Summary: The first of the seven beatitudes in Revelation reminds us that we need to pay attention to who the revealed Jesus is.
1. "Happy as a Clam" -- Meaning: Very happy and content
Why would clams be happy? It has been suggested that open clams give the appearance of smiling. The derivation is more likely to come from the fuller version of the phrase, now rarely heard - 'as happy as a clam at high water'. Hide tide is when clams are free from the attentions of predators; surely the happiest of times in the bivalve mollusk world. The phrase originated in the north-eastern states of the USA in the early 19th century.
2. Happiness is a big deal to us -- Especially as Americans -- Our Declaration of Independence states that we are endowed by our Creator with the rights of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness (Property)
a. Sometimes we can get off track with our pursuit of happiness and create idols and addictions
b. Comparisons and Conclusions
For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Psalm 73:3
"Paparazzi" comes from "Paparazzo," a news photographer character in the 1960 film, La Dolce Vita. Thanks to the ever-present paparazzi today, the whole world is treated to the luxuries and lifestyles of contemporary celebrities. The world sees their clothes, their cars, their cash, and their careers as the badges of success and happiness.
There were no paparazzi in the Old Testament period, but the lifestyles of the wealthy and famous were still well-known. And the psalmist Asaph admitted to struggling with envy (Psalm 73). The wealthy wicked (as he saw them) seemed to ignore God and be no worse off for it. They had everything they wanted and more than they needed. On the contrary, Asaph declared his own attempts to live a life of purity and devotion to be vanity: "Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain" (verse 13). But one day, while worshiping God, he had an epiphany: The wicked were on slippery ground while God held tightly to his hand.
Do you ever envy those who seem to have it all without giving a single thought toward God? Meditate on Asaph's confessions and conclusions as you renew your faith in God.
The humble Christian is far happier in a cottage than the wicked in a palace. A. W. Pink
3. The real way of happiness is different than what we think -- It is observing God's direction
a. Often the opposite of our impulse
b. Beatitudes in Matthew 5
c. Additional Beatitudes of Revelation to explore, giving us happiness now and forever
4. Revelation 1.1-8
5. Two Perceptions of Happiness in Reading and Heeding What God Reveals
I. The Unveiling of the Person of Jesus -- Was-Is-Is to Come
Pablo Picasso. Picasso was the Spanish cubist artist who sketched, sculpted, and painted his way into prominence in the early twentieth century. On the rare occasion, he painted live portraits. One such instance was his painting of Gertrude Stein, one of America's foremost authors of a bygone era. During the winter of 1905-1906, Gertrude Stein sat for the exceptional portrait to be painted by the master. Ninety times she sat before the canvas. Ninety times, Picasso grew frustrated. Finally, in frustration Picasso said, "I can't see you any longer when I look at you." So he packed up his brushes, paints, and canvasses and returned home to Spain. There, he would continue working on the portrait of Gertrude Stein. By spring, it was largely finished. In the fall, the painting was unveiled. Onlookers were surprised. Gertrude Stein was a young woman when the master painted her. Yet, the face staring from the canvas was that of a wizened woman wearing a thoughtful, earnest face. Eventually a lone voice courageously remarked to Picasso that
Gertrude didn't look like her portrait. Picasso replied simply, "She will one day." Indeed, as time passed Gertrude became the image of Picasso's portrait. Any artist can paint what is. Good artists can paint what once was. But, only masters can paint what shall be. Jesus gives us picture of who he will be.
A. This is the Focus of Revelation (v,1 -- first 5 words)
1. The focus is not on US; John; the Beast or its Mark; the Anti-Christ; etc.
2. The Focus is Jesus and His Actions
3. Our Reason for Happiness is in Him
Picture a train station. There's a Station Master. He has a schedule. He knows when every train will come and go. He has his charts and schedules. He has them memorized...he knows every detail of how that station is supposed to operate.
Also in the station is a young lady. She doesn't know the schedule of every train. What she does know is that her fiancé', whom she is deeply in love with is, on one of those trains that is due...ANYTIME! She can hardly wait. Her heart beats wildly with anticipation. Don't study the bible like the train master, just to get the facts. Your true love is arriving at any minute!