Now that we know where happiness can’t be found, God tells us where it can be found. He says, “Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
Where Happiness Is
To some of us this may sound like a contradictory statement. Happiness is found…
- In the Bible?
- In obeying the Lord?
“Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord.” Put emphasis on the word delights. It’s not just, “All right, all right. I know I’ll trash my soul if walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the way of sinners, and sit in the seat of the scornful, so I surrender. I hate this, but it’s better than the alternative, so I’ll do it. I’ll delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night.”
No. No. No. That is not the idea expressed. Here again is an expressive Hebrew word. It means something in which you purposefully, willingly desire and take pleasure, to be positively preoccupied with something. It is something that literally preoccupies your being, and you see all of life through that reality.
What preoccupies your life? Is it:
- A relationship?
- A hobby?
Whatever it is; I want to help you understand that God says we are to become positively preoccupied with Him and His Word. Life should be perceived, formed, and framed in the context of His law, His commands for us, His guidance for us, His what-to-do and what-not-to-dos for us. That is what it means to delight in the law of the Lord. If you want to be happy, your preoccupation will be the Word of God! I am ashamed of the times in my life when I become fixated on everything but God’s Word!
Of course, if you are preoccupied with something, that is what you are thinking about all the time. Delighting in God’s Word is more than just appreciating scripture; it is saturating your mind with and living scripture. It is following its precepts and making your decisions based on its teachings. This is how you get happiness. Maybe you are thinking, “It doesn’t say obey. Why doesn’t it say obey?” Because the word is unnecessary for the one who delights in the law of the Lord, and meditates on it day and night. For that person obedience is a given. That is just what happens.
God is the One who knows how my soul ought to be organized. He knows how to get it straight, how to put everything in its place. As I connect with His guidance mechanisms for my life, I begin to experience that deep down blessedness.
Now remember, popular opinion claims that God’s Word is oppressive, restrictive, out-of-date, and not compatible with contemporary dilemmas. How do we get from the popular opinion to the proper opinion about God’s Word? Here are two suggestions that grow out of this text.
#1 Recognize the source.
Please note verse 2 has a qualifying phrase. It says, “Delight in the law,” and the qualifying phrase here is “of the Lord”. These are the clear precepts and commands that God’s Word gives to us. They come from God. They are not temporary. They are not just traditions. They are, according to Romans 7:12 “holy, just and good.” And that should not be a big surprise, because if it came from God, it’s got to be like God.
Therefore it’s holy, like God is holy. That means it’s absolutely pure. There are no tainted motives in the law of God. His Word is holy, perfect, and pure. It’s never wrong. It’s always right.
#2 Realize the outcomes.
If you delight and meditate on the law of the Lord, then you will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. Notice the sustaining sense here. There is no sustaining power for you apart from God. Disconnect from God and His Word, and it’s a very expensive experience. Outside of God’s good boundaries you spend all your cash, all your emotions, you spend your body, your relationships, and like the prodigal son, you end up devastated, because there’s nothing to sustain you.
Stay connected to God and to His Word, and He is always restoring and sustaining you. The text says it’s like you’re a tree planted by a fork of two rivers. You’ll be productive and yield fruit in season.
The text goes on to say that the outcome is your “leaf will not wither.” Life will get hot sometimes. Exposure to the blazing, arid heat of the day is inevitable, but because your roots are planted in the Word of God you will be sustained. Often our spiritual lives are cyclical, up and down, hot or cold, and the reason is because we don’t spend time in prayer, we don’t delight in God’s Word, and we’re dehydrated.
But when you are planted by the rivers of water, “whatsoever” you do, the text says, you will prosper. That doesn’t mean you’ll be rich. That doesn’t mean you’ll have a twenty-four-hour grin on your face every day. Life’s just not like that, but it does mean that down deep inside you are a very prosperous person, and since your delight is in the law of the Lord, prosperity will be yours.
Do you want to be happy? Get it right on the inside. Down deep inside remove the trash, the shame, the fear, the clutter, the guilt. Repent of it. Repent of the thought that maybe you can make your life better than God can. Allow Him to clean it all up and live your life in a blessed, happy state of having everything fine down deep inside.
The key to real happiness in your life and my life is connecting in a delighted way to God’s Word, and, you could say, that will result in the good life; the best kind of life. It would be well for us, now that we’ve studied this psalm to take it all the way home and ask ourselves, “What are those aspects of God’s will that I consistently resist?” That could be the unhappiness factor in your life. Are you resisting God in some way?
- Unconfessed sin?
- Lack of service?
- Church membership?
- Daily time in prayer and the Word?
- Perhaps you need to trust Christ as your Savior.
You know the areas of your life where you resist the Lord. You need to intentionally transition from your way in that matter to God’s way. When you do that consistently, you will know genuine happiness.