Daily reading assignment: Psalms 1-2, 15, 22-24, 47, 68
Today’s scripture reading consists of eight psalms. Our devotional commentary will focus on Psalm 1:1-3.
Psalm 1 is the first recorded Beatitude in the Bible and offers a contrast of two lives: the “blessed” man (Psalm 1:1-3) who walks in the way of God’s Law and prospers and the “ungodly” who defy God, oppose His Law and “shall perish” (Psalm 1:4-6).
Before we study this beautiful psalm of promise and instruction, let us first consider what it means to be “blessed” (1:1).
In essence, the word “blessed” means happy or prosperous. Men often seek happiness in all the wrong places. They pursue pleasure, only to find it fleeting. They seek riches, but find money cannot buy happiness. They look for fulfillment in relationships, only to be disappointed.
So, what is this “blessed” state of the Psalm 1 man?
It is more than fleeting happiness. It is an enduring satisfaction, a contentment not rooted in or based upon one’s circumstances. The “blessed” man finds his joy in the LORD, His Word and His promises. In other words, he is blessed because his trust is in the LORD and not in man or favorable circumstances (Deuteronomy 33:29; 2 Chronicles 9:7; Psalm 34:8; Proverbs 8:32; 29:18).
David begins Psalm 1 advising us where the “blessed” man will not find happiness. Happiness will not be found “in the counsel of the ungodly…in the way of sinners, [or]…in the seat of the scornful” (1:1).
A blessed man does not seek the “counsel of the ungodly” whose philosophy is “eat, drink and be merry” (Luke 12:19).
A blessed man does not abide in the “way of sinners” whose spiritual GPS is set on a destination of wickedness and “shall perish” (Psalm 1:6).
A blessed man does not lift up his voice in chorus with “the scornful,” for they disdain God and His Law (Psalm 14:1).
What is the source of the blessed man’s contentment?
His joy and “delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (1:2).
I invite you to contemplate two reflections on the blessed man’s life. The first, he delights, meaning he values and finds pleasure in, “the law of the LORD” (the Commandments, Laws, principles, and precepts of God’s Word).
The second quality we find in the blessed man is his discipline: He meditates [ponders; mulls it over; lit. “chews the cud”] in the Law of the LORD “day and night” (1:2). He saturates his heart and thoughts with the eternal, immutable truths of God’s Word.
Such a man is “like a tree planted by the rivers [stream] of water, that bringeth forth [deliver; give]his fruit in his season [time; appointed time]; his leaf [foliage; branch] also shall not wither [fade away; drop down]; and whatsoever he doeth [make; wrought; commit] shall prosper [succeed; be profitable]” (1:3).
The blessed man is “planted” (1:3a). He is not a wild volunteer sapling. No, this man has chosen to cultivate his heart in God’s Word, and his life is a testimony of spiritual fruit.
What is his “fruit in his season?” (1:3b) While not identified, I believe it is the “fruit of the Spirit” Paul identifies as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. 23 Meekness, temperance…” (Galatians 5:22-23).
This tree, symbolic of the blessed man’s life, has leaves that “shall not wither” (1:3c). The foliage of a natural tree is an indicator of its health and wellbeing. So it is with the blessed man; his life evidences the spiritual health and vibrancy of a man who lives and walks in the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:25).
Lastly, “whatsoever he [the blessed man] doeth shall prosper” (1:3d). Remember, we are focusing on the inner, not outward man. The “blessed” man’s focus is eternal and not limited to immediate, visible fruit. The legacy of a blessed man is not only the immediate fruit borne by his life and works, but also the seeds he plants that will live long after his earthly sojourn has ended.
Someone has observed, “A Bible that’s falling apart probably belongs to someone who isn’t.” —Christian Johnson. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.; Today’s Best Illustrations.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith