“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.”” (Nehemiah 8:10)
Nehemiah was a cupbearer in Persia following the exile of the Jews after the destruction of Israel. He was instrumental in rebuilding the walls and helping the people to return from exile. After the people returned, they gathered in the square and Ezra the Priest read from the book of the law of Moses. After he had read, the people wept as they heard the words of the law. Nehemiah commanded them to go away and eat, drink and to supply to those in need. Nehemiah urged them to maintain their joy because from this they would gain strength. (Nehemiah 8:1-10)
The people were most likely sad because they recognised that their ancestors had disobeyed God which led to their captivity. But why weep in that moment when God has restored their fortunes? There is no point crying over mistakes from the past and wallowing in self pity. God has already forgiven us for our mistakes. So eat, drink, rejoice and sing your praises to God. Give him thanks for his many blessings and share your blessings with others who are less fortunate.
God does not dwell on our mistakes and he wants us to have joy and peace. “A cheerful heart is a good medicine; But a broken spirit drieth up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) Being happy is often a choice and is often based on our perspective. We can choose to be happy in each moment and count our daily blessings. The fact that we are alive is enough of a reason to give God thanks and make our hearts merry.