Deuteronomy 33-34; Luke 1:24-56

What is happiness and is it godly?

In Mary’s situation, she is called “blessed” or favored in two accounts and neither has to do with the way it’s defined today.

Mary’s “happiness” has nothing to do with getting what she whatever she wants, complete freedom, financial peace, or a secure future.

After an angel tells her that she will bear the Son of God, she goes to visit her relative Elizabeth. Elizabeth, also expecting a child under odd circumstances (see Lisa’s post yesterday), exclaims: “Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (v. 42)

“Blessed” here is translated in my commentary eulogeõ, like our word “eulogy,” meaning, “to speak well of.” The gift of bearing the son of God among men, Elizabeth notes, will bring her notoriety and honor on earth.

She follows up this blessing with a different blessing when she says, “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” (v. 45) The word here is makaria—a word Elizabeth uses to affirm that Mary is indwelt by God. The blessing imparted here is divine because of Mary’s faith and obedience.

Is Mary happy? Her Magnificat, song of praise exalting the Lord, certainly reveals that she is humbled and excited to bear the son of God. The emotion of happiness I’m sure coincided the song. But her blessedness, her joy is rooted in the favor she was shown by God—by being indwelt with his presence.

Commentary sums it up this way: “The Lord never promised happiness, good luck, or favorable circumstances to the believer but ‘blessedness.’ This means His indwelling and the consequent peace and satisfaction to the believer no matter what the circumstances may be.”

Mary experienced lasting joy because she was chosen to physically bear the savior of the world—a fairly exclusive task. Because of His death, resurrection, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the embodiment of Christ is freely available to all. Because this is true, true and everlasting “happiness,” complete fulfillment, is also available.

But Jesus isn’t the key to fulfillment. He isn’t to be used like a self-help book or a spiritual band-aid. Getting Jesus is the end game. Fulfillment is a natural side effect. Yes, complete satisfaction is guaranteed but only because when Jesus indwells us we experience the life we were created for–union with God.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Deuteronomy 33-34; Luke 1:24-56

  1. Christian, what a great word! I like the commentary, “His indwelling and the consequent peace and satisfaction to the believer no matter what the circumstances may be.” That is the assurance of living in Christ, and this morning this is exactly what I needed. Thank you!

  2. The truth of the last paragraph is staggering. Too often I treat Jesus like a self help guru when He is so much more. He is the lover of my soul and I will take Him any day over another self improvement project. He takes me as I am in all my brokenness, claims me as His own and is my Lord. There’s been much in my life to give thanks for, but this tops it all.

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