Psalm 1:2 – What Blessedness Is – Part 1 –

In our previous posts on Psalm 1:1 we looked deep into verse 1 of Psalm 1 and we saw how this Psalm is very specific about whatblessedness (happiness, fulfillment, joy, completeness) is not; that is to say, we saw where blessedness is not to be found. Tonight, we will look at  the first of the following:

1) Nature of blessedness (Whatblessedness is – vv.2-3).
2) Source and standard (Who provides the source (where) blessedness can and must be found – provides an eternally, divinely inspired foundation for “delight” and prosperity).

We have seen what blessedness is not, let’s now see what blessedness is.

“….but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

1) Nature of Blessedness (vv. 2-3).

In the previous post we saw the nature of blessedness in its negative form. I don’t mean by that that there is a bad side to blessedness, I mean that we looked at what blessedness is not; blessedness is not to be found in “the counsel of the wicked….the way of sinners….[or] the seat of scoffers” (v. 1). The “righteous” (v. 5) are told that they will not find righteousness inwickedness, they are told not to “walk….stand….[or] sit” in wickedness (sinfulness, mockery, ungodliness, unrighteousness) (v. 1). They are told that they will never find blessedness there, but only damnation (vv. 4-6).

Blessedness does not equal unrighteousness, sinfulness, ungodliness, etc. Blessedness must therefore be its logical opposite: righteousness, faithfulness, and godliness.

Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about the nature of God-given blessedness through the “law of the LORD” (v. 2):

-It is rooted in the “fear of the LORD” and in delighting in and loving “his commandments.” Verse 2.

  • “Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delightsin his commandments!”  (Ps. 112:1, ESV).
  • “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it” (Psalm 119:35, ESV).
  • “….for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love” (Psalm 119:47-48, ESV).
  • “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction” (Psalm 119:92, ESV).
-It is rooted in keepingseeking, walkingobeyingfixing on, and leaning on the law of the LORD. 

“….but his delight is in the law of the LORD” (Psalm 1:2, ESV).

Here is where we see the complete opposite of Psalm 1:1 in that it exhorts the righteous to do all that Psalm 1:1 says, but in the law of the LORD, not in the counsel of the wicked. We see here the reason why Psalm 1 (and many other Psalms) is considered a wisdom Psalm because the law of the LORD (testimonies, statutes, commandments) are impersonated as “counselors” who guide the righteous to righteousness and life.
  • Blessed are those whose way is blameless [that is, free of the sin of the wicked, unspotted], who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep histestimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong [do no wickedness, have nothing to do with it], but walk in his ways!” (Psalm 119:1-3, ESV).
  • “Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies….Yourtestimonies are my delight; they are my counselors” (Psalm 119:2224, ESV).
  • “…Put false ways far from me….I have chosen the way of faithfulness; [and what is this “way of faithfulness”?] I set your rules before me” (Psalm 119: 30, ESV).

-It produces life because it is life, it produces strength because it is strength, it produces dependence (like that of a child to its father) because it isindependent, and it produces joy because it is joy.
  • “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! When I told of my ways, you answered me [how?]; teach me your statutes!….My soul melts away forsorrowstrengthen me according to your word! Put false ways far from me andgraciously teach me your law!….I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame! I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!” (Psalm 119: 25-32, ESV). 

What a beautiful expression of utter dependence and vulnerability to the LORD! The entirety of Psalm 119 is a letter of childlike hunger and dependence on the LORD’s doctrine, statutes, commandments, precepts, and rules. Please, take the time to read the entire Psalm 119 to get a better understanding of this.

-It cannot be received unless there is deep study of His Word.

“…but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2, ESV).

Understanding His law does not come only through constant prayer, but also through constantcommunion with God through deep, rigorous,  exegetical (interpretative: taking meaning out of the Bible, not into), study of His Word. There is a manner of thinking in the modern Church today that “doctrine divides, but love unites.” To that I say, is not love a Biblical doctrine? Are we, then, to do away with love as the Bible clearly outlines it in Scripture because it is also a doctrine? Where else should we then turn for a godly definition of what love is? The answer is clearly: no!And to the second question, I quote the Apostle Peter,

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68, ESV).

The above verses are enough to refute this idea that doctrine in and of itself is “unloving” and even “ungodly” because it “divides.” The truth is that doctrine will divide AND unite, but that is a subject for another entry. My main point here is that the above Psalms clearly show that doctrineand “delight” and “love” go hand in hand; it is not a matter of either/or, but both/and; it is not a matter of “balance,” (for that would imply 50% doctrine and 50% spirit) but 100% doctrine and 100% spirit, where both unite to drive the heart ever closer to God, to love Him for who He is (for which reason we cannot do away with doctrine because that would mean doing away with the Bible itself, our only way to actually know who we’re worshipping!), to delight in Him, to enjoyHim, to praise Him, to fear Him, to defend His Word (Jude 3) because He is our God. Think about that for a moment! For more on this point, please read my entry on Psalm 148. Also, read the entirety of Psalm 119 to better understand this fully doctrine, fully spiritual relationship that should be in the heart of every true believer.

Hear what Martin Luther has to say about Psalm 119 and “the external Word” as He calls the “law of the LORD,”

“In this psalm [119] David always says that he will speak, think, talk, hear, read, day and night and constantly – but about nothing else than God’s Word and Commandments. For God wants to give you His spirit only through the external Word” – Martin Luther, Preface to His 1539 Works.

Martin Luther comments further on the arrogance and sinfulness of thinking that not studying the Word (engaging the mind) is a virtue,

“It is a sin and shame not to know our own book or to understand the speech and words of our God; it is a still greater sin and loss that we do not study languages, especially in these days when God is offering and giving us men and books and every facility and inducement to this study, and desires his Bible  to be an open book. O how happy the dear fathers would have been if they had our opportunity to study the languages and come thus prepared to the Holy Scriptures! What great toil and effort it cost them to gather up a few crumbs, while we with half the labor – yes, almost without any labor at all – can acquire the whole loaf! O how their effort puts our indolence to shame!” – Martin Luther “To The Councilmen of All Cities in Germany that they Establish and Maintain Christian Schools.”

Once again, Luther comments on Psalm 1:2,

“To “meditate,” as it is generally understood, signifies to discuss, to dispute, and to exercise in words, as in Ps. 37:30, “the mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom.” Hence Augustine, in his translation, has “chatter,’ a beautiful metaphor, as chattering is the employment of birds, so a continual conversing in the law of the Lord, since talking is peculiar to man, ought to be the employment of man. But I cannot worthily and fully set forth the gracious meaning and force of this word, for this ‘meditating’ consists first in an intent observing of the words of the law, and then in a comparing of the different scriptures, which is a certain delightful hunting, nay, rather a playing with stags in a forest or mountains, where the Lord furnishes us with the stags and opens to us their secret coverts, Ps. 29:6. And from this kind of employment there comes forth at length a man well instructed in the law of the Lord to speak unto the people.” 1

Thinking that studying is a waste of time is saying that deep study is an overrated task limited only to the Prophets, the Apostles, Christ, and God’s faithful men who have studied and given their lives under pain of torture, toil, and death, for the exposition of the Word of God. It is like looking at the ashes of the burned bodies of men who were burned at the stake for preaching the truth of God’s Word (given to them through engaging the mind and pleading to the LORD for understanding) and walking by as if it is of no importance. Even worse, it is as if we walked up to the Cross and saw our Lord hanging on it, disfigured, beaten, bloody, and walking by to the next best thing; as if the Bible does not say the following,

I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word” (Psalm 138:2, ESV).

HIGHLY recommended book for more in-depth understanding of the relationship between the mind and the spirit, John Piper’s “Think.”

In our next entry we will look at the second and final aspect of what blessedness is, stay tuned!

 Luther, Martin, 1483-1546; Lenker, John Nicholas, 1858-1929. Luther’s commentary on the first twenty-two Psalms : based on Dr. Henry Cole’s translation from the original Latin (Kindle Locations 647-651). Sunbury, Pa. : Lutheran’s in All Lands Co..

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