Continuing in Psalm 103, we are following David as he counts the “benefits” of walking with God. It is suggested that perhaps David had recovered from an illness when he wrote this Psalm. During an illness, his food (if allowed any) would have been bland and unsatisfying. His youth was restored and he was able to enjoy food again. We also know from David’s story that there was a period of time when he was on the run, and very likely went without food and was quite weak. So, he would very likely be appreciative of good food and renewed strength.
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ~ Psalm 103:5 (KJV)
This could also be a general acknowledgement of being satisfied in the Lord. Recently I purchased a shirt that says, “Do more of what makes you happy”. When I saw this shirt, I didn’t see it as a declaration of focusing only on my personal happiness at the cost of everything else. However, someone remarked to me (at the sight of said shirt) that God doesn’t want us to pursue happiness. Which was rather deflating of my happiness-level at seeing the shirt. Clearly God’s goal is to further His kingdom, but couldn’t serving the Lord bring happiness? Isn’t that why it is called the “joy of the Lord”? Didn’t the Creator give us the ability to feel happy? It has often been my experience that those who begrudge others’ happiness are simply trying to make themselves feel better (by dragging down) about their lack thereof.
Personally, I saw the shirt as a reminder that we often become bogged down with so many things we think we must do and we miss out on the little joys of life. We don’t make time for smiling and laughter. We somehow feel “noble” for being a “happiness martyr”. Our lives become “to-do” lists and general busyness, that if we’re honest, probably aren’t always in line with God’s will. Hugging my kids makes me happy. Spending time with my husband makes me happy. Shouldn’t we do more of those things? Aren’t they honoring to the Lord? And yet, they make me happy. Imagine that.
Maybe we feel guilty for enjoying the “good things” in life. Or maybe others try to make us feel guilty. I mean, there will always be suffering in this world, does that mean God doesn’t want us to take vacations, smell the roses, take a nap, read a good book, play a board game, go for a walk, enjoy a tasty meal…etc? King David obviously didn’t feel that way. He praised God for the “good things”. In fact, he went so far as to say that God satisfies him with good things. Satisfaction often brings a feeling of happiness. When we read about David, we know that he danced before the Lord, something that brought him criticism, but which I fully believe pleased God and made David happy.
I wonder if someone came along when David was singing this Psalm and said, “you should give that tasty food to the poor because your happiness is not God’s priority.” There will always be “boo birds”. I would prefer to see that shirt in a positive light rather than seeing only the potential dangers of doing more things that make you happy. You see, we know God gives blessings. We know He delights in blessing His children, and does He do so to make them miserable? No, He knows they will experience happiness. If you’re a parent, it isn’t difficult to understand the joy you feel when your child smiles. Does this mean that all of life should be smiles? No, that would be impossible in this fallen world. Can people distort the pursuit of happiness into something that is quite selfish and self-serving? Absolutely. Does this make happiness the root of all evil? Heavens no.
David chose to praise God for the good things bestowed upon him. He recognized where these things came from, and he was thankful. Was David’s life all “good”? No way. He had plenty to cry about, but when joy, goodness… and yes, I’ll say it, happiness presented themselves, he embraced them with open arms.
Well, that’s Psalm 103:5. Tomorrow I’ll welcome April by posting my next Siesta memory verse. Until then, may you delight in the Lord and His many benefits.