Summary: The first Psalm introduces us to the blessings of the righteous man.
August 26, 2012 Psalm 1
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
I. The desire of “blessed”
The book of Psalms starts with a wonderful word: blessed. If someone asks you how you’re doing, you might just say the simple word “Blessed.” When you say you’re blessed it’s better than saying “I’m ok” or even “I’ve been fortunate,” because fortunate is derived from the Latin word fortuna which means luck. “Blessed” brings to mind the divine blessings that God gives from above.
There are two main Hebrew words for “blessed.” One is barak and one is ashar. Barak is used primarily from a divine aspect as a gift from heaven above, apart from any work on the part of anyone. When God’s Word uses barak it has nothing to do with someone has earned it or not. It is dependent solely on the grace of the merciful LORD. But asher is used more reciprocally. God promises blessing, but He conditions it on behavior of the person. Such is the case today when God talks about who is blessed in Psalm 1.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
The blessing of such a type that the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says that it is a word that denotes envious desire. In other words, when people look at that person they say, “I wish I had what he has.” In that sense, he’s blessed.
Psalm 73 is a psalm of Asaph. In it he describes the envious desire he had of the wicked. Why did he envy them and in that sense “bless” them? He writes,
I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.
He looked over their physical lives and saw how easy they had life. They were rich and prosperous. They had healthy and strong bodies. Here he was, constantly struggling against sin and temptation, trying his best to lead a repentant life to the glory of God, and it was oh so difficult! On the other hand, the wicked had not concern or care about what God thought. Yet they seemed to pay no price for their ignorance. They just enjoyed life in their own little cocoon. When he looked at that he said, “Man, they have life easy! I wish I had it so easy! It would be great to live life like that.”
But then he remembered something important.
16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
Psalm 1 reminds us that the wicked are like the chaff that the wind blows away. The chaff is the husk that surrounds a kernel of grain. It has no nutritious value whatsoever. It is light and fluffy and blows away in the wind. This is the ultimate destiny of the wicked. God won’t care how popular they were. He won’t care if they made millions of dollars or won humanitarian awards. All of that will seem like nothing to him, as meaningless as chaff. God will say to them, “Get away from me. Depart into the fires of hell.”
This loss of prosperity happens even prior to Judgment Day. Just this week a small article was in the news showing Lindsey Lohan walk from the beach, having to carry all of her things by herself because her friend left her there to fend for herself. Oh, the shame of it all! (Great news, huh?) But at any rate, isn’t that what happens with so many former stars? As they grow older they have a real hard time dealing with their diminishing fame. The bodies that they took so much pride in get old and worn out. The only popularity they get is when they are arrested for drugs or for divorce. It will be much worse on Judgment Day. The wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. . . . the way of the wicked will perish.