HAPPINESS: "ENJOY THE BLESSING! REVEL IN THE GOODNESS" (Part 10)
Psalm 128 (ESV)1 Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! 2You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
3Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. 4Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.
5 The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! 6May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!
Being a Christian is what we were created for. The life of faith has the support of an entire creation and the resources of a magnificent redemption.
Promises and Pronouncements: Blessing is the word that describes this happy state of affairs. Psalm 128, sandwiched between promises and pronouncements, is an illustration of blessing. An image of a life that is bounded on one side by promises of blessing, on the other side by pronouncements of blessing, and experiences blessings between those boundaries.
Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, identifies the eight key qualities in the life of a person of faith and announces each one with the word blessed. Jesus makes it clear that discipleship is an expansion of our capacities, an overflowing of joy, and a blessed life.
Sharing In Life: Blessing has inherent in it the power to increase. It functions by sharing and delight in life. We must develop better and deeper concepts of happiness than those held by the world, which makes a happy life to consist in “ease, honors, and great wealth.” Psalm 128 helps us do that. Too much of the world’s happiness depends on taking from one to satisfy the other. As we learn to give and share, our vitality increases, and the people around us become fruitful vines and olive shoots at our tables. For the Christian, blessing comes so that we can bless. Being blessed results in blessing others.
Traveling by the Roads: To guard against all blasphemous chumminess with the Almighty, the Bible talks of the fear of the Lord—not to scare us but to bring us to awesome attention before the overwhelming grandeur of God. Not only do we let God be God as he really is, but we start doing the things for which he made us.
People accuse religion with interfering with what they consider their innocent pleasures and wishes. But religion is an inconvenience only to those who are traveling against the grain of creation, at cross-purposes with the way that leads to redemption. God’s way, and God’s presence are where we experience happiness that lasts, to our children’s children.
(This post is a summary and partial abridgement of Eugene Peterson’s book “A Long Obedience In The Same Direction.” It is based solely on Peterson’s work and any help that this content gives should be credited to God’s grace through Peterson’s effort. In other words, give God glory, thank Eugene Peterson and consider buying the book.)