The Way of Enduring Happiness (Psalm 1; Psalm 2)

Scripture reading – Psalm 1; Psalm 2

Our Scripture reading from the Psalms is brief (Psalms 1-2). Though consisting of only eighteen verses, the two chapters offer us an opportunity of considering deep spiritual truths, and the challenge of pondering the heart of God toward man.

Psalm 1 is a fitting introduction to the Book of Psalms and its many discourses on humanity and man’s relationship to His Creator. Psalm 2 is irrefutably a Messianic psalm; beginning with the raging of the nations of the earth against God, and taking us to the Second Coming of Christ when He comes as Judge of all men. Today’s devotional will focus on the first three verses of Psalm 1.

Psalm 1 – The Way of the Blessed, and The Way of the Ungodly

Psalm 1 contrasts the lives of two manner of men: the “blessed” (1:1-3) and the “ungodly” (1:4-6).

The “blessed” man is happy, and content. He possesses an abiding joy that is independent of his circumstances, for his happiness is not defined by his associations (1:1), but by his meditations (1:2). He knows the secret to enduring happiness is not in his friendships, but in whom and what he meditates. Therefore, the blessed “walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth 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). He will not stand or abide in the way of sinners, for the way of sin is “the [way] of death” (Proverbs 14:12). He will not lift up his voice in chorus with those who scorn the way of the righteous (1:2).

What is the source of the blessed man’s happiness, if it is not dependent on his circumstances?

 “His delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (1:2). His desire, and passion is the Word of God, and he is constantly meditating [literally, “chewing”] upon its principles and precepts in his heart. His thoughts are saturated by the blessed, eternal, immutable truths of the Word of God. Another psalmist observed, “… Blessed is the man that feareth [reveres] the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments” (Psalm 112:1).

Consider the character of the “blessed” man who denies himself the pleasures of sin and the company of the wicked? What becomes of the “blessed” whose thoughts are fashioned by a perpetual meditation in God’s Word?

Notice five characteristics of the blessed man’s life:

Psalm 1:3 – “And he [the blessed man] shall be like a tree planted by the rivers [streams] of water, that bringeth forth [give] his fruit in his season [appointed time]; his leaf [foliage; branch] also shall not wither [fade away; drop]; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper [succeed; be profitable].”

The “blessed” man of God is “planted” (1:3). He is not a wild sapling, but was chosen by the LORD, planted and cultivated to bear spiritual fruit.  He is also distinguished by where is he planted, “by the rivers of water” (1:3).  His spiritual nourishment is not solely from one stream that might dry up in the drought of summer trials; his soul is nourished and fed by rivers. Flowing through his life are the streams of God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and the sweet fellowship of His saints.

The “blessed” man’s life is also characterized by the fruit he bears “in his season” (1:3). Perhaps it is the sweet fruits of the Spirit that should arrest our attention: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. 23Meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). The “blessed” man is not only a spiritual fruit bearer, but his spiritual life and testimony are so deeply rooted, and whether it is the spring, summer, fall, or winter of his life, “his leaf also shall not whiter” (Psalm 1:3d). Like an evergreen tree, the evidences of spiritual life are ever present in the blessed man.

Lastly, the “blessed” man is promised, “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (1:3e). Some have taught a “prosperity gospel” based on this verse, and promised riches and possessions to all who claim it as a promise. Such a doctrine is false, and denies the historical reality that the saints of God are often persecuted and impoverished for their faith. What does it mean to prosper?

Closing thoughts – Happiness and prosperity cannot be measured in material success. In fact, the prosperity and fruitfulness of a “blessed” man’s life may not be seen until he has passed. Like fruit that must perish for its seeds to give new life, the “blessed” man must die to himself, for his life to bear lasting fruit.

Are you living the “blessed” life? How fruitful is your life? What legacy will you leave behind?

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith