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The Blessed Man (Psalm 1)

Believers of all ages have easily identified with the book of Psalms. This book of the Bible deals with the whole spectrum of human experiences. It tells of affliction, aspiration, joy, sorrow, distress, trust, thanksgiving, loneliness, failure , victory and frustration.

The book of Psalms at times rises to the highest heights of spiritual triumph; at other times it follows man to his lowest depth of bewildering defeat. By walking in the paths of the psalmist, the believer knows well that life is composed of trials and triumphs and of joys and sorrows.

The mature believer is also aware that God is in control of all things at all times and that His purposes will not and cannot fail, for the Lord knows both the end and the beginning (Acts 15:18).

The Hebrew title of Psalms is “Praise,” or the “Book of Praises.” This indicates that the main contents of the book are praise, prayer, and worship. The name 'Psalms' comes from the Greek. We find that the early Christians fathers called it the Psalter.

The book of Psalms was placed in the canon of Scripture by divine decrees to encourage the believer in worship. It offers the child of God help in how to please God in all the circumstances of life.

The first psalm is more or less an introduction to whole book and focuses attention on the character and ways of the blessed man in contrast to the ungodly person.

The Blessed Man (Psalm 1:1—3) 

We look first at the blessed man. The word “blessed” has in it the thought of “to walk straight on” or “to be happy or blessed” (Wilson, Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies, MacDonald). The word “blessed” reminds us at once of the beatitudes of the Lord Jesus in His sermon on the mount (Matt. 5:1—11). The word “blessed” as used in the New Testament refers to being spiritually prosperous.

The Scriptures state clearly that the blessed man refrains from doing certain things. Some have a problem with this negative aspect of honoring the Lord. An illustration at this point may be helpful. For electricity to work effectively, it must have both positive and negative components. Likewise, the believer will discover that his life is effective when he is for some things and against some things.

The blessed man does not seek the philosophy of the world in his evaluation of the priorities of life or the counsel of ungodly people in how to best please God. He carefully guards his words and ways so that he might not be a stumbling block to sinners. He watches his manners with the utmost diligence to avoid the company of those who mock and ridicule holy things. (Psalm 1:1).

In the practical demonstration of his faith, the blessed man finds supreme fulfillment “in the law of the Lord” (Psalm 1:2). The words “day and night” suggest that doing the will of God is not a hit-or-miss thing with him; rather, it is a vital part of his very being that combines belief and behavior.

Recently, an outstanding Christian leader was asked what he thought is the greatest need of the church. His answer was that Christians need to practice what they say the believe (Psalm 1:2; cf. Matt. 5:16).

The person who believes right and walks right will be honored by the Lord. He will be like a tree beside refreshing waters, a tree that grows stronger day-after-day. He in turn will bless others with his abundant supply of fruit and prosper all the days of his life (Psalm 1:3). This verse is much likes Colossians 1:10, where we read, “That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Fruit-bearing is a sign of life and vitality.

The Ungodly Man (Psalm 1:4—6)

The stability and fruitfulness of the believer, is contrasted with the instability and barrenness of the ungodly. This verse was made real to me one day as I saw the chaff flying away in the wind from a winnowing machine.

I was visiting a man who was a member of our church. He said to me, “Pastor, I want to show you the instability of the ungodly person.” We went out to where he was winnowing machine was located. He filled the funnel-shaped container with some wheat and gave the crank a few turns. The wind carried the chaff away, but the wheat grains remained. Like the chaff, the ungodly are without a proper footing. The ungodly man needs to turn away from himself and toward Jesus Christ, the Savior, and anchor his life in Him Who is the foundation of the soul (cf. Matt. 7:24).

The ungodly man is heading for judgment as a result o f his arrogant rebellion against God (Psalm 1:5). The day of death, judgment, and separation will come. Hebrews 9:27 states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

Psalm 1 concludes with a final statement on the destiny of the righteous. The recipients of God's saving and sustaining grace ultimately will gather with God in heaven. The ungodly will surely perish in their sins in the torments of hell, because in this life they chose to spurn the proffered mercy of God (Pas 1:6).

The woeful plight of the ungodly surely ought to grip and stir the soul of the believer, motivating him to engage in prayer and evangelism as he seeks to reach the unsaved with the good news of the gospel. We read in the Scriptures, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

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