Right away the Psalmist tells us who this Psalm is for–the man (or woman) who wants to be called Blessed. This is something I imagine we’re all interested in, and Psalm 1 gives some helpful guidance to the one who hopes to be known this way.
But before we dive into how to be called “blessed”, we need to understand exactly what he’s talking about. We’re part of a culture where blessing has grown far beyond religion, to the extreme that anyone and everyone, sacred or secular, might consider themselves #blessed. There are songs, movies, podcasts, and even sermons (yikes) whose sole purpose is to sell us the idea that to have is to be blessed, and to lack is to be not blessed. This is a lie, or at best it’s only a small part of the truth.
I suspect, however, that the Psalmist had something other than worldly comforts in mind when he wrote this chapter. We’re not learning about the quickest way to riches and fame, but rather about the posture of a Godly man or woman. We’re called to flee wickedness in every part of our lives, standing, sitting, or walking. This is an important contrast to understand because, according to Psalm 1, if you’re not blessed, you’re wicked.
Not only should we avoid what is wicked, but we’re also given specific examples of what we should do to be called blessed. Our delight should be the Law of the Lord, and that should be the meditation of our hearts. For the Psalmist, this probably meant the Torah, but we can understand it to mean the whole Bible. [Matthew 5:17-19]
According to Psalm 1, the Blessed will also be known by the fruit of their lives. He compares them to a tree, yielding fruit in season, and not giving way to the pressures of the world. To prosper, then, is not to have great possessions or status, but is to successfully bear fruit in all areas of life.
More Than A Vending Machine
If we’ve subscribed to the idea that “blessing=having, there are a few other things about our worldview that are probably true:
1: If we believe that blessing=having, our delight is not first and foremost in Jesus. Those who chase “blessings” because of what’s promised in return are really in it for themselves. This mindset resembles the wicked far more than the blessed, and we should be careful to not let it warp our hearts.
2: The one who sees a lack of possessions/status as a failure or a lack of blessing probably spends more time in shame than in the freedom that’s found in God. Whether it’s directed toward ourselves or toward others, judging someone’s spiritual status based on their bank account or social status does not line up with the Bible.
Psalm 1 was written to move us, not just toward the blessings of God, but also away from the wickedness of the world–and though it can be difficult, wrestling with the dynamics of blessing and prosperity is one of the best ways that we as Christians can be “set apart” from a world that strives so desperately for status and possession. Let’s encourage each other with the lessons of Psalm 1 this week, and allow the freedom and truth of God to be louder than all the other voices vying for our attention.
Scripture & Prayer
God, give me vision and passion for Your kingdom today. Help me to see myself and others through the lens of Psalm 1. May I be a blessing to others as I live out an example of who You are. Amen.
Blessed is the manPsalm 1:1-2
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.