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Gospel Gazette Online

Vol. 11 No. 3 March 2009

Page 5

Wisdom's Corner

Blessed Is the Man

Mark McWhorter“Blessed” in most instances in the Bible comes from words that meant happy. What makes a man blessed according to the Bible?

Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” People who do not follow God think that Christians are unhappy people. They think that partaking in sinful things makes a person happy. It is just the opposite. Abstaining from sinful things is what makes a man truly happy.

Psalm 40:4 reads, “Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.” A man will not truly be happy if he puts all his trust in another man. Men make mistakes. God never makes a mistake. God never lies. God is the one who can be trusted completely. Following God makes a man happy.

Psalm 84:5 observes, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.” Any person who thinks that he has the power to live life happily without God, is mistaken. Only by trusting in God’s strength can a person be truly happy.

It is important to know how to be happy. There are many books written by men in which they attempt to tell readers how to find happiness. However, true happiness can only come by following God. It is necessary to read and study the Bible to find happiness. Obey God, and if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

He Paid the Fare

Many people are familiar with the biblical account of Jonah. He was told by God to go preach to the Ninevites. Jonah did not want to do this. He got on a ship and headed toward a far place called Tarshish. God created a storm that threatened to sink the ship. The crew of the ship finally threw Jonah overboard, which calmed the storm. Jonah was swallowed by a large fish. At the end of three days, the fish vomited Jonah up onto land. Jonah then went and preached in the city of Nineveh.

In Jonah 1:3, there is an interesting phrase. When Jonah went to the seaport of Joppa, he found a ship and “he paid the fare.” In the Hebrew, this phrase means he “paid the hire.” This phrase indicates that Jonah did not just buy a ticket for the trip. Rather, it indicates that Jonah hired the boat to go where he wanted to go. He paid the salary of the crew. As one reads the account, there are no other passengers mentioned. The shipmaster and mariners do not ask anyone else about their relationship with their god. The crew is convinced that Jonah is to blame. No passengers are mentioned to have also considered Jonah as the source of the trouble. All indications are that Jonah is the only passenger.

This may be why the crew was slow to throw him overboard. He was their only passenger, and he had paid for use of the whole boat. He was very possibly a rich man to have been able to do this. They did not want to throw such a person overboard.

The fact that he paid for the whole boat indicates how serious Jonah was to escape from doing what God told him to do. This would be similar to someone today rushing to the airport and buying every seat on a large plane—even paying enough so that the pilots would fly the plane to a different destination.

Yet, Jonah learned that attempting to pay the fare to get away from God was actually throwing money away. Jonah’s money payment was in vain. Jonah never reached his destination. Instead, he ended up at the bottom of the ocean in the belly of a whale.

There are many people today who spend their money in every possible way, except to do what God desires. God desires that we obey him. God wants us to preach the Gospel to the world. He wants us to use our material blessings to glorify Him.

However, many people use their money to buy their way to what they think is happiness. They think they can avoid and ignore God. Yet, God knows and sees everything. Jonah had to answer to God in a very short time. All men will answer to God at the Judgment. Will God be pleased with the way you paid the fare?

Study your Bible. Learn what God desires for you to do, and if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

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