Happiness of the Wicked
The word "happy" is a Bible word. It is found twenty-five times in our King James Bible. The first time the word happy was used in our Bible was when Leah talked about her children. "Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher." (Genesis 30:13) In the last use of the word happy in our Bible (KJV) Peter, "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified." (1 Peter 4:14) In John 13:17 we observe that people are happy if the learn and do the will of God. One of the great passages containing happiness is found in connection with children. "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." (Psalm 127:3-5) The key to real or true happiness is for God to rule my life. But what about the happiness of that the wicked enjoy on earth?
The happiness of the wicked is limited to this life only. Men of this world (wicked) have their portion in this life. (Psalm 17:14) We cannot have both earth and heaven. Each person must choose his portion. The wise and spiritually minded person will choose that which will last forever. The rich man of Luke 16:19-31 is an example of a person who has his portion in this life. To him "Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." (Luke 16:25) Observe that in this lifetime he had his good things. But his happiness was limited to this life only.
The happiness of the wicked is short in its duration. In the book of Job Zophar the Naamathite said correctly, "That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?" (Job 20:5) The wicked may prosper for a time. They may be secure, easy and very happy for a short period of time. The wicked may seem to have everything going their way. The poor, honest Christian may be struggling in this life. The wicked may be prospering. But the truth is that the wicked will not prosper for long. The joy of the wicked is for a few earthly moments but it will in eternal misery and torment forever.
The happiness of the wicked is very uncertain. The wicked can be happy one moment and that happiness can turn to misery so quickly. A certain man thought he had it made without God. He was so happy and content that he had said to himself, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." (Luke 12:19) But, God said, "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?" (Luke 12:20) The happiness of the wicked is just as uncertain as life itself. James described it this way, "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:13-14) God can provide you eternal happiness, therefore choose God!
The happiness of the wicked is derived from many sources. The wicked gain their happiness from their wealth. (Psalm 52:7) Other wicked people gain happiness from their power. (Psalm 37:35) Happiness comes for some of the wicked through worldly possessions. (Psalm 73:4-5) Popular applause brings happiness to some of the wicked. (Acts 12:22) Gluttony brings happiness to the wicked. (Isaiah 22:13) Drunkenness is a source of happiness for some wicked. (Isaiah 5:11) Vain pleasure likewise provides happiness to the wicked. (Isaiah 5:12)
The happiness of the wicked leads to sorrow. While it is true that the wicked have some earthly happiness the end of a wicked life is always misery. "Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness." (Proverbs 14:13) The enticement to sin is sweet, but the end of it is destruction. Ultimate joy does not come from the wicked. The choice is ours; we can experience the disappointments of a wicked life or the untimely joy of the godly.
Will you accept God's wonderful good news that Jesus died for your sins? Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) Believers contact Christ's saving blood by being baptized into His death. Those that become children of God have reason to rejoice. (Acts 8:39) Rejoicing follows man's response to God's good news of forgiveness by the death of Jesus.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA