The Happiest People On Earth
The psalmist wrote a simple statement many years ago that described the people of God, a statement that, I believe, should still describe the people of God today: Happy are the people whose God is the Lord! (Psa. 144:15). Though we are about 3,000 years removed from the time this was written, why should we not still be a happy people? Do we who are disciples of Jesus Christ not have a reason to be happy?
The way some supposed believers look, you'd think that we did not! Some walk around with a perpetual frown on their face, while others take every opportunity to complain about the toils and burdens they have been saddled with, making me wonder if they are really happy about the choice they made to follow God's word, or really have a hope laid up for them in heaven. I imagine some in the world, if they see the same thing, are probably thinking, "Why would I want to be a Christian? Look how miserable they are!"
I know there is a certain amusement park that claims to be the "happiest place on earth," but I beg to differ; I believe the heart of the Christian should be the happiest place on earth, and we, as God's people should be the happiest people on earth.
The psalmist again gives us reason to be glad, as he writes of his own rejoicing in the mercy of the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble. (Psa. 31:7) Many years removed from the time he wrote this, the child of God still has reason to be happy for the same reason. God is still the same merciful God, but now we know the once-hidden mystery of how all men might be able to obtain salvation and be made alive again. The apostle Paul reminded the Ephesian brethren that God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. (Eph. 2:4, 5) Without that mercy, where would we be? Is that not reason enough to be a happy person? I think SO!
The psalmist wrote prophetically of the day when The stone which the builders rejected would become the chief cornerstone. He went on to say that it was the Lord's doing and that it would be marvelous in our eyes. Pointing to that day, he further said, This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psa. 118:22-24) He wrote this about 1000 years before its occurrence, but why cannot we who live 2000 years after the event still be glad when we consider that day?
Jesus referred to Himself as He cited this passage, as did the apostles when they were questioned about the man whom they healed (in Jerusalem, Acts 4:10-12) and Peter, as he illustrated how we should be the spiritual house that is built on that chief cornerstone. (1 Pet. 2:4-7) That rejection the stumbling by the Jewish nation allowed us, as Gentiles, an opportunity for salvation that was not previously offered. (Rom. 11:11) We should rejoice in that day!
I'm pretty sure that not many people really comprehend the admonition to rejoice in persecutions. Many will respond "Yeah, right!" when they read this, but we must strive to make it a reality, nonetheless. When Jesus began His extended teaching we commonly call the 'Sermon on the Mount,' He said, Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt. 5:11, 12) [The account in Luke (6:23) says we are to leap for joy!] The cause for rejoicing is not the persecution itself, but the fact that we have a great reward in heaven! Peter would give further reason for rejoicing in persecutions, saying that we partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Pet. 4:12, 13) If we are reproached for the name of Christ, God is glorified on our part! (v. 14) We have a great reward! Is that not reason enough to be happy! I think SO!
Unfortunately, when some look into the word of God, it is a cause for great sorrow, instead of joy. Many see the word of God as The Big Book Of Rules, or a mere list of Thou-Shalt-Nots. It is seen as outdated, restrictive, and is unwelcome in the lives of many who simply do not take the time to see what really is contained within. If only they would dig a little deeper and search a little more, they would see why it is a cause for rejoicing to any who read.
The psalmist said, I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure (Psa. 119:162), and, I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. (119:14) To him, looking into the word of God was like discovering a great treasure! The things contained within His word made him as happy as if he had just hit the Mother Lode! Evidently, the psalmist saw something within the word of God that was valuable, and not as something burdensome or dreary. What did he see that made him so happy?
For us, it might be the knowledge that God loved us enough to send His Son to die for us (Rom. 5:8), or the opportunity for forgiveness of our past sins (Acts 10:43), or the inheritance laid up for us in heaven (1 Pet. 1:3), or just the description of the New Jerusalem as seen in Revelation 21:1-4 and 21:22-22:5. What a treasure of good news and cause for happiness!
COMING TO WORSHIP GOD.
The psalmist said, I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. (Psa. 122:1) He was glad when he heard that others were gathering to worship the Lord. He was glad when they said Let us go, indicating both their personal interest and their interest that he come along with them. I imagine God is just as happy to hear that as the psalmist was when he heard it.
Worship, by definition, is the reverent love shown to God. Those who truly love God will want to express their love for Him at every opportunity, so when they hear that an opportunity is given, they will be happy!
Now, what about us? Do we, as believers and followers of God and His word have reasons to be happy? Absolutely! Knowing these things, what kind of impression are we leaving with those about us? More than anyone else, we should be The Happiest People On Earth!
By Steven Harper
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