We live in a time where boredom, misery, depression and other forms of unhappiness are running rampant. Is there some basic principle which determines success in finding happiness?
The Book of Psalms, with its very first psalm, shares with us a key principle that can ensure true happiness. Notice the very first word of the first psalm, "Blessed."
The word in Hebrew denotes the idea of "happiness"
The actual force of the Hebrew could be translated "O how very happy is the man..."
Therefore this psalm describes "The Truly Happy Man"
Let's look at Psalm 1. The Blessedness of the Righteous man...
In Psalm 1:1-2 we are told of his character.
"Walks not in the counsel of the ungodly" ~ He does not take their counsel as to how to live. He does not follow the advice of those who are sinful.
"Nor stands in the path of sinners" ~ He does not linger where sinners are known to go. For the temptation to go with them would be great.
"Nor sits in the seat of the scornful" ~ He does not join himself with those who ridicule and mock those trying to do right, which sinners often do to fortify their conduct and defend their actions.
This verse may be taken to describe the journey one takes into sin:
First, one going along with a crowd.
Then, taking a stand with the crowd.
Finally, reaching a point where sinning is not enough and mockery is added.
"His delight is in the law of the Lord" ~ The source of his Joy and Happiness is the Word of GOD! It is truly his "delight" (Psalm 119:16,24,35,47,70, 77,92,174 & Jeremiah 15:16-17). He preferred it over the counsel of the ungodly!
Therefore, "in His law he meditates day and night" ~ The word meditate means to "moan, hum, utter, speak, muse". The picture is one of a man reading and re-reading half aloud to himself, another word might be "ponder."
This he does with GOD'S Word "day and night", not implying a monk-like existence, but a focused, coordinated and determined interest which goes beyond a casual acquaintance. What it means is that this is something he does habitually setting apart portions of each day and that he does both day and night.
In Psalm 1:3 we are told of the happy man's prosperity.
"He shall be like a tree" ~ This figure of speech is often used in Scripture to describe the righteous (Psalm 92:12-15 & Jeremiah 17:5-8). It had special significance to those living in arid climates like Palestine.
"Planted by rivers of water" ~ A picture describing a person whose life is rooted in GOD'S Word, from which one receives constant nourishment!
"That brings forth fruit in its season" ~ Depicting a life which yields something worthwhile, providing Blessings to himself and others.
"Whose leaf also shall not wither" ~ A tree with roots near a river is not likely to be affected in times of drought, so adverse conditions do not affect the fruitfulness of one whose strength comes from GOD'S Word!
"Whatever he does shall prosper" ~ This is a general rule, exceptions may occur for reasons which only GOD knows, but a life of piety will generally be Blessed by prosperity. For piety will heed GOD'S directions for success in life, and piety will heed GOD'S warnings concerning things that waste life.
Prosperity not always being measured by monetary wealth, but Spiritual and godly wealth. Amen!
Such is the character and prosperity of the righteous man; he is truly happy and a blessing to others because he abides in the Word of GOD. He also becomes a monument to GOD'S Faithfulness and the value of living by HIS Word.
But wait...... what of those who do not delight in the Word of GOD? Those who do not receive the nourishment found in GOD'S Word? This answer is found in Psalm 1:4-5, the condition of the unrighteous.
The phrase "The ungodly are not so" is more emphatic in the Hebrew, it literally says, "Not so, are the ungodly!"
Emphasizing that the wicked are not like the righteous!
The contrast as illustrated by the Psalmist does not even describe them as withering trees, but rather as "chaff which the wind drives away", alluding to chaff blown away from wheat as it is tossed into the air.
The illustration describes a bleak existence. Their life is one of futility, ending in eternal separation from GOD.
Their life is no substantial value, either to be blown away and not found, or to be burned (Matthew 3:12).
"The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment" ~ I understand this may be a Hebraism (Hebrew idiom) and meaning that the wicked "shall not be able to maintain himself" (for example - obliged to sit or fall down in shame when convicted of their guilt). The Final Judgment appears to be under consideration.
"Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous" ~ For example - in all places where the righteous are assembled, but especially, in the last day, when the righteous shall be gathered together to receive their reward and shall be assembled together in Heaven, where the sinner has no place!
The psalm concerning the truly happy man (Psalm 1) ends with a final contrast between two different & distinct "Ways" in Psalm 1:6.
"The Way" of the Righteous ~ The LORD knows "The Way" of the righteous. The word "knows" suggests interest in, and care for, the person known. One could say that GOD himself goes with such a person throughout his or her life!
The way of the ungodly ~ The way of the ungodly person "shall perish". His path becomes less defined until it loses itself, kinda like a trail that leads into a swamp.
Is not the end described for the ungodly a true description of those who go through life bored, angry, miserable, depressed, or otherwise unhappy? Their lives are listless, with no sense of purpose or direction, gradually unraveling.
Why is this so? Because they heed the counsel of the ungodly and they do not meditate upon the Word of The LORD!
If we desire to be truly happy, standing strong like well-nourished tree, bearing fruit at all times, with The LORD always at our side, then the key is to delight and meditate in the Word of The LORD, and not heed the counsel of sinners!
In whose counsel do you delight?
That found in GOD'S Word, or that provided by the ungodly in this world?
If you seek true happiness, let The LORD be your counselor, and HIS Word your guide!