by Graham Mol
What is your attitude toward life like?
Don’t worry, you don’t need to answer that right now. Just keep it in mind as we consider the following proverb:
“All the days of the oppressed are miserable,
but a cheerful heart has a continual feast,”
(Proverbs 15:15 CSB)
The New Living Translation puts it this way:
“For the despondent, every day brings trouble;
for the happy heart, life is a continual feast,”
(Proverbs 15:15 NLT)
This snippet of wisdom points out the fact that our attitude toward life – the state of our hearts affects how we see, feel and experience each new day. For those who are feeling afflicted or oppressed, in a place of despondency, it seems that each day brings more trouble. They find the negative in every positive, their clouds all seem to lose their silver lining. What a contrast this is to those with a cheerful heart for whom life is not merely “nice” or “okay” but is described as a continual feast. For them there is always something new to try, to taste, to delight in. There is always more, and plenty to share with others.
The facts of life are just that, the facts. Whether or not we can explain them, or change them, we are all presented with them as sure as the sun rises over us. The difference is how we think and feel about the facts and circumstances we face, the difference is how we will respond. Will today bring trouble, or will we feast on the joys and opportunities given to us. Consider how you feel when you read the following statement:
“Anything can happen.”
Does this statement fill you with dread? Or does it speak to you about possibility, discovery and promise?
The proverbs in the Bible are wise reflections of what tends to be true in life. They are insights into our thinking and experience of life. Proverbs 15:15 points out the fact that our attitude, the condition of our heart vastly changes our experience of daily life. However knowing this might not help you feel any better if you find yourself in that place of despondency, afflicted and oppressed by the trials of life. We all wish that we could experience life as a continual feast, but sadly that is not the reality for many.
The good news is that with the Lord we can experience such joy. Psalm 23 was written by King David who, although not perfectly, walked with the Lord in love and obedience. The words of the psalm describe the beautiful reality of having the Lord as our Shepherd loving and caring for us. David speaks of the Lord preparing a table in for him in the presence of his enemies. With the Lord we can still enjoy the feast of life even in a hostile, difficult situation. With Jesus as our Good Shepherd, the cup of our joy will overflow and we will no longer have hearts that are afflicted and despondent but that are cheerful, ready to experience the glorious banquet of life before us.
The Lord Is My Shepherd
A Psalm of David.
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord