From a devotional perspective, there is no book quite like the Psalms. Through praise and prayer the writer often captures the innermost feelings of the heart and soul. Although we have become more modern as a people, the thoughts and feelings of the human consciousness remain the same; teaching us that the Psalms continue to have an incredible value for Christian people today.
The Psalms begin with a devotional look at the one who is termed “The Blessed Man”. In reality this is “The Happy Man” and furthermore he is an individual with many “happinesses”. He is one with innumerable blessings. As those who have received all manner of spiritual blessings in Christ, who are in possession of His unsearchable riches and who are joint heirs with the Son of God; we are a happy people indeed.
1: The Blessed Man’s People
The associates of this person are identified by the negative. He avoids companionship with the ungodly, the sinners and the scornful. Yet it is not the case that the Psalmist is telling us to avoid contact with these individuals. Rather we are to avoid contamination with the spirit that inculcates the world around us. Therefore the Psalmist employs three words which denote one’s entire lifestyle – walking, standing and sitting. In one’s everyday life, whatever the employment these three acts describe the totality of our lifestyle. We also observe the places where the world is positioned; the counsel, the way and the seat. The counsel is a purpose, the way is a lifestyle and the seat is a dwelling place. These are phrases are indicative of lifestyle, character and behaviour. There is an evil spirit in the world, which the Christian needs to avoid.
2: The Blessed Man’s Perusal
The Psalmist switches in the 2nd Verse to the Blessed Man’s private devotions. His public persona is one of separation because his private devotion is characterised by meditation. Spending time with God’s Word is vital for our spiritual health. We need to be readers of the Bible; following a consistent plan. Reading alone is insufficient. Meditating which involves thought, prayer and personal application is the only accompaniment which will make our reading profitable. The attitude of submission is also implied here because the Blessed Man reads in the law; law is to be obeyed. There is a constancy in this study of the sacred text because the book is perused day and night.
3: The Blessed Man’s Productivity
The happy man is a successful man. The metaphor of a tree planted by the rivers of water is employed to depict the profitability of this individual. There is deep spiritual meaning in this verse. The waters are the Holy Spirit and the fruit is what Paul described as “the fruit of the Spirit”. The man or woman who is devoted to living out the bible will be camped beside the Spirit of God. Such a spirit filled life is blessed indeed. The prosperity may not be weighed in wealth and possessions but it will be a prosperity which endures and which permeates every detail of life.
4: The Blessed Man’s Promise
In verses 4,5 and 6 the promise to the happy man is denoted in both the positive and the negative. Negatively he is contrasted with the ungodly man who is driven like the chaff. The harvest analogy is clear. The godly are the precious wheat whereas the ungodly are dust blown by the wind. The happy man has a promise that he will never be as chaff. The ungodly will not stand among God’s people is the last great day but the promise is clear; the Blessed Man will be numbered among the redeemed of the Lord. The ungodly man is perishing whereas the happy man is alive. It is a blessing to know that the Lord knows His people. Our relationship to the Lord and our security in the Lord is clearly implied.
5: The Blessed Man’s Pattern
This opening Psalm in the Psalter is a remarkable revelation of Christ in His wonderful life. He was the one whose life was separate from the ungodly environment in which Judea and Galilee were steeped. He was distinct from the religious aristocracy, He rebuked sin while at the same time He loved sinners. He was a man of the Book. Satan was rebuffed with the precious words of Scripture. Christ did not fade, even in death and from the resurrected Christ flowed the Holy Spirit who is producing fruit even to the present. He is the constant one. He is our inspiration. We follow in His steps. He is our example, our pattern. For me to live is Christ.