores my soul" (King James version.) But I like the New Living Translation that says "He renews my strength". God is in the "Renewing" business! LOL
In the book of Nehemiah, chapter 8 and the end of verse 10 it says "...the joy of the Lord is your strength." A familiar quote for some, but here is the background: Nehemiah along with Ezra was in Jerusalem during a time of the Feast of the seven months (the feast of the trumpets) and the people who were once exiles but now returned to Jerusalem, requested that Ezra read the Book of the Law. It was a custom to do so, but the custom had been lost with them being exiled from their home land. As Ezra read the Holy scriptures, the people were very moved and reminded of how far they had ventured from what God had said to them. It made them grieve because of their sins and hopefully they repented...and that is when Ezra, Nehemiah and the other Levites instructed the people not to grieve but to rejoice and celebrate on this holy day..."for the joy of the Lord is your strength!" These people that had been enslaved for many years...I'd say they were a little weak, wouldn't you say? They needed to be revived by the Word of God and in being so to celebrate!
Now THAT is renewal! God renews our strength through His joy...so He renews our joy! When I read how Jesus suffered, being rejected, curses hurled at Him, being spat upon, His flesh torn from His body, His beard torn from His face...He suffered unimaginable pain and grief...and not for anything He had done, but He allowed it willingly for you and me. Why? so that we can have the Joy of knowing the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords on a face to face basis, so that we can have the joy of knowing that we will go and live with Him one day, and that we can have the joy of living out this life here on earth. What a privilege and honor He has given us to wake up each day, with His new mercies and to be able to let the light that He has given to us, shine in this dark, sad world. He renews my joy and that gives me strength to face each day. I have known sadness, yes, but I know joy and I thank God for giving it to me.
Joy is something that you must choose each day to walk in. Our situations in life may not be conducive to happiness, but there is always joy. When I read about how Christ suffered for my sins, it grieves me, because it reminds me not only of His pain, but also, just as the Jews did in Nehemiah's time, it reminds me of how far I may have ventured from what He suffered and died for...my salvation. It causes me to take a long hard look at where I am right now and mercifully God gives me another chance to repent and get back on track, so that I can celebrate once again and have renewed strength and joy!
Spring time a season of renewal! A time to celebrate the great sacrifice God made for us. Sometimes I still cannot wrap my brain around how amazing that is. ME? He did it for ME? Wow! Now that's Love! And on top of that He gives me Joy!
"I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your Name O Most High." Psalms 9:2