The Blessed Man
Why is Psalm 1, Psalm 1? Probably because before we consider anything else, we need to understand how crucial it is for us to be rightly related to God. Second, this psalm is about the righteous and the wicked, but it is mostly about how to be blessed, happy, and joyous as we go through life. In a real sense it teaches us how to make our lives really count.
What the righteous doesn’t do. “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” (Verse 1) The one that the Psalmist describes as a joyous person is one who does not habitually do certain things.
He does not conduct his life guided by the principles and wisdom of the wicked. He is not directed by peer pressure or the wisdom of the present age. He carefully weighs the principles that drive his existence. He does not aim his life toward what’s best for number one, but according to what God would have him do.
Because he does not listen to the world’s counsel, he will not be found often doing what sinners do. His way of life is different from the way of life of sinners. It isn’t that he wants to stand out. It is that he would rather love God than love Himself supremely.
Finally, he will not be found scoffing at God and Righteousness as wicked people do. He sees wisdom in what God is and what God does. This the Old Testament equivalent of Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs].” (Amplified Bible)
How do we do this? Paul told us in the rest of Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” God transforms our minds through His Word.
Our Psalmist wrote in verse 2: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Instead of allowing the principles of the Age to guide his thinking and choices, he delights in the instruction of God.
This person’s pleasure is found in God and in His instruction. Contrary to the world’s estimation, this man has found real enjoyment, direction, and comfort in the Word of God. The Hebrew word “Torah” can mean the “Law,” which is the first five books of Moses or the Ten Commandments. “Torah” can also mean “teaching, instruction, or doctrine.” Virtually all commentators understand this word in the sense of teaching or instruction here. This righteous person is joyous because he delights in “God’s revelation.” He finds joy in majoring on God’s Word.
He also spends his time reading, repeating, and thinking about the teaching of God’s Word. Our blessed and joyous person meditates on the Word of God. How do we meditate? I am indebted to a Hebrew scholar who pointed out this word implies reading and speaking aloud to oneself. When we first learned to read we many times whispered the words to ourselves. We should also repeat them to ourselves, and talk to ourselves about what the Word said.
The Psalmist told us first what the joyous happy blessed righteous person does NOT do. Then, he told us what this person does. Because of what he does not do and because of what He does, now the Psalmist tells us what He is. “And he shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season. Whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Verse 3)
Here is one kind of blessing the LORD supplies. If we strive to grow in Him and in His Word and not seek the way of the age, He will give us stability and productivity.
Stability comes from a mind that is established on Him and His Word. “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24–27) The Lord Jesus spoke these words, but are we listening? What is the foundation of our lives?
Productivity is God making an eternal difference in others because of who we are. There is a picture in Psalm 92:12-15. “The righteous 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. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” Contrary to our health wealth and prosperity teachers, prospering is not necessarily that we will have money, power, and possessions. It is a promise God will use us to accomplish His plan for our lives.
If the blessed, joyous, and happy are the righteous, what are the wicked? Those who do not build their lives on God’s word and values find themselves as chaff. “The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.” (Verse 4) The wicked are pictured as useless and worthless.
They lack stability in that they do not have roots in God or His Word. They cannot do anything that matters for eternity. The point is not what will matter to you in five or ten years, the real question is what will be important to you in 100 years.
There was nothing so worthless to the Hebrew farmer than chaff. They blew it way by winnowing.
“Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Verses 5-6) Because the wicked person’s life has no eternal value there is no reward for it at the last judgment, only condemnation. His way shall perish.
But it is different for the way of the righteous. “For the LORD knows the way of the righteous.” The ever faithful covenant keeping God attends loves and is intimately involved in the daily steps of the righteous one. Our ultimate joy, happiness, and blessing comes from this fact.
How can we be the righteous person? It begins by trusting Christ to save us. We grow as we work together with Him to will and to do of His good pleasure. We will be blessed if we follow close to Him and are daily found reading, re-reading, and rehearsing His Word.