Happiness and the Word of God

The Chinese people will celebrate the Lunar New Year on the 10th of February this year. Shopping malls and the streets of Singapore are decorated with red banners, colourful lanterns, and bright lights. Men and women, young and old will be making preparations to usher in the year of the snake, and they’ll hope for “good luck”, prosperity and happiness in the year.Happiness is a universal human aspiration. During the New Year, we wish each other “happy new year,” good health, success, and other good things that are associated with happiness. Does God’s word have anything to say about the pursuit of happiness? Is God more concerned about man’s happiness or about his salvation? God does not deny us happiness. He is just as interested to make us happy as He is to make us holy. Psalm 1 introduces the portrait of a happy man. Verse 1, declares, “Oh the happiness of the man!” It pronounces God’s blessing on anyone who responds in faith to the God of the covenant. This happiness was originally given to Adam (Gen. 1: 28). But when Adam sinned, he forfeited all the divine blessings and was expelled from the Garden (Gen. 3: 23, 24). From that time on, mankind came under the curse of divine judgment. Sin and all its fearful consequences dominated the human race. However, this promise came to us again when God called Abraham (Gen. 12: 1-3). God’s blessing will flow from Abraham and his seed (Christ) to the whole world (Gal. 3: 6-9). How can we find true and lasting happiness in this world? Psalm 1 shows us what we must do in order to receive God’s blessing. A happy person obeys God’s word and submits to His rule. He does this by dissociating himself from the wicked. The sequence "walk-stand-sit" envisions a progression from relatively casual association with the wicked to complete identification with them. The psalmist pictures the life of faith as a pathway. Life is a journey we take with God. It describes a believer’s intimate relationship with Him. Though he is surrounded by sinful people and their pressures yet he remains faithful to God and thus is able to resist the influence of the wicked. The happy person spends time with God and His word: “day and night” meditating on God’s word of instruction. The word “meditate’ connotes the idea of intense study and reflection. He finds delight and pleasure in God’s word and with God’s people. Lastly, the happy person is assured of God’s blessings both now and in the future (Ps. 1: 3, 6).The righteous person is like a tree planted by the rivers. This speaks of enduring peace, security and prosperity. His destiny is sure because God is on his side. God knows the paths that he takes and will continue to protect and bless him throughout his life here on earth. As believers, at this time when the CNY is being celebrated, we can be reminded to take heart and rejoice in the blessings of peace, prosperity and eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us also seize the opportunity to share the message of God’s love and blessings with our loved ones, friends and neighbours so that they too may find their happiness in Christ. Amen.

Rev. Mark Tay