Scripture reading – Psalm 1; Psalm 2

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Today’s Scripture reading (Psalm 1 and Psalm 2) consists of only eighteen verses; however, they present us with profound spiritual truths that challenge us to ponder the matter of God’s heart toward man. Psalm 1 has no title, nor is its author identified. While I cannot state with certainty, the tone of the psalm moves me to believe its author was David, the King of Israel.

Psalm 1 is a fitting introduction to the Book of Psalms and its discourses on man’s relationship with His Creator. This devotional will focus on the first three of six verses recorded in Psalm 1. You will notice that Psalm 1:1-3 addresses the life of the “blessed” man (Psalm 1:1-3), while Psalm 1:4-6 focuses on the way “ungodly” (Psalm 1:4-6).

Psalm 1

 

The Way of the Blessed Man (Psalm 1:1)

The “blessed” man was happy and content. He possessed an abiding joy independent of his circumstances. His happiness was not defined by his associations (Psalm 1:1) but by his meditations (Psalm 1:2). He knew the secret to enduring happiness was not in his friendships but in whom and what he meditated. 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” (Psalm 1:1).

Furthermore, 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 he understands the ways of sin is “the [way] of death” (Proverbs 14:12). He will not lift his voice in chorus with those who scorn the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:2). 

If not dependent on his circumstances, what was the source of the blessed man’s happiness?

The Meditations of the Blessed Man (Psalm 1:2)

 “His delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). So, the one who is blessed desires and has a passion for the Law (Word) of God. He constantly meditates [literally, “chews”]upon its principles and precepts. His thoughts are saturated with God’s Word. Another psalmist would later observe: “Blessed is the man that feareth [reveres] the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments” (Psalm 112:1).

The Character of the Blessed Man (Psalm 1:3)

Let’s consider the character of the “blessed” man who denies himself the pleasures of sin and the company of the wicked. What becomes of the man and woman whose thoughts are fashioned by perpetual meditations in God’s Word?

Psalm 1:3 proposed five characteristics of the blessed man’s life: 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]” (Psalm 1:3).

The first characteristic is where the “blessed” man of God is “planted” (Psalm 1:3). He was not a wild volunteer sapling. Instead, the LORD chose, planted, and cultivated him to bear spiritual fruit, as He desires for us all. 

Secondly, the “blessed” man was distinguished by where he was planted, for it was “by the rivers of water”(Psalm 1:3).  His spiritual nourishment was not one stream but “rivers of water” (Psalm 1:3). One stream might dry up in the drought of summer trials. But the soul of the “blessed” man was nourished and fed by “rivers of water” (Psalm 1:3). The streams of God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and the sweet fellowship of the saints flow through his life.

Another characteristic of the “blessed” man is that he is a fruit bearer, for he bears “his fruit in his season” (Psalm 1:3). Perhaps the psalmist intended the sweet fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. 23 Meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Fourthly, the “blessed” man’s roots run deep so that whether it is the spring, summer, fall, or winter of his life, “his leaf also shall not whiter” (Psalm 1:3d). He is like an evergreen tree for the evidence of his spiritual life is ever-present.

Finally, the “blessed” man was promised, “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3e).

Some have preached a “prosperity gospel” based on Psalm 1:3. Spiritual charlatans have promised riches and possessions to all who claim it as a promise. Yet, such a doctrine is false and denies the historical reality that the saints of God are often persecuted and impoverished for their faith.

Closing thoughts – What does it mean to prosper?

Life has taught me that material success does not guarantee happiness and prosperity. The prosperity and fruitfulness of a “blessed” man’s life may not be seen in this life. Like fruit that must perish for its seeds to bring forth new life, the “blessed” man must die to himself for his life to bear lasting fruit.

Are you living a “blessed” life? Is your life fruitful? What is your spiritual legacy?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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