One of the things I discovered is that the word “happy” is in the plural. Biblical Hebrew doesn’t have a system of superlative language (e.g. good, better, best), so when a Old Testament writer wanted to emphasize or strengthen a word he would simply put it in the plural, as if to say “happy, happy, happy is everyone who fears the Lord…” Some translations use the word “blessed” in verse one, which reminded me of the parallel nature of true happiness and and the blessing of the Lord.
David, who wrote this Psalm, laid down two conditions for being happy and blessed. The first condition is that the fear of the Lord must be the center of one’s life. Scientists tell us that our solar system is composed of one star, nine planets (or eight if you buy into the new supposition regarding Pluto), 32 moons, about 100,000 asteroids and comets beyond calculation. The thing that holds our solar system together is the sun. Everything revolves and orbits around that epicenter. What is the center of your life? Who is the center of your life? When the fear of the Lord is absent from our lives we become enslaved to lesser fears. If the fear of the Lord is central to our lives, everything takes its appropriate place and we experience happiness and blessing.
The second condition is that our lives must have an established circumference. Verse 128:1 continues, “How happy is everyone…who walks in his ways.” At the center of life is the fear of the Lord. At the circumference of life is the Word of God. The Scripture sets forth the boundaries of our lives. We must draw the line where God draws the line. Anytime we go out of bounds, we experience fear, guilt, sorrow and pain.
At the center is the fear of the Lord. At the circumference is the Word of God. When we get the center and the circumference right, we can experience true happiness and the four fold blessing of God described in 128:2-4. More on that tomorrow.