Psalms Through The Summer #1: Blessed Is The Man
Background of The Collection of Psalms
When the collection of Psalms was finished around 500 BC the Hebrew name was Tehillim which means “praise songs.”
The Greek Septuagint translators gave the title Psalmoi, which means “song to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument.”
Place in the Bible
The Hebrew Scriptures were divided into three main divisions, Law, Prophets and Writings. The Psalms would be a part of the Writings division.
In our modern division of Law, History, Poetry and Prophecy, Psalms falls in the Poetry section.
The Psalms are usually referred to as the Psalms of David because he wrote the majority of them. Seventy-three Psalms are ascribed to him in all.
In addition to David the other authors of the Psalms are the descendants of Korah (10), Asaph (12), Solomon (2) Ethan (1) Heman (1) and Moses (1)
Fifty Psalms are anonymous, though some of these may have been written by David as well. These are called Orphan Psalms.
Most of the Psalms were written between 1000 and 500 BC. Psalms 90 by Moses is the oldest and is outside this range, while Ps 137 was written during the Babylonian exile and Ps. 126 during the restoration of Jerusalem.
Hebrew Poetry does not use rhyme or meter but instead uses repeating thoughts, instead of repeating sounds to make poetry.
Organization. The Psalms were arranged in the order we have them in now over time, with the final arrangement probably being finished by the great Old Testament Scribe Ezra.
The 150 Psalms have been arranged into 5 books that correspond with the first 5 books of the Bible, called the Torah, or the Law of God.
Transition so now, after all that we come to the 1st Psalms, which serves as an introduction to the entire collection. The first psalms presents us with the theme not only of the book of Psalms but one of the central themes of the Bible, in a sense the theme of the entire history of the world since creation. This is the Theme of the Two Ways.
The Man Who Is Blessed - Psalm 1:1–2
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
The Way of Blessing
Let’s take a moment to define the word blessed, one of the most used words in all the Bible.
Some people think the word blessed is synonymous with lucky. People are always telling LeeOra, my wife, “Oh, you are so blessed to have such a handsome husband.” Actually, what it usually me who hears, “Man, you married way above yourself.” With an exclamation mark. Either way what they mean is you got lucky, but that is not what the word blessed mean.
Defined: In Hebrew it is אֶשֶׁר ’ešer; and it means happiness; and most times it is used in the sense of how happy! You could read the first verse as Oh how happy is the man!
This means that blessedness, like happiness is not fate, or blind random chance but a choice and that is what Psalms 1 presents. The blessing, the happiness comes from God but it flows to us from the choices we make in our relationship with God.
So the first Psalms presents us with the two ways. First the way of blessed in verses 1-4 and then the way of judgment in vss. 5-6.
As the Old Testament scriptures often do the way of blessing is first presented as a negative. Happy, joyful, blessed is the person who does not do these three things. Psalms 1:1 walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
To put it in our modern vernacular, If you want to be blessed by God then do not walk according to ungodly advice, do not stand where sinner pass by and you can be influenced by them and definitely do not sit down, do not take your rest where scorners sit and are at ease.
Then the way of blessing is presented positively in vs 2, “Blessed, happy is the person who delights in the law, the word, the Torah of the Lord and in that law, that scripture meditates day and night.
As with all of God’s most important commandments and precepts its very simple, here it is the choice you must make, reject the sin, reject the world influence, reject the immoral and instead open yourself to God and His Word. Does it get any simpler than that?
It may seem that today our world is much more complex, more convoluted, more corrupt and in many ways it is but the way of blessing, the way of happiness is still as simple today as it was for Adam and Eve, Saul and David, or Moses and Joshua. Choose to be blessed! Choose to be happy.
The only way that can be real and lasting in your life is to do what Psalm 1:1-2 says, reject this world and its influence and choose instead the Creator of this world and His Word.
And yet so many believe the lies of this world and instead of finding personal happiness they are left with a personal hell. Instead of reading God’s word, they read their news feeds. Instead of listening to a Pastor, a preacher or a parent, they listen to sociopaths, savages and social media influencers. If you don’t know what that is then count yourself lucky and blessed.
You will not be the exception to what God’s warns us about from Genesis to Revelation, there are just two ways and you must choose to walk one or the other.
This is the reason Psalms one gives us the negative in a progression, for if you walk with this world, you will soon be standing in its sin and before you can even realize what happened, soon you are sitting right down with those who scorn the very God who created you, loves you and even sent his son to save you.
You must understand it is your choice and God is saying, choose to be blessed. It is your choice and no one else nor anything else can make that choice for you. Choose to be blessed.
Illustration: Blessed are those who choose
Once Jesus was teaching and a woman called out, Luke 11:27-28 “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, But Jesus said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” The woman was saying, your mother is so lucky, but Jesus redirected her thinking because real blessing, real happiness is not random chance, it’s not luck, it’s a choice and that choice is yours to make.
You can’t choose the circumstance you were born in, but you can choose the circumstances you will live in. Make that choice according to God’s word and your circumstances will be blessed ones.
Now the Psalms moves from making the choice of blessing to the result of that blessing in vs. 3
The Man Who is a Blessing - Psalms 1:3
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The Way of Being a Blessing
The Psalmist says that the blessed man is like a tree planted by the rivers of water. The person has chosen the way of blessing will have roots that run deep, drawing from the water of God’s supply and that he will produce fruit, which will be a blessing for others, reproducing more blessing in other lives.
This person who is a tree of blessing will be able to withstand the droughts, his leaf will not wither, because his supply comes from the deep waters of God’s word.
Finally, whatever this person does, shall prosper, it will succeed.
The Wycliffe Commentary puts it this way, “As a result, he becomes more and more like a “transplanted tree,” with roots in eternal realities. Constant vitality is assured and ultimate success is certain because he has put his trust firmly in God.”
Again, we see this is the guidance that God gives us throughout the Bible.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Being Blessed Means Blessing Others
God blesses us that we may in turn be a blessing to others. In keeping with our understanding of the definition of blessing, “God gives us happiness in order that we may pass on happiness to others.”
Hebrews 6:7-9 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, .
1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
God blesses us, not that we can hoard it, not that we can become “Dead Sea” Chrisitians always taking in but never giving out, but God blesses that we may be a channel of that blessing, letting it flow from God, through us and then on to others.
Make Me A Blessing
1 Out in the highways and byways of life,
Many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.
2 Tell the sweet story of Christ and his love,
Tell of his pow'r to forgive;
Others will trust him if only you prove
True, ev'ry moment you live.
3 Give as 'twas given to you in your need,
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed,
Unto your mission be true.
Refrain: Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing.
Out of my life may Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray.
Make me a blessing to someone today.
Being blessed by God means bring the blessing of God to those all around us.
The final three verses now present the anthesis of the first 3 verses. Blessing and happiness is contrasted with judgment and cursing.
The Man Who Rejects Blessing - Psalms 1:4-6
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
The Way to Reject Blessing
Now the other way is shown and remember in God’s eyes and in God’s word there are only two ways, the way of blessing and the way of judgment.
Notice how these verses begin. “The ungodly are not so.” Immediately we are confronted with the contrast. The Psalmist is saying there is no comparison, there is only a vast and terrible difference between the god and the ungodly, the blessed and the judged.
The blessed person is like a deeply rooted tree, but the ungodly have no root at all. They are like chaff, the empty hulls, the empty lives, the empty promises of what could have been but instead it was rejected. Where the blessed are watered by the God’s word, the ungodly are swept away by the wind of God’s judgment. Where the blessed are rooted and stand strong, the ungodly are swept back and forth, like so much debris until the day will come with God must deal with them.
As one commentator put it, “While God concerns himself with the way of the righteous, the wicked merely drift on to ultimate destruction.”
Unblessed By Choice
In the same way that being blessed is choice, being unblessed is also a choice. You can argue about foreknowledge, predestination, elect and all those theological quandaries but when the Bible presents these things to us on a personal level it is always, always, always your choice, my choice. Not your fate, not your destiny, not your bad or good luck, but your choice. You can choose the blessing or you can choose the cursing and one day in this life or in eternity all of us will look back and know, “It was always my choice.”
Moses last sermon, “Choose Life”
Moses last address to the Hebrews before He died Deuteronomy 30:15-19 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
What Psalms One presents us with is the two ways of living in this world. By preaching this message from this passage this morning, I’m preaching the same message that God preached to Adam and Eve in the Garden, that Moses preached to the Hebrews, the Jesus preached at the Sermon on the Mount. There are two ways and you must choose one or the other. One way brings blessing, joy, happiness and eternal salvation. The other way brings pain, sorrow, emptiness and finally eternal damnation. Choose the blessing, choose life, choose God, choose the Word and you will be blessed.