Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Blessed Life

Part 1 of Summer in the Psalms 2019

Text: Psalm 1




Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night (vv. 1-2). 


Our Search for Happiness 

We all want to be happy, don’t we?

Unfortunately, we often look for happiness in all the wrong places. We think we’ll find happiness in money, a job, a relationship, possessions, etc. But if all we have are these things, we won’t find happiness.

Psalm 1 tells us how to find real happiness.


#blessed  

Psalm 1 begins with what word? “Blessed.” What does “blessed” mean? It means “happy.”

Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount by repeatedly using the word “blessed.” Based on what Jesus says, we know that being “blessed” doesn’t necessarily mean that the person who is blessed has an easy life. For example, Jesus declares, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10).

The kind of happiness that Psalm 1 is describing is not a happiness that fluctuates according to life’s circumstances. The apostle Paul writes, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil. 4:11, NIV). The blessed life is not always an easy life, but it’s the best life.

How can we live the blessed life?


Two Ways of Living 

In Psalm 1, there’s a contrast between “the righteous” and “the wicked.” The psalmist’s focus is on the righteous person (i.e., the person who is blessed), so that’ll be our focus as well. But as we look at the psalm’s description of the blessed life, we’ll compare it to the life of the wicked person.

First, what the blessed person doesn’t do: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” (v. 1). The blessed person doesn’t “walk in step with the wicked” (NIV). He/she isn’t “conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). 

Second, what the blessed person does: “his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (v. 2). “The law” can be applied to all of God’s word.

The blessed person values God’s word. If our “delight” is in God’s word, what will we do? We’ll meditate on it. It won’t go in one ear and out the other. When we meditate on God’s word, we should be listening for what God wants us to hear (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16).

What does the wicked person value? Autonomy. The wicked person is someone who says yes to himself/herself and no to God. He/she thinks (foolishly) that happiness can be found in living life according to their own rules.

Third, what the blessed person is like: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (v. 3). The blessed person is like “a tree planted by streams of water.”

The blessed life is a fruitful life (doing good for others like fruit from a tree).

The blessed life is a resilient life. The blessed person has hope (because of the death and resurrection of Christ) even in the midst of terrible storms.

The blessed life is a prosperous life. How does a tree (e.g., an apple tree) prosper? It does what God made it do: bear fruit.

What does the wicked person like? He/she is “like chaff [i.e., the husk surrounding a seed] that the wind drives away” (v. 4). This is a life without direction, a wasted life.

How can we live the blessed life? We can only live the blessed life if we delight in God’s word. That begins with saying yes to God’s invitation to receive salvation through faith in Christ. It continues by saying yes to God’s word each day.


The Two Roads 

In verses 5 and 6 we see the final outcomes of the blessed life and the life of the wicked person: “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment [i.e., the final judgment], nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.” [Read Matthew 7:13-14.]

Notice the first and last words of Psalm 1. It begins with the word “Blessed” and ends with the word “perish.” Those two words tell us where the two roads of life lead. [Read Matthew 7:24-27.] 

Psalm 1 doesn’t give any commands. But it pictures two ways of life and shows us which is the wise choice and which is the foolish choice.

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