The Happiest People
Who are the happiest people in the world? Is it the wealthiest? They are able to buy everything they want. They have beautiful homes, luxurious cars, designer clothes, exotic holidays, gorgeous food and all the modern gadgets. They never have debts or financial worries. Surely they are the most content? And yet many of them are deeply unhappy. Tabloid newspapers and magazines display their miserable lives. Their marriages break down, they are depressed and anxious, they become addicted to drink and drugs, they are constantly watched by the media, they are surrounded by vultures, despite all their wealth they are longing for more, and inside their hearts there is an emptiness and craving.
Moses was an exceedingly wise man who lived to the ripe old age of one hundred and twenty years enjoying the use of all his faculties. His experiences were unrivalled. First for forty years he was educated in all the wisdom and culture of ancient Egypt. His next forty years were spent alone with his sheep and his God in the desert. His last forty years involved delivering more than a million slaves from Egypt and forming them under God into a nation which, after thousands of years, still exists today. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he wrote more of the Scriptures than any other man. God spoke to him face to face as a man to his friend. At the end of his eventful life, he could say on his deathbed, ‘Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places’ (Deut. 33:29).
Who are these happy people today? Is it the Jews, the natural descendants of those to whom Moses spoke? Certainly not! For two thousand years they have suffered under the judgment of God as no other people have ever suffered because they rejected their Messiah, the one of whom Moses spoke: ‘The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken’ (Deut. 18:15). The true Israel today are those who believe the Scriptures and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. They are the happiest people in the world. Why?
They have a great God
‘There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky’ (Deut. 33:26). Other gods are dumb idols who have eyes but cannot see and ears but cannot hear. Some like Allah are the imagination of men’s hearts. The gods of many in today’s Western world are soppy, sentimental and helpless. But Jehovah is the mighty God who created heaven and earth, who sustains all His creatures in being, who reigns over the nations; the awesome, majestic Lord. No-one can resist Him and all that happens happens according to His will. He is the supreme being. ‘The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice’ (Ps. 97:1). Happy are those people who worship and serve the Almighty, the living and true God!
God is their God
This God enters into a personal relationship with some people. He calls Himself the ‘God of Jeshurun’ (Deut. 33:26). Jeshurun is a pet name that God gives to His people. True religion is not simply beliefs, rituals and commandments; it is a relationship with the living God. Sadly this is what is missing even from so many forms of the Christian religion. God chose Israel, not mighty Egypt or Persia and He set His love upon His chosen. Yes, He set His love on you and me, child of God. That is worth infinitely more than anything this world can offer. Can you say, ‘God is my God’? If you can, you are a happy, happy person.
God is their Saviour
God saved these happy people. He ‘rideth upon the heaven in thy help’ (v 26). He saved Israel from their Egyptian slave-masters. He destroyed their enemies with plagues and drowned them in the Red Sea. He rode from heaven to this world to save us. He came and died for us on the cross, suffering what we deserved in order to take us to heaven to be with Himself forever. He came to seek and to save the lost and having found us he brought us home rejoicing. We were doomed to hell because of our sins but He paid the ransom price, His own blood, to set us free. Rejoice!
God is their Refuge
‘The eternal God is thy refuge’ (v 27). The Amalekites were a warlike people. They attacked Israel from the rear so as to overcome those who were tired and frail and lagging behind. But God gave Israel victory and vowed an everlasting war with Amalek and their total destruction. The Lord is ‘an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest’ (Is. 32:2). Whatever the problems, whatever the storms and trials, run to God. Whether your enemies are men or devils, here is the answer. Fear God and you need not fear anyone else. It is a happy people who have a safe castle where no enemy can touch them.
God picks them up when they fall
‘Underneath are the everlasting arms’ (v 27). Israel were tempted many times in their journey through the wilderness. They sinned and incurred His chastisement, yet they were never cast off. They were like a child learning to walk, tottering and falling but the parent was just behind catching them as they fell. It is wonderful to know that God’s arms are there. Sometimes, indeed often, we fall but, praise the Lord, no matter how low we fall, underneath are the everlasting arms. These arms are not there just sometimes, but always; the everlasting arms of the unchanging, covenant-keeping God.
God gives them a home
‘Israel then shall dwell in safety alone’ (v 28). Having left Egypt, God’s people dwelt in tents and God tabernacled among them. Later they inherited nice houses in Canaan which others had built. Yet they were still looking for a city whose Builder and Maker was God (Heb. 11:10). Eventually they reached the ‘house of many mansions’ (Jn. 14:2). God is our dwelling place (Ps. 90:1). Many are homeless in this world and the next but God’s people are unique and special and shall dwell in safety alone.
God makes them prosperous
‘The fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew’ (v 28). Many suffer from famine and hunger but God’s people are given a land flowing with milk and honey. The Psalmist can say of them even in this world: ‘I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread’ (Ps. 37:25). Even in the desert God gave them bread from heaven and water from the rock. The Egyptians had to water their crops by irrigation but God will drop down His dew from heaven on His beloved. ‘My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 4:19).
God saves them
God set His love on Israel and He delivered them from their bondage in Egypt. He saved them from the army of Pharaoh, from drowning in the Red Sea, from hunger and thirst in the desert and from the fiery serpents which they had brought upon themselves. They were His chosen from eternity and He was to them Jehovah, the great I Am, the covenant-keeping God of grace. He elected us, He sent His Son to die for us, and He came to live in us and to apply redemption to us. He called us, regenerated us, enabled us to repent and believe, justified, adopted and sanctified us, united us to Christ and will one day soon glorify us. ‘Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord’ (v 29).
God demonstrates their enemies to be liars
‘Thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places’ (v 29). Proud Pharaoh said: ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go’ (Ex. 5:2). But he learned who the Lord was, and, despite his hardening of his heart against Israel, he had to let them go. He was found to be a liar. People will mock us and defy our God, but one day they will have to answer to Him. Satan the great enemy tells us there is no hope and we are finished. He says our life is going to end in disaster but he too will be found to be a liar. Yes, and we shall tread upon the high places of our enemies and Satan shall be bruised under our feet shortly (Rom. 16:20).
God is their guide
God led Israel by His pillar of cloud by day and His pillar of fire by night. He gave them Moses to be their prophet and so taught them His law and His gospel. He guided them to this point where they were about to enter the Promised Land. People look for direction. They are troubled by choices. They seek meaning and purpose.
But God guides us by His Word. There we are taught all that we need to know. The Psalmist said: ‘Thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory’. What a blessed people we are. No wonder the Psalmist adds, ‘Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever’ (Ps. 73:23-26).
‘Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee’. Do not let the devil keep you down, nor the world discourage you nor unbelief leave you depressed. Rejoice in the Lord with all your heart.