“Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.”
Like the crisp, clear, cool air of the mountains, so is God’s exhilarating Presence in our lives when we walk in His Spirit.
How do you define this word, dear Pilgrim? Is it that euphoric feeling you have when you ace a tough exam or score a decisive win in an athletic competition? Is it that warm feeling of contentment that floods you soul when you feel you’ve “arrived” or conquered another “mountain” after a long and arduous journey?
If so, enjoy the moment.
But, also know such times of ecstasy are short-lived at best. They’re fleeting glimpses (and poor substitutes) of the real Joy that awaits all those who can honestly and emphatically claim today’s Manna as their own—for there is no real happiness apart from “the God of Jacob,” just as there is no real “help” and “hope” apart from the One Who gave His Life for us at Calvary.
The Hebrew word “esher” is used here for “happy” and basically means “how happy, blessed, joyful, etc.” and is really the equivalent of the Greek word “makarios” used for “Blessed” in the Beatitudes in Mt. 5:3-12. Both of these describe that sublime feeling of “being well-off, inwardly content, the recipient of Divine bestowal, etc.”
Thus, our quest is always misguided and our desires misplaced when we look for true Joy anywhere but in the only One Who can give it.
The anonymous author of today’s Manna knew that.
That’s why he went on to say that true happiness is found in “the One Who made heaven and earth and the sea. . .who executed Judgment for the oppressed. . .Who gives food to the hungry… Who looses the prisoners. . .Who opens the eyes of the blind. . .Who raises up those who are bowed down. . .Who preserves (Heb. ‘shamar’—‘to hedge about with thorns, guard, protect, attend to, etc.’) the strangers. . .Who relieves (Heb. ‘uwd’—‘to encompass, restore, lift up, etc.’) the fatherless and the widow. . .but turns the way of the wicked upside down” (vv.6-9).
Even though things may seem topsy-turvy right now and the world’s gone stark-raving mad, we must still “trust in Him with all of our heart and lean not unto our own understanding as we acknowledge (Heb. ‘yada’—‘observe, recognize, be aware of, assured, discern, etc.”) Him in all our ways, confident that He’s directing our path” (Prov. 3:5-6).
Or, another way to put it is “The Lord knows me and has promised to always lead me ‘in the path of Righteousness as His Name’s sake’ (Ps. 23:6). Thus, there’s nothing that will happen today that He didn’t know about ahead of time. And, there’ll never be a time that He’s not there and will not supply all of my needs as He has promised. Therefore, I’ll spend my time today praising Him and thanking Him for His Goodness to me—even when my heart is breaking or bowed down. Truly, He is a great God and greatly to be praised.” Amen and amen.
July 3, 2011