We all live by letting certain life principles or personal convictions guide or direct our thoughts, words, or actions. For example, the one who won the 700 million-peso jackpot in the lottery believes that luck may come his way. He spends 10 or 300 pesos believing that he has the right to use his money in any way he wants to and that gambling is morally acceptable because it is legal. He believes that having more money means more happiness. We do certain things according to what our heart desires and what our conscience dictates.
Many people think that if you will follow what your heart says, you will be happy. And that you will have satisfaction in the pursuit of your dreams and ambitions. This is not necessarily so. The author of Psalm 119 exclaims in verse 2:
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.
Note that this verse started with the same word as in verse 1 (“Blessed…”). He continues to tell us who are the truly happy person. It is not those who follow their heart, but those who follow God’s heart (“those who keep his testimonies”). It is not those who pursue their dreams and ambitions, but those who pursue God (“who seek him with their whole heart”).
The psalmist uses another word for God’s Word here: testimonies (verse 1 refers to God’s “law”). As testimonies, God’s Word contains a revelation of the truths about God’s character and works. It bears witness to those timeless truths and universal principles that we must believe and follow. Because they are God’s testimonies, there is no other proper response than to keep or observe them.
To keep them is to guard one’s self from error and falsehood. To keep them is to treat God as trustworthy and dependable and true. To neglect them is to doubt God himself. Those who keep them are blessed because it draws them closer to God. Why? Because to keep God’s Word is also to seek or pursue him. As we daily let his Word govern the way we think and act, we experience God drawing us closer to him each day. That is true blessedness, a million times better than winning the hundred million lottery.
The manner we seek God in his word is by no means superficial or merely external. It must be “with [our] whole heart.” God is not delighted with pretenses or hypocritical religiosity. Devotion to his Word is not through a set of rituals or external forms but an inner experience which engages one’s heart to listen to and heed God’s instructions.
This also means that we pursue God alone. Not God and money. Not God and career. Not God and our own reputation. God alone. You cannot pursue two things and be totally devoted to God. True happiness is attained through a single-minded pursuit of God in whose presence “there is fullness of joy…[and] pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
If the Word of God is close to your heart, then God also draws himself closer to you. You cannot seek him and draw yourself closer to him apart from his Word. To neglect his Word is foolishness because it brings misery. It brings misery because doing so draws us away from God, the fountain of all true happiness.
Only the treasuring and relentless pursuit not of money or worldly success but of the Word of God and, therefore, the God of the Word will bring true happiness.