Read: Psalm 1:1, 3
True happiness is described in Scripture as blessedness. The Hebrew word for blessed, esher, is given in a plural, exclamatory form – best translated, “Oh, how blessed!” To be blessed is to be profoundly, completely joyful, independent of external circumstances. Psalm 1:3 describes the blessed state in terms of five elements: 1. Blessedness means being planted– the tree did not plant itself! (Psalm 16:6; 1 Corinthians 1:28 – 30); 2. Blessedness is “by streams of water,” where nourishment is constantly provided (Philippians 4:19); 3. The blessed condition is one that produces fruit in season, at the appointed time (Galatians 6:9); 4. Blessedness never withers; the Hebrew word translated “wither” is nabal, referring to that which is foolish, senseless and useless (2 Peter 1:8); 5. Blessedness results in “prospering” – Hebrew tsalach – which means action that breaks forth with strength. The prosperity of the blessed is not in possessing things, it is in effective action (Galatians 5:6).
Think About It: How have I experienced blessedness, in terms of the five aspects of blessedness described in Psalm 1:3? How does the definition of blessedness in Psalm 1 contrast with the world’s definition of happiness?
Prayer: Lord, grant that I might experience blessedness.
Read: Psalm 1:6; Psalm 37:18; John 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:19; Galatians 5:5
The construction of Psalm 1 contrasts the blessed person with the wicked person, and equates blessedness with righteousness in v. 6. The blessedness of the righteous is being known by God. Blessedness is knowing that God is aware, clearly understands, and has regard for our condition.
Think About It: What is my only hope of being regarded by God as being righteous? What do I find encouraging about the fact that He knows me?
Prayer: Praise God for the righteousness of Christ.
Read: Psalm 1:4 – 6; Psalm 35:5; Hosea 13:3; Psalm 76:7; Nahum 1:6; Matthew 7:23;
1 John 2:19
The state of the wicked (Hebrew rasha, often contrasted in Scripture with tsaddiq, righteous) contrasts with the established, nourished, and fruitful state of the blessed in every way.
Think About It: What are the elements of the state of the wicked as revealed in
Psalm 1:4 – 6? What are some biblical or historical examples that illustrate the truth of the description of the wicked provided in Psalm 1?
Prayer: Praise God for the privilege of being part of the congregation of God’s people.
Read: Psalm 1:1
Psalm 1 explains how to be blessed, and begins with warning to avoid three things. The first warning is to avoid walking in the counsel of the wicked. A walk – in Hebrew halak — means continuing along; it indicates a way of life. It includes where you go and whether or not you turn aside (Proverbs 4:14 – 15). Counsel – the Hebrew word etsah—is advice, a scheme, a strategy; the counsel of the wicked is the advice or example of the sinful, godless person (Job 21:16; Proverbs 1:10; Galatians 5:18 – 21). The counsel of the wicked includes the philosophy of the ungodly person (Ephesians 5:6 – 7).
Think About It: What are some contemporary examples of the “counsel of the wicked“? Where and how might I be tempted to follow along with the counsel of the wicked? What is my best defense against wicked counsel?
Prayer: Lord, help me to walk in the light.
Read: Psalm 1:1
The second warning in Psalm 1:1 is to avoid standing in the way of sinners. A stand – Hebrew amad—refers to “taking one’s stand,” to abide, to be established, to remain. A stand is your conviction, the point where you make your defense, the line you draw in the sand. Sinners may be deeply convicted about where they stand, but strong conviction does not make them right. The Jewish religious leaders had strong convictions, on which they based their rejection of Jesus (John 19:7).
A way – Hebrew derek – is a road, or a journey on a road. While “standing” is not an image that involves movement, the image of a road indicates that a stand is on something that leads somewhere. The road on which sinners stand leads from bad to worse (2 Timothy 3:13).
Think About It: What are some biblical, historical, or contemporary examples of strong convictions that were totally wrong? What are some contemporary examples of roads that lead from bad to worse?
Prayer: Lord, strengthen me to stand on Your Word.
Read: Psalm 1:1; 1 Corinthians 8:1; Proverbs 29:8; Luke 23:35 – 36
The third warning in Psalm 1:1 is not to sit in the seat of the scoffer. The scoffer – Hebrew luts – means a derider, a mocker; it is defined in Proverbs 21:24 as a haughty man who acts with arrogant pride. The scoffer thinks he knows more than anyone else and therefore mockingly looks down on others. The proud scoffer is puffed up and destructive. Our seat – Hebrew moshab – is where we settle, it is our dwelling place. Our seat gives us our perspective on things, and reflects our supposed status.
Think About It: What perspective on life is provided from the viewpoint of the seat of the scoffer? What does he think about his status? Have I ever sat in the scoffer’s seat?
Prayer: Lord, please deliver me from arrogant pride.
Read: Psalm 1:2; Philippians 4:8; Joshua 1:8; Colossians 3:1, 2, 16.
Psalm 1:2 describes two things that the blessed person does: he delights in God’s Law, and he meditates on it day and night.
Think About It: In what do I delight? What kinds of things do I mull over (and over) in my mind? Am I delighting in God’s Word? Do I meditate in God’s word?
Prayer: Lord, help me to think on the things above; may Your Word richly dwell in me.