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    “A merry [rejoicing] heart does good, like medicine.” Proverbs 17:22. Gratitude, rejoicing, benevolence, trust in God’s love and care—these are health’s greatest safeguards. To the Israelites they were to be the very keynote of life.MHH 157.5

    The journey made three times a year to the annual feasts at Jerusalem, the week’s sojourn in booths during the Feast of Tabernacles, were opportunities for outdoor recreation and social life. These feasts were occasions of rejoicing, made sweeter and more tender by the hospitable welcome given to the stranger, the Levite, and the poor.MHH 157.6

    “Rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you.” Deuteronomy 26:11.MHH 157.7

    So, in later years, when the law of God was read in Jerusalem to the captives who had returned from Babylon, and the people wept because of their transgressions, the gracious words were spoken: “‘Do not mourn. ... Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’” Nehemiah 8:9, 10.MHH 157.8

    And it was published and proclaimed “in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.’ Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim. So the whole congregation of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths. ... And there was very great gladness.” Verses 15-17.MHH 157.9

    God gave to Israel instruction in all the principles essential to physical as well as moral health, and it was concerning these principles no less than concerning those of the moral law that He commanded them:MHH 158.1

    “‘These words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.’” Deuteronomy 6:6-9.MHH 158.2

    “‘When your son asks you in time to come, saying, “What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the Lord our God has commanded you?” then you shall say to your son: ... “The Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day.”’” Verses 20-24.MHH 158.3

    If the Israelites had obeyed the instruction they received and profited by their advantages, they would have been the world’s object lesson of health and prosperity. If they had lived according to God’s plan, they would have been preserved from the diseases that afflicted other nations. They would have possessed physical strength and vigor of intellect above any other people and would have been the mightiest nation on earth. God said:MHH 158.4

    “‘You shall be blessed above all peoples.’” Deuteronomy 7:14.MHH 158.5

    “‘Today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He has promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.’” Deuteronomy 26:18, 19.MHH 158.6

    “‘And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.’” Deuteronomy 28:2-6.MHH 158.7

    “‘The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. ... And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.’” Verses 8-13.MHH 159.1

    To Aaron the high priest and his sons the direction was given: ““‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:MHH 159.2

    ‘The Lord bless you and keep you;
    The Lord make His face shine upon you,
    And be gracious to you;
    The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
    And give you peace.’”
    So they shall put My name on the children of Israel;
    And I will bless them.’”
    Numbers 6:23-27.
    MHH 159.3

    “‘As your days, so shall your strength be.
    There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
    Who rides the heavens to help you,
    And in His excellency on the clouds.
    The eternal God is your refuge,
    And underneath are the everlasting arms. ...
    Israel shall dwell in safety,
    The fountain of Jacob alone,
    In a land of grain and new wine;
    His heavens shall also drop dew.
    Happy are you, O Israel!
    Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord,
    The shield of your help
    And the sword of your majesty!’”
    Deuteronomy 33:25-29.
    MHH 159.4

    The Israelites failed to fulfill God’s purpose and thus failed to receive the blessings that might have been theirs. But in Joseph and Daniel, in Moses and Elisha and many others, we have noble examples of the results of the true plan of living. The same faithfulness today will produce like results. To us it is written:MHH 159.5

    “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9.MHH 160.1

    “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.”
    They shall “flourish like the palm tree,
    and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
    They are planted in the house of the Lord;
    they flourish in the courts of our God.
    In old age they still produce fruit;
    they are always green and full of sap.”
    “Let your heart keep my commands;
    For length of days and long life
    And peace they will add to you. ...
    Then you will walk safely in your way,
    And your foot will not stumble.
    When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
    Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
    Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
    For the Lord will be your confidence,
    And will keep your foot from being caught.”
    Jeremiah 17:7, Psalm 92:12-14, NRSV;
    Proverbs 3:1, 2, 23-26.
    MHH 160.2

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