9 Nehemiah was the governor. Ezra was a priest and the teacher of the Law. They spoke up. So did the Levites who were teaching the people. All these men said to the people, “This day is set apart to honor the Lord your God. So don’t weep. Don’t be sad.” All the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy some good food and sweet drinks. Send some of it to people who don’t have any. This day is holy to our Lord. So don’t be sad. The joy of the Lord makes you strong.”
11 The Levites calmed all the people down. They said, “Be quiet. This is a holy day. So don’t be sad.” (Nehemiah 8:9-11)
The holiness of the day demanded for joy and feasting. They also shared food with the needy. The background of eating is that a portion of what is given to God is also consumed by the giver. They were to share the blessing with the poor. Sharing the blessing of the Lord is half of the joy of receiving the blessing. In reality, what good is a blessing if you consume it by yourself? It would deliver only temporary happiness. At the end of the day, joy lasts because you are able to bless other people with what God has given you.
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