Psalm 1. Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
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.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
The Psalms are the hymnbook of ancient Israel. These inspired songs guided the nation into the presence of God. They were compiled during the exile of Israel, providing a literary temple where the nation went to worship God even when they had no physical temple, only their hearts.
The order of the Psalms is not random. Psalm 1 is first because it lays the foundation for the rest of the book. Along with Psalm 2, it is the “gateway to the psalms.” It contrasts the life of blessedness with the life of wickedness. The Psalms are about walking God’s path of wisdom through the worship of him in any and all circumstances of life – joy, pain, love, hate, faith, doubt.
Psalm 1 opens with the blessed man. He is a man who delights in God’s wisdom (the law or Torah), and meditates on it all day long. He is like a strong and fruitful tree planted by a river of living water.
But who is this blessed man?
The mistake that we make most often when reading the Psalms is to make them all about us. We interpret them moralistically. We read Psalm 1 and think, “I better be the blessed man. I must be righteous and not wicked.”
But Psalm 1 reaches far deeper than this. Psalm 1 retells the Genesis story. Adam is the man who should have delighted in the law of God. Adam was planted as a tree of life in the garden. But then he walked in the counsel of the wicked, and became like the chaff driven away by the wind. Now, because of Adam’s sin, there are two kinds of people: the righteous and the wicked. And the wicked will perish.
So here’s the problem – every one of us the wicked who will perish. There is none righteous no not one. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all the chaff.
This is why in Genesis 3:15 God promised us a Messiah. A hero. The seed of the woman who would crush the Serpent and defeat sin and death. The true blessed man.
Psalm 2 follows with the story of how the righteous, blessed man of Psalm 1 will crush his enemies and establish his kingdom forever. He is the anointed king and son of God.
Psalm 2:2, 7-9. The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed.
7 I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
When we put Psalm 1 and 2 together as the editors intended, we see the story of Christ. Jesus is the blessed man. Jesus forever delighted in God’s wisdom. Jesus is the fruitful tree that always prospers. And Jesus is the anointed son of God. The inheritor of the nations. The possessor of the earth.
Where does this leave us? Are we in the Psalms? If we aren’t the blessed man of Psalm 1 then who are we?
We aren’t THE blessed man, but we can be A blessed man. How? By being IN the blessed man. Look at how Psalm 2 ends:
Psalm 2:12. Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
This is the message of the psalms, this is the wisdom of God, this is “to live is Christ” – Blessed are all who take refuge IN HIM. Will you take your refuge in the unconditional love and grace of the blessed man, Jesus the Christ? Will you walk with him? Stand with him? Sit with him? Will you be planted in his salvation? Or will you be a wicked fool today, relying on your own righteousness?
Kiss the Son. Find your refuge in his life and be a blessed man.
Where do you tend to find your refuge in life?
You in Christ
How can knowing you are in Christ make you feel like a “tree planted by streams of water?”
Christ in you
How can you take refuge in Christ’s love today?
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