The Law Brings Happiness

Jonathan McAnulty

Solomon said, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the Law.” (Proverbs 29:18, NKJV) The word revelation is translated “prophetic vision” in the English Standard Version and refers to God's message to man. Solomon's observation is a grim reminder of the consequences of leaving God's word. Unhappiness begins with turning away from the Bible. 

There are many people who resent the Word of God and the constraints it places upon them. They tell themselves that men would be happier if they could just free themselves from the influence of old-fashioned morality. They see religion as the cause of all the world's ills and as a fetter which holds back the progress of civilization. Many times, what is desired by such individuals is “sexual freedom.” They believe that happiness will be found in promiscuity without consequences. They promote sexual immorality, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage for any cause, abortion, and a host of related behaviors. As God's word teaches that such things are wrong, they must denigrate and ignore God's revelation to man.

When men turn away from God, they are turning away from the Giver of Law and the Source of all morality. When men turn away from the Word of God which teaches, “Do not commit adultery,” they are also turning away from the commands, “Do not lie,” “Do not steal,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Without the Word of God, there are ultimately no constraints or restrictions on behavior. Those who turn away from God and His word will grow worse and worse in their conduct. Paul well described this situation, saying “being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:29-31, NKJV)

A society without the constraints of God's word is a society in which there is no trust, no respect and little compassion. It is a society where children are trained from birth to do their own thing and then are resented when they do and “their thing” just happens to be selfish and harmful to others. It is a society in which men feel no guilt about stealing, as long as they are not caught, and in which every man talks ill of those around him. It is a society in which evil is called good and good is called evil. It is a society which cannot help but reap all the unfortunate consequences of sin and the wrath of God. Who could be happy in such a situation? Yet, this is the society many, in their ignorance, want to create. 

How much better is it when men accept the guidance of God and live according to His divine precepts? Instead of chaffing under the restraints God imposes upon us, we should accept His law as the good guidance it is; knowing that in obedience to the commands of God we find joy, peace, and hope. How pleasant it is when one is surrounded by honest, hard-working, trustworthy, respectful individuals. How much nicer it is when our neighbors care for us and seek to show love to us. How enjoyable is the home where the children are dutiful, respectful, and diligent; where the parents are devoted to one another, the husband faithful to the wife and the wife faithful to the husband. When we consider the sort of life that we would consider blessed, it is exactly the sort of life God's word leads us toward. Jesus said He came to give us life and to give it to us more abundantly (John 10:10). The blessed life Jesus grants us is not found by those who would reject any portion of God's Word. It is received only by those who keep the law: all of the law. 

Let us remember that when we turn away from part of God's word it leads eventually to turning away from all of God's word, and down that road lies a life with no guidance and no lasting joy. The man who keeps the law of God, he is happy in this life and in the next. -54549 St. Joe Rd; Bellaire, OH 43906.

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