Commentary

Happiness

By Rev. Julian Duckworth and New Christian Bible Study Staff

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Does God want us to be happy? What does the Bible say about happiness?

“Happiness” may seem like a passing thing, and hardly the ultimate goal in most belief systems. In fact, though, it is the Lord’s greatest goal for us: He wants us to be happy. If we allow it, He will lead and guide us to be as happy as we are able to be.

The whole reason the Lord created us was so that he could love us, and what else but happiness do you wish for someone you love? But the happiness the Lord wants for us is not the passing joy of satisfying our bodily desires but the exquisite eternal joy of conjunction with the Lord and true love of the neighbor, things harder to see and harder to attain but ultimately far more delightful.

Swedenborg distinguishes heaven’s happiness from worldly happiness of satisfying our bodily desires. In heaven, all happiness is felt from loving the Lord and being of use, living for the sake of others. Everything the Lord does is part of his attempt to lead us to that state, and in everything that happens to us - even the things that are the most tragic on the natural level - he provides opportunities for us to move toward that state.

The Lord also, however, leaves us in freedom. We can reject his efforts and turn away if we choose to, and while that choice may seem to us to lead toward happiness, it is a passing, natural happiness that is ultimately only a shadow of the joy he desires for us. However, those in hell are "happy" being there because the life there matches their self-centered love they chose to cultivate while on earth. If those in hell could be lifted up to heaven, they would feel tormented.

From Psalm 65:9-13:

Thou visitest the earth, and blessest it; thou makest it very plenteous.
The river of God is full of water: thou preparest their corn, for so thou providest for the earth.
Thou waterest her furrows; thou sendest rain into the little valleys thereof; thou makest it soft with the drops of rain, and blessest the increase of it.
Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy clouds drop fatness.
They shall drop upon the dwellings of the wilderness; and the little hills shall rejoice on every side.
The folds shall be full of sheep; the valleys also shall stand so thick with corn, that they shall laugh and sing.

From John 15:11:
I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1153 [2]; Divine Providence 37)

The Bible

Psalms 65:9-13

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

← Psalms 64   Full Chapter   Psalms 66 →

9 Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.

10 Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.

11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.

12 They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.

13 The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

← Psalms 64   Full Chapter   Psalms 66 →

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 315


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 2702, 2708, 3580, 5943

Apocalypse Revealed 496, 546

The Last Judgment (Continuation) 13


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 644, 730

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Spiritual Topics:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Leviticus 26:4

Deuteronomy 11:12

Job 5:10, 36:31, 37:13

Psalms 68:10, 98:8, 104:13

Isaiah 41:5, 44:23, 49:13, 55:12

Daniel 4:2

Joel 2:22

Malachi 1:11

Acts of the Apostles 14:17

Hebrews 6:7

Resources for parents and teachers

A Time to Remember

Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6


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