Matt. 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
What does it mean to be blessed? I think humans often think of being blessed in terms of physical blessings. That kind of blessed would refer to unexpected financial provision, extra paid vacation days, even the unexpected parking spot. “Boy, did I get blessed today.” The word blessed in the Bible is much more significant than just physical provision (even though it includes that). In the greek New Testament the word is makarios. It means happiness specifically speaking of happiness in the other world. There is a place of extreme, radical happiness that is found in God alone. It’s not in His gifts or provisions; although there are plenty of those. This happiness comes from being satisfied and complete in the enjoyment of God. That is blessedness. Here is how Thomas Watson describes it.
“Let us so conduct ourselves—that we may express to others that we do believe a blessedness to come—and that is by seeking an interest in God. For the beams of blessedness shine only from his face. It is our union with God, the chief good—which makes us blessed. Oh, let us never rest until we can say, ‘This God is our God forever and ever’ (Psalm 48:14). Most men think because God has blessed them with an estate, therefore they are blessed. Alas, God often gives these worldly things in anger. ‘God grants a thing when he is angry—which he does not will to give when he is tranquil.’ God often loads his enemies with gold and silver—the weight whereof sinks them into hell. Oh, let us pant after heavenly things! Let us get our eyes fixed, and our hearts united to God, the supreme good.”
That is certainly another way to look at things. Just as the children of Israel lusted after the quail and had so much that it was literally coming out of their noses, Watson says that sometimes excessive provision is a form of the judgement of God. The Lord supplies excessively to the greedy that their hearts can be exposed, that is a terrifying thought.
True happiness comes from God alone. The other things that we take pleasure in are only shadows pointing us to the fountain of all goodness. The world is desperately searching for this happiness. Today they are looking for it in the bars, in the arms of some illicit lover, in the casinos or powerball, some are searching for it on the golf course or at the football game, or in some form of substance abuse. As Thomas Watson said, “A man can no more extract blessedness out of sin—than he can suck health out of poison!” No, blessedness only comes from the fountain of all good.
Jesus’ greatest sermon could be titled “The Search For Happiness”. He started it with a list of actions that lead to blessedness. As He said, “Blessed ( makarios – happy) are the pure in heart for they shall see God”.