Is not following bad advice,
Is not running with the wrong crowd,
Is not getting your self worth by comparison with others.
Is loving what’s right in God’s sight,
Is practicing doing right around the clock.
Those who follow this advice are like trees planted on the riverbank,
Not so with evil folk.
They are dust in the wind,
They won’t have a case in court,
They won’t get a pew in church.
God guards the righteous wherever they go,
But the evil road leads to certain death.
If only it were true!
In reality, bad things happen to good people, and quite often those who are most evil win their court cases and have plaques honoring them in churches. Better to think of this song as an ideal, so far as everyone getting what the deserve is concerned.
Even so, the wisdom in the song is in it’s description of where happiness is found – and where it’s not. Regardless of external circumstances and rewards, happiness is a result of an inner bent toward right.
A friend who just returned from a three-week tour of villages in central Africa yesterday told me how striking it was to see so many people in such terrible poverty who wore great smiles. Surely, their suffering is incongruent with their deserving. Yet they are in many moments, happy. Contrast that with the robber-baron who has everything but whose soul is so empty it’s turned his life into a black hole sucking in everything and anything indiscriminately. No happiness there.
You can have happiness now, even while longing for (and working for) the justice that is not yet.