Happiness Is Conditional

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), July 14

That God desires the blessedness or happiness of His people is seen in creation, in His promise to Abraham, and to the nation of Israel:

imagesCreation: The garden of Eden advertises God’s desire to bless His people, “The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen 2:8-9, emphasis added).

God gives a prohibition soon after the creation of the garden, establishing His desire that man trust and obey Him, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’” (2:16-17). Sadly, deceived and enticed by the serpent, the couple eat from the forbidden tree and die spiritually. God’s promise of redemption (3:15) and picture of redemption (3:21) demonstrate God’s unwavering desire to bless His people.

Abraham: God intends to bless all the families of the earth through Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).

Israel: As Moses prepares Israel to enter the land of promise, he foretells a blessing to those who obey God and adhere to His word, “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: “Blessed shall you be in the city . . . the country . . . blessed shall be the fruit of your body . . . . The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand . . . .” (Deut. 28:2, 3, 4, 8).

Israel does well under Joshua’s leadership, but after his death Israel sins against God and experiences His cursings instead of His blessings. Assyria attacks the ten tribes of Israel and carried them into captivity. Judah’s captivity will soon follow.

Psalm 128 captures the blessedness of those who “walk in His ways . . . . When you eat the labor of your hands, you [as well as your wife and children] shall be happy, and it shall be well with you” (128:1-2).

Happiness isn’t found in the abundance of possessions or in satisfying relationships, but in fearing the LORD and walking in His ways. Blessings overflow from obedience.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Ps. 128-130; 132; 134; 135):
A number of the Songs of Ascents refer those who are afflicted. How do the afflicted find relief?
List the attributes of God found in these psalms. How does the celebration of these attributes develop one’s faith and alter their perspective?