אַשְׁרֵי – ‘esher

What is ‘esher? ‘esher is the Hebrew word for Happiness.

Today, the 20th of March 2016 is the first day of spring but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Today also marks the International Day of Happiness. What a day to celebrate? 🙂

So back to ‘esher.

Definition:

  1. Happiness, blessedness

a. often used as interjection

b. blessed are

The word for Psalms in hebrew means praises or hymns, so it is not surprising that this Old Testament book has the most references to the word ‘esher. Where there is happiness, praise follows. Or is it possible for an unhappy person to truly praise the Lord?

In this post I’ll highlight 7 points on how we can ensure that our lives are filled with ‘esher. I chose the number 7 because in the bible it often represents divine perfection, totality on completion. I pray that you will be able to find ways to have total happiness in these 7 points. 

1.WALK IN THE CORRECT COUNSEL

Psalms 1:1 says “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”

  • Blessings are to the men (& women) that don’t associate themselves with the ways of the wicked. He or she does not take part in their sinful actions, agree or  follow them.
  • In the bible there is a general principle that you reap what you sow. Galatians 6:8 says: Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
  • Living righteously helps us to avoid the stings and sorrows that many people in the world experience which decrease their chances of experiencing happiness. Psalms 32:10 warns “many sorrows shall be to the wicked. But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.”
  • Of course, there may be times when the righteous will suffer but if you look at the bigger picture there are things that you will not have to face because you have been righteous. For example; if you don’t walk in the counsel of those who practice in sexual immorality you will not have to worry about the struggles of living with sexually transmitted diseases.
  • I’m reminded about not making decisions to get short term happiness  as they may cause you to be bitter in the long run.

2. FEAR THE LORD

Psalms 112:1 Praise the LORD ! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD , Who greatly delights in His commandments.

Psalms 128:1-2 1 How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD , Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you.

 Proverbs 28:14  How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

  •  When you fear the Lord it doesn’t mean that you are scared of him. The hebrew word associated with the fear of God is viewed as a positive quality to have, it means  to respect or to reverence.
  •  Having a healthy type of fear of God means that you fear the consequences of disobedience. Therefore the fear enables us to take Him and His laws seriously. When we fear the Lord we delight in His commands and therefore we shall receive His benefits.
  •  When we follow God’s  commands we will be happy because all shall be well with us.
  •  When we go against God’s commands that is when we are subjected to disappointment and sadness.

3. LEARN TO BE CONTENT

Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind. Ecclesiastes 6:9

  • This point speaks to me so much. We are led to believe that the grass is greener on the other side. This is a lie directly from Satan. He tries to convince us that we only need something that we don’t already have and that we would never be truly content.
  • We will never be happy about anything if you’re not content with what you have.
  • When we build our lives on having things we will never be satisfied. The more we have, the more we will want.
  • As Christians we need to learn to rely on God’s promises and Christ’s power to help us to be content. IMG_7299
  • If you find yourself always wanting more and not being satisfied ask God to remove that desire and teach you to be content in every situation. He will supply all your needs in a way that he knows is best for us.
  •  With snap chat, twitter, insta and other different social media it is very easy to fall into the trap of comparing your life with the life of others. But if you do not already know, Comparison is the thief of joy!
  • You may think the grass is greener on the other side, but if you take time to water your own grass it would be just as green.
  • Happiness lies within your attitude and not what you have

4.  DO THINGS FOR OTHERS

Psalm 41:1 How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The LORD will deliver him in a day of trouble.

Proverbs 14:21 He who despises his neighbor sins, But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.

  • The bible often speaks of God’s care for the poor and His the blessings he gives to those who share the same concern.
  • God blesses us as we bless others. By blessing others we are opening up opportunities to experience true happiness.
  • The second verse is also very applicable to young people living in today’s society. When we despise those around us we are sinning. However when we are gracious (aka. courteous, kind, pleasant) we will receive true happiness. Being a hater does not profit us, we end up living lives filled with negative emotions.
  • “If you want to feel good, do good.”

5. DWELL IN THE LORD’S PRESENCE 

Psalms 84:4-5 How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You. Selah. 5 How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion!

  • Yes, it is true that we can meet and fellowship with God anywhere at any time, but by going into a church building we are making an effort in stepping aside from a busy mainstream life to a place where we can mediate and pray.
  • We can find joy (happiness) not  by simply being in the building  but  in the praying, singing, teaching, preaching and fellowship that takes place there.
  • Psalms 16:11 reminds us that “in the presence of God there is fullness of joy”

6. REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE FORGIVEN 

Psalm 32:1-2 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit!

  • In the gospels, we see that when Jesus healed/ forgave  people and gave them a second chance they were happier.
  • We have also been given this great opportunity. Being aware that our sins have been washed by His blood and that we’ve been cleared of guilt makes us happier.
  • Knowing that God doesn’t hold a grudge against us because of the sins we commit produces a happy feeling.

7. RELISH THE SCRIPTURES

Jeremiah said that “When [God’s] words came, [he] ate them; they were [his] joy and [his] heart’s delight” Jeremiah 15:16

  • As Christian’s we have a reason to rejoice in the Word of God. It comforts us in time of trouble, it keeps us from sinning ( I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you Psalms 119:11). The bible provides us with the strength we need to overcome temptation and deal with our daily lives.
  • When we read the bible, we are able to read about others that have trod the same road as we are and have won the victory. The bible gives us hope and assurance which ultimately manifests as happiness in our lives.

So those are just 7 points on how to have lives filled with ‘esher. I pray that we will be able to add these principles of happiness to our lives, In Jesus Name.

Be optimistic. Hope for the best. Expect things to turn out well. Worry is the arch enemy of happiness. Happiness is a journey. When we fall into the trap of thinking that it is only when we get somewhere in life or that one thing we’ve wished for that we experience happiness. Find the little things in life that make you happy. 

Stay Blessed & Do what makes you happy,

Dara Dare

P.S – Please listen to the song below called “Do you wanna be happy?” by Kirk Franklin as you reflect on the points above.

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