Psalm 1: The Attainment of Happiness

Read Psalm 1

Featured Verse: Psalm 1:1-2

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.”

Every human being who has ever walked this planet has this in common: The desire to be happy. In fact, our most revered national document, the Declaration of Independence, proclaims that the pursuit of happiness is our inalienable right, universally endowed by the Creator himself.

Now we can pursue happiness until we are blue in the face, and most of us do, but there is just one way we will ever attain it: By following God’s “roadmap”. The Psalmist called it “the law of the Lord,” Today, we would call it “the Bible.”

In this opening song from the songbook of the human race, the Psalms, we’re told that happiness comes by completely, deliberately and consistently ordering our life according to the full counsel of God’s Word. Not just a favorite verse here and there, mind you, or a Bible reading when it strikes our fancy, but through a “day and night” absorption of the whole “law of God.” Furthermore, true blessedness and lasting joy comes by completely, deliberately and consistently rejecting the humanistic definition of and path to happiness.

The Psalmist calls for a complete ordering of our life around the Word of God—“meditating on it day and night.” So here is the most important question you will be asked this year: Are you? Are you reading it regularly, and not just reading it, but absorbing it? Are you not just absorbing it, but are you figuring out ways to apply it to your daily life—your situations, your responses, your decisions, your planning?

May I suggest that before you do anything else—listen to the news, read the paper, look over your email, have coffee with your posse, which is perhaps the modern equivalent of “walking,” “standing” and “sitting” with anyone else before you get counsel from God—that you carve out time and then ruthlessly guard that time to read, absorb and apply God’s Word. And then discipline yourself to bring what you’ve read back to mind at various parts of the day, to make sure your thoughts, actions, interactions, responses and accomplishments have been true to the plumbline of God’s Word.

By the way, when “meditating day and night” on Scripture becomes the “organic” practice of your life, the discipline of daily Bible reading will have turned into the delight of practicing the presence of God. And when you practice the presence of God, you will experience the presence of God. That is truly what the joyful, blessed and happy life is all about.

“The Bible redirects my will, cleanses my emotions, enlightens my mind, and quickens my total being.”
—E. Stanley Jones

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