Nehemiah 8:10 – Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
I was listening to Charlie Andrews preach the other day and one of his points of his message was “you cannot have happiness without holiness.” Nehemiah talks a little bit about this. The children of Israel were planning a feast after the rebuilding of Jerusalem. He talked about the feast day being holy unto the Lord. Holiness produced joy in their lives. The joy was not just any kind of joy, but joy in the Lord. True joy of the Lord can only come from a life of service done in a holy manner. Nehemiah sought God in everything when he was rebuilding Jerusalem. He was a holy man of God. When God wrought a great victory in Israel with completion of this work, there was joy.
I would also argue that when the Lord brought joy to his people, it also brought great conviction of sin. That seems counterintuitive but conviction, followed by repentance brings great relief of burdens and results in joy. As the people had joy at this feast, there was also preaching of God’s word. This one day meeting protracted into a multi-day meeting. This was probably the first camp meeting in the Bible. They were living in makeshift booths, listening to preaching, repenting of sin, getting right with God, eating fat, drinking sweet, fellowshiping, etc. That sure sounds a lot like the old time camp meetings in America to me. The whole point is happiness and holiness go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. Try living as holy as you can and let the Lord produce joy in your life.