The Happiness of God – Part 1

golden hour photography of sky above ocean

In the film, Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell is criticized for his desire to train for the Olympic games. In the midst of their discussion, his sister Jennie essentially accuses Liddell of having a problem with idolatry. Liddell utters these words that prove to be the best line in the movie:

God made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.

To view God as happy has a bearing on our worship; it affects our evangelism; it affects the way we approach Scripture. Indeed, it affects our Christian worldview. Randy Alcorn adds, “I believe it’s vital that we not leave our children and future generations of Christians to figure out for themselves that God is happy. Most never will.”1 Instead of making assumptions about God, we want to see what the Scriptures say about him. Over and over again, we learn that God is a happy God!

In the next two posts, we will come face-to-face with this glorious reality, the happiness of God.

The Reality of God’s Happiness

In 1 Timothy 1, Paul issues a warning against false teachers and those who teach contrary to sound doctrine; doctrine that is “in accord with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God …” (v. 11).

A great part of God’s glory is his happiness. It was inconceivable to the apostle Paul that God could be denied infinite joy and still be all glorious. To be infinitely glorious was to be infinitely – happy. He used the phrase, ‘the glory of the happy God’ because it is a glorious thing for God to be as happy as he is. God’s glory consist such in the fact that he is happy beyond our wildest imagination.2

“It is of infinite importance … to know what kind of being God is. For he is … the only fountain of our true happiness,” writes Jonathan Edwards.”3 Paul refers to “the glory of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1:11). The same verse could be rendered, “the good news of the glory of the happy God.” The term blessed indicates “supreme happiness.”4 “The gospel … is the gospel of happiness,” writes Spurgeon. It is called, “the glorious gospel of the blessed God.’ A more correct translation would be ‘the happy God.’ Well, then, adorn the gospel by being happy.”5

The Greek term markáprios is translated as “blessed” or “happy.” G. Campbell Morgan adds, “I wish we were brave enough to write in our Bibles, ‘happy’ instead of ‘blessed’ for that is the right translation.”6 Simply put, the Bible shouts the happiness of God – but we are slow in embracing this important reality. Many people struggle with viewing God as happy because they have not been taught properly.

Henry Scougal brings us back to reality:

It should delight us beyond all expression, to consider that the beloved of our souls is infinitely happy in himself (emphasis mine), and that all his enemies can not shake or unsettle his throne, ‘that our God is in the heavens, and doth whatsoever he pleaseth.’

Oh, that we would delight in the happiness of God. May this glorious reality embolden us and enable our hands and feet for the tasks before us and may we receive strength from the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

  1. Randy Alcorn, Happiness (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), 110.
  2. John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1991), 23.
  3. Jonathan Edwards, cited in Randy Alcorn, Happiness (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), 111-112.
  4. Robert Jameison, cited in Ibid.
  5. C.H. Spurgeon, cited in Ibid, 127.
  6. G. Campbell Morgan, cited in Ibid, 218.

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