Today's encouragement comes from two verses: Nehemiah 8:8 & 12, which renders this:
"So they [the priests and Levites] read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the read-
ing. . . . 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."
The people of God need the word of God; and they need it explained (preach-ed) to them. After hearing the word (here in Nehemiah), the people were first very sad, because they saw their many failings reflected in it. But then, later, they were joyful, recognizing the grace of God in Christ.
So it is with us. If the word is working toward the redemption of churchmen's souls, it will first bring the great grief of sin; but then it will deliver the wonder-ful medicine of grace, in Jesus' blood and righteousness.
[Puritan quote of the day: "Disband the army of your sins, and God will sound a retreat to His judgments. Remember, great sins have been swallowed up in the sea of God's infinite compassions.” —Thomas Watson, in, "The Doctrine of Repentance"]