What Does the Bible Say about Happiness?

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happiness

Happiness According to God’s Word

“I’m so happy for you!” “I wish you both nothing but happiness.” “She had a very happy childhood.” These are expressions that we have either said ourselves or have heard from others. Let’s find out what the Bible has to say about happiness.

HAPPINESS

According to Cambridge Dictionary, the word ‘happiness’ has the following meaning:

The feeling of being pleased or happy:

Examples: It was only later in life that she found happiness and peace of mind. Will you join me in wishing the bride and groom every happiness? Our children have brought us so much happiness. Now let’s look what ‘happy’ means. In the Cambridge Dictionary we can find the following meanings for the word ‘happy’:

happy adjective (PLEASED)

feeling, showing, or causing pleasure or satisfaction:
Examples: To tell the truth, I’ve never been happier in my whole life. People want movies to have happy endings. I’m happy (that) everything is working out for you. I’ve been very happy with (= satisfied with) the education that my boys have gotten through scouting.
Happy is used as a polite way to express your willingness to do something:
Examples: I’m driving that way and I’d be happy to drop you off at your home. It was no trouble at all – I was happy to be of help.
Happy is also used in greetings for special occasions, expressing good wishes:
Examples: Happy birthday! Happy New Year! 

happy adjective (LUCKY)

lucky:
Example: By a happy coincidence, we found ourselves on the same flight. Note: said about a condition or situation In the Bible ‘happiness’ is described as a state of pleasure and or joy experienced both by God and humans but is dependent on circumstances. True happiness can only be experienced when we securely and deeply know God and rejoice in His works and covenant faithfulness. God rejoices when we are faithful.

Happiness in human relationships

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken. Deuteronomy 24:5 And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher. Genesis 30:13 And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he delighted in Jacob’s daughter. Now he was the most honored of all his father’s house. Genesis 34:19 Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 1 Kings 10:8 He gives the barren woman a home,     making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord! Psalm 113:9

Happiness found in people and things

Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy. 1 Kings 4:20 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, Luke 1:14 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17 And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit. Deuteronomy 20:6 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; Ecclesiastes 3:12

Happiness found in God’s presence

You make known to me the path of life;     in your presence there is fullness of joy;     at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 For you make him most blessed forever;     you make him glad with the joy of your presence. Psalm 21:6 Then I will go to the altar of God,     to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre,     O God, my God. Psalm 43:4 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 1 Thessalonians 3:9

Happiness found in God’s Word

Lead me in the path of your commandments,     for I delight in it. Psalm 119:35 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,     and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,     and delight yourselves in rich food. Isaiah 55:2 Your words were found, and I ate them,     and your words became to me a joy     and the delight of my heart, or I am called by your name,     O Lord, God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, Romans 7:22

Happiness is found in God’s actions

And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. Exodus 18:9 And Hannah prayed and said,  “My heart exults in the Lord;     my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies,     because I rejoice in your salvation. 1 Samuel 2:1 On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David his servant and to Israel his people. 1 Kings 8:66 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;     indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6 For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;     at the works of your hands I sing for joy. Psalm 92:4

God’s happiness in obedient people

The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 30:9-10 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,     as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,     and to listen than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,     in those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalm 147:11 Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men,     and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer,     and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away,     and his hand is stretched out still. Isaiah 9:17 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:21

God’s happiness in the righteous

Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord,     but those of blameless ways are his delight. Proverbs 11:20 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,     in those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalm 147:11 A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,     but a just weight is his delight. Proverbs 11:1 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 2:26 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24

Jesus Christ’s recipe for happiness

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3-10 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Luke 6:20-22

Happiness may not be permanent

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. Ecclesiastes 7:14 And Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. Esther 5:9 “Remember that my life is a breath;     my eye will never again see good. Job 7:7 He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;     throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.” Psalm 10:6 A glad heart makes a cheerful face,     but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. Proverbs 15:13

Happiness for those who trust in God

O Lord of hosts,     blessed is the one who trusts in you! Psalm 84:12 Kiss the Son,     lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,     for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalm 2:12 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!     Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 Blessed is the man who makes     the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud,     to those who go astray after a lie! Psalm 40:4 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,     whose hope is in the Lord his God, Psalm 146:5

Happiness for those who obey God

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,     but blessed is he who keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18 Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come,     and my righteousness be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this,     and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,     and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”  Isaiah 56:1-2 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:27-28 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. Revelation 1:3 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7

Happiness for those who are forgiven

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,     whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,     and in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm 32:1-2 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,     and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Romans 4:7-8 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Revelation 22:14

Happiness for those who suffer persecution

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 1 Peter 3:14 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Peter 4:14

Happiness for those who persevere

And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Matthew 11:6 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:11 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) Revelation 16:15

Conclusion

Happiness can be both experienced by humans and God according to the Bible but is dependent on certain circumstances. As humans we can find happiness in other humans, human relationships, and things which may only be temporary. True and permanent happiness can only be found in God – in His presence, in His Word, and in His actions. God is happy when we trust in Him, when we obey Him, and are faithful to Him. As believers we can find happiness when God has forgiven us, when we suffer persecution, and persevere.

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