What would it take for you to be truly happy? Deeply, unquestionably, full-tilt happy? I know that is an enormous question, especially if you are reading this first thing in the morning. You may need to go grab another cup of coffee.
I think that there are some answers that come more easily than others. For those who are in places or systems of oppression, “being free” probably comes to mind. For those who are battling a serious illness, “being well” is a natural response. I would hazard a guess that for everyone reading this today, “the end of the pandemic” rings true.
Those responses represent things that are beyond our control. What is something you can control that would bring you happiness?
Psalm 128 (Common English Bible)
Everyone who honors the Lord,
who walks in God’s ways, is truly happy!
There is always a practical simplicity to the Psalms, isn’t there? The Psalmist boils true happiness down to two precepts: 1. honor God, and 2. follow his ways.
Other translations use the word fear in place of honor. I have never cared for that, as we tend to define fear as be afraid when we read it. But fear is understood here as reverential trust. That changes it, doesn’t it? Having a reverential trust of God and following his commandments is the key to happiness. Simple, right?
For most of us, following God’s ways as spelled out in God’s Word is very difficult indeed. Our need to assert our free will, our need to have things our own way, our weakness against temptation, and our easily distracted lives get in the way. We can read and study God’s Word until the cows come home, but living God’s Word is a different matter all together.
But the Psalmist goes on to describe the reward for honoring God:
2 You will definitely enjoy what you’ve worked hard for—
you’ll be happy; and things will go well for you.
3 In your house, your wife will be like a vine full of fruit.
All around your table, your children will be like olive trees, freshly planted. 4 That’s how it goes for anyone who honors the Lord:
they will be blessed!
That’s how it goes! Honor God, and you and your family will be blessed by knowing that you are faithfully serving in ways that are meaningful and significant.
When we truly honor God, we make what is important to him important to us. When we follow his ways, we behave in the way that Jesus behaved…tolerant, accepting, forgiving, inclusive, and most of all, loving. Every day that we make strides in those areas we are guaranteed to come closer to true happiness.
5 May the Lord bless you from Zion.
May you experience Jerusalem’s goodness your whole life long.
Blessings, goodness, and happiness await those who walk with God. If you don’t have those things in your life right now, consider the path you are on. Good things come to those whose lives are turned toward God.