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It seems we are so preoccupied with discovering happiness for ourselves.  We devote our lives to the task.  At times it would appear that the pursuit of happiness is our primary goal.  Unfulfilled in the present we often find ourselves living more in the promise of future moments- quitting time, or the upcoming weekend, vacation, or perhaps even retirement. We spend more time in these moments than the one we actually occupy.  Or, you may be the opposite, reliving all your days in some romanticized long gone moment of past glory that will never be reclaimed.  Either way we quickly find that neither offer the happiness we seek, so in response we fill our days with activity.

Constant busy-ness has become for some of us as much a numbing agent as alcohol and drugs are for others.  As long as we keep going, keep moving, keep filling our moments with things to do then we can avoid looking at the emptiness of our lives. For truly our lives can be filled with emptiness.
If the constant “doing” is not enough well, we move onto “filling” to compensate.  We fill our lives with things.  A new(er) car, that’s the ticket!  Or if only I had a bigger house . . . Shopping, buying, acquiring – why?  In a few days that new gadget will be just like the former gadget.

I could continue in this line, there is our overwhelming need to always be surrounded with sound; music playing, the television, phone conversations, on and on.  Then there is food and how we cope with our emptiness by eating . . .

Why is this?

It could be we have a wrong concept of happiness, and we are looking for this happiness in all the wrong places.

Psalm 1:1 tells us some places we should not look.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Blessed is – Happy is!  O happy man!
The word here is ‘esher (Biblical usage: blessed (27x), happy (18x)) which has its root in the word ‘asher which means to go straight, advance, make progress, to set right, to be made happy.

So, blessed is the man – Advancing, going straight, making progress, set right, and made happy is the man . . .

  • That walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

What is the counsel of the ungodly?  That word for counsel (‘etsah, ya’ats)  is also rendered purpose in scripture.  So, what is the counsel and the purpose of the ungodly?  For starters how about the declaration that our individual lives are only about ourselves?  Or the lie that it is only in ourselves and of ourselves and for ourselves that our happiness is achieved.  “A better you is found within you!”  “You hold the key to your happiness! “If it feels good then do it!”  “What works for you is right for you!”

Sound familiar?

We have given ourselves over to being such an hedonistic society.  Because as you know, you can only FEEL good if you LOOK good, and we will tell you what LOOKS GOOD (counsel of the ungodly).  And this self adulation easily partners with the existentialist philosophy that places the individual man and his reason above all others (purpose of the ungodly).  When we walk in this counsel we are being led by it, our path being laid out by the ungodly, we find ourselves continually striving to no satisfaction. Once we have centered all hope and expectation of finding our happiness squarely within ourselves- and we fail (of course we will fail) . . .

What then?

Blessed is the man – Advancing, going straight, making progress, set right, and made happy is the man . . .

  • That walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
  • Nor stands in the way of sinners,

Stand (‘amad) – to remain, to become a servant of, to cease, to grow insipid.

To stand in the way of sinners is to remain a sinner.  The unconsciously realized hopelessness of walking in the counsel of the ungodly now causes you to stop.  Standing you will cease to move, you will increasingly become the servant of sin, all hope of true happiness is stolen away.  A dullness sets in, life becomes bland, you become characterless.  You are slowly stripped of all life and meaning and purpose.  Locked in place in this stance, your heart hardens against the reality of the error of the way you are in.  Your heart grows darker and darker.

So, blessed is the man – Advancing, going straight, making progress, set right, and made happy is the man . . .

  • That walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
  • Nor stands in the way of sinners,
  • Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.

Sit (yashab) – to dwell, have one’s abode.

So given over are you now to your emptiness that you are plunged into despair.  Movement has ceased, momentum is lost, hope has died.  And you live here, this is much more than making your bed and lying in it, this is as the Hebrew word defines, you’re making your house here.  You live here in emptiness and despair, in misery and  depression, in despondency and stop me when yours comes up.  So much so that you must surround yourself with the constant motions of acquiring things to fill the emptiness. You must envelope yourself with much noise and clamor so that you do not hear the weeping of your own heart. Constantly work, work, work! For me, me, me! Just to cover up and avoid the emptiness.  And you grow scornful, more so daily as every attempt at happiness from within falls short.  You mock and deride those that have found happiness, you scoff at goodness and purity and only want the darkness to match your heart.  Eventually this scorn builds to the point that even your hurt and pain are covered up and forgotten, now you just hate.

John 3:19,20 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

Where then should we look for happiness?

Verse 2 of Psalm 1:

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

In the law (the Torah) of the LORD.  In the law, direction and instruction of Jehovah, the existing One.  The One True God!

The prophet Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” (15:16)

“. . . thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart:”

John 15:11, Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

So then, you will find your happiness, your joy, not in yourself or the amount of things you have done or acquired.  But in the Word of the Lord, for in His Word you will find the reason for the emptiness – sin.  We are born into sin, we are separated from God.  Only He can be our source of happiness, of true joy.  And thanks be to God! For he has made a way of reconciliation between a Holy God and sinful men.  The man, Jesus the Christ.  God sent His son to die as payment (as propitiation) for the penalty of the sin of this world so that we might be reconciled to God through Jesus.

How does this happen?

Repent- turn from the counsel of the ungodly, repent- cease from standing in the way of sinners, repent- change your mind about sitting in the seat of the scornful.  Confess your sin, and your dire need of a Savior in Jesus.  Cry out to God for mercy and believe in His Son Jesus, that he died for you.  And then live for Him!  Surrender to Him, make Him Lord of your life.

And in Him that emptiness will be dispelled, in Him is fullness of joy, fullness of hope, of peace, of love, of LIFE!