A woman who had been a staunch church member for years was asked, “Tell me, just what do you believe?” She replied, “I believe what my church believes.”

“But what does your church believe?” came the question. “My church believes what I believe.”

The inquirer then asked, “Since you believe what your church believes, and your church believes what you believe, what do you and your church believe?” She quickly answered, “We both believe the same thing.”

The Jews who came back from exile to resettle Jerusalem and Israel likewise knew little about their faith. But when Ezra read from the book of the Law, and the Levites explained the text, the people listened for hours. The Word of God brought a powerful conviction of sin. The Israelites began to weep. But they were told not to shed tears. This was a day for feasting “because they understood the words that were declared to them” (Neh. 8:12).

A vague faith can never fill us with joy. We must clearly hear God’s truth so that it can change our hearts. As we gain knowledge of His Word and obey it, we will experience the joy of the Lord (v.10).