Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Posted: March 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

happy-peopleDon’t worry, be happy?!? Really? You can’t be serious right? I mean not only does that sound like a cliche but how exactly does a person pursue happiness in the midst of the reality of pain and disappointment? How can true and lasting joy be cultivated in a world where everything around us seems to be falling apart?

Prof. David Murray recently reflected on this as he looked at Deuteronomy 33 and this verse in particular…

Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph! (Deuteronomy 33:29 ESV)

To the onlooker, Moses and Israel were in the saddest and most miserable of circumstances. Yet Moses pronounces them not just happy, but the happiest people in the world! Incomparably happy. Happier than the most powerful and prosperous of nations.

What can possibly explain this?

God-centered Happiness
First, this was a God-centered happiness. It wasn’t a happiness based upon things or achievements. It was a happiness based upon truth, truth about God. Moses spent the previous three verses declaring seven facts about God and His relationship to Israel, before bursting forth with “Happy are you, O Israel!”

God-glorifying Happiness
Moses doesn’t just narrate facts about God like a dull and boring university lecturer. No, he’s exulting in God and exalting God as he speaks. He begins this final chorus of praise with, “There is no one like God.” God makes him happy, but worshipping God makes him even happier. God-centered happiness makes him glorify God happily.

God-Given Happiness
When we consider how happy Moses and Israel were with how little outward cause there was for this happiness, we must conclude that it was God-given. It wasn’t something manufactured or manipulated. It was given by God and expressed by faith. Faith saw what sight couldn’t. Faith hoped when reason couldn’t.

Given the circumstances, negativity and pessimism would have been much easier. But, by grace, God enabled Moses to rise above every discouragement and sadness (without denying them) and to find His happiness in God. Like Paul who faced similar harrowing circumstances, he was “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”

And if Moses and Israel had such happiness, how much more should the New Testament Church and every New Testament Christian? If we claim to know much more about God (and we do), and claim to have experienced so much of His great salvation (and we have), how much happier we should be!

Like Moses, I want to die rejoicing in the happiness of God and of his people – regardless of my outward circumstances.

“Happy God! Happy Church! Happy me!”

Great words to die by. Greater words to live by.

“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” – Colossians 1:11-12 (ESV)

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