Thursday, May 2, 2013
Holiness is Happiness
Psa. 106:1 ¶ Praise the LORD!
O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psa. 106:2 Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD,
or declare all his praise?
Psa. 106:3 Happy are those who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times.
The Psalmist begins this Psalm by reminding the people of God of the goodness of God. God is the one who is good and his love endures forever. Then the Psalmist reminds the people that those who are just and righteous are the ones who are happy. These are the holy people of God. Sadly this is simply the introduction to this Psalm. The remainder of the Psalm laments the disobedient acts of the people of God and the resultant sadness and destruction. If only they had lived in the love of God and practiced his holy ways!
It was Spurgeon who commented on this Scripture and reminded us that truly "Holiness is happiness." It was only when the Israelites were living as the holy people of God that they were a happy people. Holiness is declared here in two ways for God's people. They are to observe justice and do righteousness.
What might it mean for us, as God's people today to observe justice and do righteousness? Or, let's put it another way, how do God's people respond when they are confronted with injustice in this world? Just this week we are grappling with another horrible story of a child rape and death in India. How could someone do this to a four-year-old little girl? From the CNN report we read, "In a recent report, the Asian Center for Human Rights cited statistics that it said showed 48,338 child rape cases were reported in India between 2001 and 2011. The report said the number of cases rose from 2,113 in 2001 to 7,112 in 2011." What is happening in our world? Why is this practice of the abuse of little girls becoming more and more prevalent? Could it be that the "bent toward sinning" is winning the day in our world because the people of God are not willing to speak, or be the voice of justice? As God's holiness people, isn't that our responsibility?
In the early days of the holiness movement great numbers became involved in the issues of the day. The holiness movement in the United States was birthed around the time of the US Civil war and issues of slavery and justice were on the forefront of the minds of those who were preaching this message of complete and total liberation. These were a people who believed in observing justice and doing righteousness. They were often voice of the marginalized of society.
This legacy lingers within the holiness community. Even among the world of professional fund-raising consultants the people of the holiness world are known as "poor money." Isn't that a good thing? The DNA of those who paved the way for those of us today in the holiness movement understood that if, as holiness people, they observed justice and did righteousness, they would be happy people. That might sound crazy, but I believe that there is a profound and deep joy that comes from God when we participate with his holy activity in the world. What is God's desire for this world? That there would be justice and righteousness. This is his work and he is asking us to participate in his work here in the world. As we participate and are in tune with him we have a deep satisfaction and peace from being united with God. In this there is great happiness. So therefore, yes, holiness is happiness.
Lord, please help me practice justice and righteousness together with you. Amen.