It’s been a while since I have blogged last. Nearly 3 years. Since that time this world has gone into chaos with Covid and a divided nation and now with my home denomination, the United Methodist Church, splitting at the seams. I have also gone through some rough times as well. I lost my oldest brother to Covid complications, and I have been moved to a new church. Needless to say, it has been a rough few years for me personally and for most of us. So I decided to write again. I think for most of us we all wonder what will truly bring us happiness. Our nation is at an all time high in cases of depression and it seems like there are not enough prescription drugs to help the cause. Maybe this is why so many people turn to alternative means to help their state of mind. So how do we help those who feel no sense of joy or happiness?
For me and many of us we turn to Scripture to find answers on life. I mean what better place to look than the Book of Life. This living, breathing, Word of God is a testimony to those who have gone before us in the faith and wrote about their shared experience with the One True God. So how do we answer the question of joy or happiness in our lives. I turn now to the Psalms. The Psalms are an amazing, honest book of the Bible. The authors of the many poems and songs in Psalms do no sugar coat their lives with God. We read of joy, pain, evil, protection, and even questioning God’s actions. For me it is a book riddled with human emotion and reason as we come before God. When I read the Psalms, I feel even bolder before God. If I am mad or glad about God, the Psalms give me courage to express those feelings before God knowing God can take all of me and I do not need to hide from Him.
Psalm 1 happens to open up with our very question… What makes us happy? “The Truly happy person doesn’t follow wicked advice, doesn’t stand on the road of sinners, and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful. Instead of doing those things, these persons love the LORD’s Instructions, and they recite God’s Instruction day and night! They are like a tree replanted by streams of water, which bears fruit at jus the right time and whose leaves don’t fade. Whatever they do succeeds. (Psalm 1:1-3) The Hebrew word for “happy” is asre and can mean “profound gladness.” Can you imagine having “profound gladness.” Sometimes it seems impossible, especially in the world we live in, but the Psalmist insists that we can have true happiness on this earth, now even with everything going on. How do obtain that profound gladness… by “meditating” on God’s Instructions (Word) day and night. The word for meditating or as my translation says “recite” is the word hagah in Hebrew. It literally means to mutter, mumble or talk quietly.
So the Psalmist wants us to walk around muttering under our breath the Word of God. Can you imagine walking down the street just mumbling to yourself? People would probably wonder what medication you forgot to take, yet that is the prescription that the Psalmist prescribes. Maybe we don’t have to walk down the street talking to our selves, but maybe thinking about the Word of God as we go throughout our day would help. How many of us do our daily devotions and then never think about what we just read? I like the image that the book of James tells us, “You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves. Those who hear but don’t do the word are like those who look at their faces in a mirror. they look at themselves, walk away and immediately forget what they were like.” (James 1:22-24) The Word of God is like looking in the mirror, it reflects the image of God. We who are the image of God should read the word and reflect that character that we receive. How can we reflect if we do not remember what we read? But those who mutter the Word of God actually find happiness because they know their identity in God. They are God’s people and God has chosen them as His sons and daughters. When we live as His children then I believe we find true and profound gladness.