What makes you happy? At what moment in your life do you feel the most joy? Is it when your family is gathered around the table during the holidays? Is it when you receive your bonus check at the end of the year? Is it when you get the chance to take a vacation to your favorite spot? All of these can be good and wholesome pleasures that we enjoy, yet none of them compare to the joy that God grants us.
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 4:
“You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (7-8)
Grain and wine were the two staples of blessing and abundance during Biblical times. With grain and wine, you could host a party, sell it for money, or simply enjoy time with your family. These two elements were the ingredients for happiness and a good time in ancient culture.
Incredibly, the Psalmist declares that he has discovered an even greater source of happiness than an abundance of grain and wine: God. The prior grant temporary pleasure, God grants eternal (Psa. 16:11). The former may actually cause stress and anxiety if not handled properly (particularly the wine), but God’s presence always guarantees safety, security, and peace. Yet how do we access this joy? How do we pursue and magnify our joy in God?
“Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.” (4-5)
Control your passions. Meditate in the quiet moments. Worship truthfully. Trust in God. These actions are ingredients for a magnified joy in God. It requires discipline (in fact, many of these are considered spiritual disciplines), but it is worth the effort.
Sadly, many of us spend our entire lives only seeking an abundance of “grain and wine” without ever truly pursuing genuine happiness. We stop short of what God has to offer us. We seek God’s blessings without his presence. One day, we may arrive at the end of our road only to discover that we missed what truly mattered. Don’t let that happen to you. Seek the Lord, and the abundant happiness that comes from him.