Some scholars think this first Psalm was written by Ezra. It is not attributed to anyone, and it does not have the Davidic style, so we can only guess as to its authorship.
The first word in the book of Psalms is a good one: “blessed.” In fact, this word in Hebrew is in the plural, meaning blessednesses toward the man, or Rich in blessings is the man…
There are several Psalms that explore the life of the faithful servant of God, and sometimes things are not so enjoyable as we might think if all we had was this first Psalm.
What we DO have here are the overarching consequences that one who is faithful (or not) can expect, and ultimately why he or she can expect it.
Adam Clarke said, “If a child be brought up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord, we have both reason and revelation to encourage us to expect a godly and useful life. Where religious education is neglected, alas! what fruits of righteousness can be expected? An uncultivated soul is like and uncultivated field, all overgrown with briers, thorns, and thistles.”
I remember in my early teenage years hanging out with friends and even cousins whose counsel and ways and deep seated character were far from godly and Christian. The worst decisions in my life have been made under the influence of relationships and communications that were far from that found within the instruction of God’s word. Can I get a witness?
And I had Christian parents who gathered up the family and went to every church service. I sat through years of Bible classes and VBS’s and my parents sacrificed greatly to send us to a Christian school. But even at Mars Hill Bible School where we had chapel services and Bible classes daily, there were still plenty of ungodly counsel, sinful ways, and mocking voices.
I’m not sure you can escape them completely, nor if that’s the point of this Psalm. Verse one makes it clear that the man rich in blessings does not choose those. His attention is turned toward God and away from those voices.
Remember Job? God said of Job, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him in all the earth who is blameless and upright, who fears God and shuns evil.” Where did Job get those qualities? Blameless, upright, fearing God, shunning evil… Even God took notice! One thing is certain, Job didn’t get that way by walking in the counsel of the wicked, or standing in the way of sinners or sitting in the seat of mockers. I’m sure he could have chosen those, but he didn’t. Neither did his friends. They were not wicked sinful mockers, they were spiritual men, mistaken in their judgments, and after God’s correction, they were humbly obedient to God’s instruction. (See Job 42:7-9).
Job is exceptional. God even said so. This Psalm is written to describe the way of the exceptional man or woman. Don’t look for this to become popular or normal. It won’t. Jesus himself said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many go there. But narrow is the gate and difficult the path that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
The blessednesses way is not the easy way. It is the best way. The way of which God takes favorable notice and the way of which, to those who walk in it, God Himself watches over them.
So, verse one describes what the one rich in blessednesses does NOT do. Then verse two gives us what he DOES do.
Instead of being under the sway of the wicked, the sinners and the mockers, the one rich in blessednesses is defined by two things: His delights, and his meditations.
What’s powerful about the point here is that these are not simply activities, but an attitude governing an activity. Your delights govern your thoughts, do they not? What do you delight in? Don’t those delights pull at your attention? Perhaps you are a person with lots of delights. Maybe you’ve got a flurry of attractions pulling at your mind and heart. What you delight in is what you love and value most highly in your life.
This Psalm says that the one rich in blessednesses has such a delight in God’s law that it keeps his thoughts occupied day and night. He just can’t stop thinking about God’s word, God’s law.
Do you know anyone like that? Are you like that? Do you want to be rich in blessednesses from God?
This Psalm is not written just to inform, it’s trying to convince and persuade too. It does inform, but it is also reaching out to you and me, even here today to draw us in and invite us to come join the blessednesses of this unnamed person. The Psalm wants us to at least WANT to put our name there and imagine ourselves there in the place of God’s blessednesses.
What blessednesses? Look at verse three.
Like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in season and who’s leaf does not wither and whatever he does, he what? He prospers. He what? He prospers. He PROSPERS. Do you believe that? Job’s three friends were wrong about Job’s spiritual condition, but they were not wrong about the ultimate condition of the righteous. Look at Psalm 19:7-11.
Notice those last words in verse 11 again. In keeping the words of God, there is GREAT REWARD! True or false?
One reason to delight in God and His word is that to do so brings rich blessednesses and great reward.
Now the very greatest reward of all rewards has little to do with how wealthy or popular or powerful or thrilling your life is here on this planet. It has everything to do with being close to the God who created this entire universe and sharing in His will and ways so that we delight in Him and can’t quit thinking about Him and ultimately spend forever with Him in eternal glory.
God’s word has the power to revive your soul, convert your soul, make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, give you joy overflowing, enlighten your eyes with radiance, forever in His own righteousness. Make whatever you do prosper. GIVE YOU A GREAT REWARD!
Come back Wednesday night and we’ll talk about Psalm 73 where Asaph wrestles with this, a little like Job, but short and to the point.
But today, right now, let’s hear God’s whisper through Psalms 1. God wants to bless you with rich blessednesses. Do you know what God has been thinking about? Do you know what’s on His mind day and night? Want to guess? Paul said it this way: 1 Timothy 2:1-6, 2 Peter 3:9.
God desires for you to be rich in blessednesses. You don’t give your only begotten Son to die, crucified on a cross, to suffer the agony of wrath against all our sins, without a strong desire and love for those needing this blessing.
God desires you. You are on His mind. Is He on yours?
Notes on Psalm 19:7-9
Law: Torah – direction, instruction, collected legal directives of God.
Is perfect (blameless), converting (turning, causing to repent) the soul.
Statutes: Eduth – admonitions, warnings, testimonies.
Are sure, trustworthy; making wise the simple.
Precepts: Piqquwd – testimony, mandate of God, properly, appointed.
Are right, straight, just, upright; giving joy to the heart.
Commandment: mitzvah – commandment
Is pure, clean, innocent; enlightening the eyes.
Fear: Yirah – Reverence or dread, to in awe or to be terrified.
Is clean, pure; enduring forever.
Judgments: Mishpat – act of deciding a case, or giving a sentence against a crime.
Are firm, sure, faithful, true; proved right altogether