“ Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth : therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: ” Job 5:17
Be honest–that doesn’t sound right does it? It seems strange that happiness could come from hardships and heartaches. Pain isn’t pleasing–“no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous“(Heb. 12:11). Everyone agrees with that, but when we read on we see that our troubles should make us better rather than bitter. The last half of Heb. 12:11 explains how hardships can bring happiness–“never the less afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby”. The afflicted person might not be happy at the time, but he will be happy in time–“afterward“. Hardships produce holiness which leads to happiness!
Our problem is that we are usually too short-sighted, which explains why we’re not so good at delayed gratification. We are like children before Christmas, not wanting to wait until morning for their gifts. We’re like the kid who would rather have a dime now than a dollar later. We simply don’t know what’s good for us. One reason our text sounds so strange is a misunderstanding of the word “happy“.
J. R. Miller wrote—He is not happy at the time! No one enjoys having troubles, sufferings, sorrows. Therefore this verse appears very strange to some people. They cannot understand it. It is contrary to all their thoughts of happiness. Of course, the word happy is not used here in the world’s sense. In the world’s estimation, “happiness is the pleasure that comes from the things that happen. It depends on personal comfort, on prosperous circumstances, on kindly and congenial conditions. When these are taken away the happiness is destroyed.”
But the word here means blessed; and the statement is, that blessing comes to him who receives God’s correction. To correct is to set right that which has been wrong. Surely if a man is going in the wrong way, and God turns his feet back and sets him in the right way, a blessing has come to him. Afflictions are God’s corrections. They come with a purpose of love in them. They are hard to accept—but afterward the blessing is revealed. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”