What does it mean to be blessed? This is a significant Bible word. In fact, the word “blessed” starts off the book of Psalms, the collection of songs and hymn and laments God gave us.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful,” reads Psalm 1:1. The Hebrew word for “blessed” is esher and from its root we can understand that to be “blessed” is to be on a straight path.
Jesus told us this. He said that “straight is the gate and narrow is the way the leads to life and few are those who find this way” (see Matthew 7:14). In fact, this passage comes toward the end of the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, a series of teachings that began with the word “blessed” and several key statements about those who experience blessing.
Notice how the opening verse of the Psalms emphasizes first what a blessed person does not do. The initial characteristic of the blessed one is that he is wary about his steps. He walks wisely (see Proverbs 13:20) because he is careful about the words he hears. He doesn’t take direction from the “ungodly.”
Counsel from these kinds of sources can take us into the path of sinners, into the broad road that Jesus said leads to destruction. Even worse, we could wind up sitting at the table of the scornful.
What manner of words would be heard at that place? Surely, not ones that would lead us to being blessed.
Scornful words are words steeped in negativity and envy. Paul wrote of such things to Timothy, a fellow worker, brother, and spiritual son whom he mentored in pastoral leadership. The apostle warned Timothy to watch out for “vain jangling.” This is speech that is made “contrary to sound doctrine” (see 1 Timothy 1).
After showing us what a blessed man is not, Psalm 1 does not leave us there, thankfully. The next verses move us forward and provide the insight that we need to be blessed people.
Delight in the law of the Lord, Psalm 1:2 tells us. This is something very easy to say, but how to do this is the big question for most of us.
The Word of God is alive. It promises to be quick and powerful. This doesn’t happen through our strong efforts, however. Hard work and striving are not delightful, that’s for sure.
What brings delight is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He, this third Person of God, was sent to supply the power and peace that our souls are so desperate to have.
The Savior made specific promises to His early disciples about the Comforter, as He is called in John 14:14-28. Jesus said He would send the Spirit to us, to fill us, to lead us, to guide us into all truth. The Spirit takes up residence in us the moment we call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus and are saved.
By the Spirit, the Word becomes our delight – our pleasure and our desire. By the Spirit, the law of God becomes a living law within us. By the Spirit, we gain understanding and discernment from the Scriptures.
Our part in this is to meditate on His Word day and night. “Meditate” sounds like a complicated practice. Some have made this sound so strange and mysterious. Really meditation simply involves dumping out your thoughts before God and asking Him to help you take up His thoughts.
Meditation can involve singing and whispering and silence and complaining. You read that right. Complaint forms our meditation because it is the junk removal part of the process. One of the original meanings of the Hebrew word for meditate is to groan, to roar, to mutter, and to growl.
Psalm 1 is counseling us in the blessed way. It warns us: Don’t sit down and become scornful. Avoid the temptation to throw a pity party. Rather, look up and scream if you have to. Tell the Lord all about your problems. He will answer by and by.
Worry not. He’s bigger than all of it. He can handle your complaints — others cannot bear them.You can have a little talk with Jesus, and also you may have a loud, long argument with Him. Click To Tweet
You can have a little talk with Jesus, and also you may have a loud, long argument with Him. Go to the book of Job and there you will find context for this part of our relationship with the Lord.
Job lost family, finances, possessions, and good health in a short space of time. No reasons were given for the disasters that befell him. Still, he refused to compromise the integrity of what he had with God.
A trio of”friends” talked much and sought to push Job into religious habit and ritual. Job, instead, cleaved to the Lord and to the relationship God had cultivated between them.
Through the story of Job, we see a man experiencing loss and the loneliness and frustrations that come with lost. We also read of a man who throws those things before His Master and Maker.
The expectation of Job was that God’s plan for his trials would result in gold – a precious understanding, a wisdom and hope in his heart. And that’s precisely how the story ended. “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. …” (Job 42:12).
Job became more blessed than ever. He became like the tree referred to in Psalm 1:3:
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
Here is the conclusion of the matter: We want to be blessed, for sure. And the key to blessedness is really quite simple:
Hear God. Think about Him and His Words. Talk to the Lord, even in the dark times. Shout to Him if you must. “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous. …” (Psalm 1:6).
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