An addendum to my preface for this devotional study of the Psalms: It is not my task to be a scholar, but a shepherd in this undertaking. I am not aspiring to win over critics who toil away in college and seminary classes and sometimes pontificate from their podiums against simple shepherds who labor in the pastures of God’s calling and entrust their choice sheep to their tutelage. It is my prayer this labor of love, this study of the Psalms, will encourage the believers of Hillsdale Baptist Church to study God’s Word, to know the Lord, love and serve Him with the same passion we will observe in the lives of the psalmists during our study. In addition, it is my desire that friends, family and acquaintances of this pastor or this ministry will be blessed by the musings of a shepherd’s heart. I challenge you to read the entirety of each day’s chapter, in addition to your reading of this shepherd’s reflections.
And so it begins, this marathon study of the Psalms that was, as its title suggests, songs of worship to the God of Creation, the God of Israel, the Messiah King, the Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Psalm 1 contrasts the lives of two manner of men; the “blessed” who walk in the way of God’s Law and the “ungodly” who oppose God and His Law. The “blessed” are promised a fruitful life, but the “ungodly” are destined to eternal judgment. We will consider the “blessed” life of the godly for today’s devotional.
Psalm 1:1-3 – “Blessed [happy and content] is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his [the blessed man] delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he [the blessed man whose delight and meditations on the Word of God are night and day] shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
The Bible has a lot to say about happiness and states unequivocally that lasting, abiding happiness is found in God alone.
Psalm 144:15 – “…happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.”
Psalm 146:5 – “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:”
Proverbs 16:20 – “…whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.”
John 15:11 “These things [truths; words] have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full [complete and overflowing].”
Psalm 1:1-3 is the first recorded Beatitude in the Bible. A Beatitude is in essence a statement of happiness and contentment not dependent on one’s circumstances. The character of the “Blessed” that are the citizens of heaven was the subject of the Beatitudes in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount where the blessed are described as “poor in spirit [spiritually humble], mourn [sensitive of one’s sin], meek [content], hunger and thirst after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart [sincere; without guile], peacemakers, and are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:3-12).
The “blessed” state is a place of inner contentment and happiness and is only known by those who place their trust in God and rest in the promises of His Word and Law. David states in Psalm 1:1 where happiness is not found. Happiness is not found “in the counsel of the ungodly…in the way of sinners, [or]…in the seat of the scornful” (1:1).
The blessed man will not seek the “counsel of the ungodly” whose philosophy is “eat, drink and be merry” (Luke 12:19). Paul describes the ungodly as men who do not seek after God… “14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness…16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:11-18).
The blessed man will not stand or abide in the way of sinners…the spiritual GPS of his life is not set upon a course of sin and wickedness, “the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12) and “shall perish” (Psalm 1:6).
The blessed man does not lift up his voice in chorus with those who scorn God’s Law and deny Him with their lips (Psalm 14:1). Scorners have no desire to meditate on God’s Word or be taught therein.
What is the source of the blessed man’s happiness and contentment if it is not dependent on his circumstances? His joy is sourced in Psalm 1:2: “his [the blessed man] delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
I close with two observations concerning the blessed man’s life: 1) His desire, delight and passion is the Word of God; 2) His discipline is to constantly meditate upon the principles and precepts of God’s Word…day and night. His heart and thoughts are saturated by the blessed, eternal, immutable truths of the Word of God.
Psalm 112:1 “… Blessed [happy & fortunate] is the man that feareth [reveres] the LORD, that delighteth greatly [taking pleasure[ in his commandments.”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith