True happiness

I am a results oriented type of person. I like it when I accomplish things and can say that it gives me a lot of happiness when things work out the way I want them to. I think this is what God intended when he decided to bless Abraham and his descendants. One aspect of being blessed is prosperity, but I think happiness has more to do with results than it does the kind of results we get. In fact, “the state that the blessed one enjoys does not always appear to be ‘happy'” (835).

David said about the LORD, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand” (Psalm 84:10) and he identified three ways that someone could be blessed. “Blessed are they that dwell in thy house…Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee…Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee” (Psalm 84:4,5,12). David’s view of being blessed involved connection with the LORD and in essence was about having a relationship with the God.

Connection with God produces results. One of the results of being connected to God is righteousness. David said, “Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps” (Psalm 85:13). The word translated righteousness is tsedeq (tseh´ – dek). Tsedeq is a relational word that has to do with being faithful to each other’s expectations (6664). From this perspective, you could say that righteousness is about never being disappointed.

Another result of being connected to God is peace. David said, “I will hear what God the LORD shall speak: For he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints” (Psalm 85:8). The word translated peace, shâlôm (shaw – lome´) is derived from the word shâlam (shaw – lam´) which means to finish or complete (7999). When I finish something, the feeling I get is peace. There is usually  a sense of satisfaction, just because the job is done, but there is also a relief if I know it is complete and I will hot have to do the task ever again.

David said in Psalm 85, “Mercy and truth are met together: Righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10). The idea of righteousness and peace kissing each other is that joining the two together produces a good result or a better result than if they were not joined together. If I complete an assignment and am not disappointed, I will be better off than if I completed it, but am disappointed with the result. It doesn’t give me much satisfaction to complete something if I don’t like what I end up with.

Mercy and truth are like peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Each half of the pair can exist independently and bring pleasure, but when you combine them, it is like magic. The result is phenomenal; nothing can be compared to it. Mercy and truth make it possible for me to live my life with no regrets. The affect of mercy and truth coming in contact with each other (God) in my life is that I no longer want to do things that will make me unhappy.

For example, if I were to complete a bank robbery and escape with a million dollars and never get caught, I would have to live the rest of my life with the guilt of committing a crime and lying to protect myself. Even though I would be rich, I could not live the same way I would if I had earned the money. Mercy and truth make me do the right thing not only so that I will be satisfied with the result, but everyone around me will be satisfied also. The word mercy or checed in Hebrew “refers primarily to mutual and reciprocal rights and obligations between the parties of a relationship” (2617).

The basis of truth is trustworthiness. Another way of looking at truth is believing or trusting in something or someone (539). The more trustworthy I am, the more people will want to be around me and be a part of my life. Although I would like to think that it only matters if I am happy, the truth is that if everyone around me is unhappy, my happiness will be more difficult to maintain. Sometimes the best way to achieve happiness is to make sure everyone else is happy. Although  I cannot make anyone happy, I know I can make them unhappy by doing things that are mean or spiteful. Mercy and truth make me realize that happiness is found in relationship, and therefore the more relationships I have, the more I can be truly happy.

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