top of page

Reaction to God's Word - The Grief then the Joy

Rev. Tetteh-Annor Larbi | December 11, 2023 | Nehemiah 8:9-12


And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly because they understood the words that were declared to them. Nehemiah 8:12 (NKJV)



Our focal scripture for today brings to mind another piece of scripture,  “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Ps 30:5) which resonates with today’s devotional.


The text also describes the reaction of the people to the word of God after it was declared to them, and they were taught by the priests and Levites. The people's response to God's word was a sense of repentance, which led them to a state of grief and weeping. Although it is not clear why they were grieving and weeping, one could speculate that they were remorseful for how badly they and the generations ahead of them had disobeyed God, which attracted God's punishment resulting in their current predicaments. Alternatively, their grief could have been due to a sense of regret, that if they had known all these, they would have avoided these hardships. However, these are my assumptions. The text communicates that the people felt sorry for their sins and repented, leading to grief and weeping.


Nehemiah and the other leaders, understanding the situation and what was going on after the word of God had been preached (probably because they were used to such reactions after the word was taught), stepped in to address the situation. It was a good reaction to grief, but it was also a joyous situation since a genuine repentance and change of heart had taken place. So, it was also a day of joy, affirmed by scripture, that there is joy in heaven when one soul repents. (Lk 15:7)


Intentional preaching and teaching of the authentic Word of God naturally evoke repentance and rejoicing, with one following the other spontaneously, both in the physical and spiritual realms.



What should be our reaction when we hear the word of God preached and taught to us? It must cut to the heart and move us to repentance, and it must produce the inherent joy, in our hearts. Let us make it a habit to continually hear the genuine word of God being preached and taught. 



Heavenly Father, I pray for the ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Grant them the grace to preach the genuine and unadulterated word at every location they find themselves. Lord let your word change lives and bring hope to this dying world. For your dear name’s sake. Amen.






The phrase "rejoice greatly" in Nehemiah 8:12 is translated from the Hebrew "שִׂמְחָה גְדוֹלָה" (simchah gedolah). "שִׂמְחָה" (simchah) is a common term for joy or rejoicing, and "גְדוֹלָה" (gedolah) means great or abundant. This phrase emphasizes not just joy but a profound and exuberant celebration.

The concept of great rejoicing is recurrent in the Bible, often associated with significant events such as the return of the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:14) or the dedication of Solomon's temple (2 Chronicles 7:10). It's a joy that goes beyond the ordinary, expressing a deep sense of gratitude, happiness, and celebration.

In Nehemiah 8:12, the people were instructed to celebrate with great joy because they understood the words declared to them. This joy wasn't just about the event; it was a response to the understanding of God's Word. It signifies that true and profound joy is rooted in a deep comprehension of God's truth and His presence.


As we reflect on this, we are reminded that our joy as believers should not be circumstantial but grounded in our understanding of God's Word and His promises. How often do we find ourselves rejoicing greatly because of our understanding of God's truth and His work in our lives?

What steps can we take to deepen our understanding of God's Word, leading to a joy that transcends circumstances and is rooted in the eternal truths of Scripture?

23 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All



BaptistDaily Devotional logo.png

The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
BAPTIST Daily Devotional  - God-inspired Word for your daily walk


Want more God-inspired word? send an email

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page