The new year is upon us. Like it or not, time marches on and the calendar changes. But the Word of God remains the same. Here’s a silly question ... Would you like to be blessed by God in 2020? Who wouldn’t? No one gets up and says, “I want to be miserable today. I hope I have a rotten day.”
We all want to be blessed. We all want to be happy. We all want to find fulfillment in what we do every day.
Psalm 1 tells us how we can be continually blessed every day. In just a few verses we learn the secret of the life God blesses. And it’s not related to New Year’s resolutions. Every January most of us make of list of things we want to change. But the blessing Psalm 1 talks about goes much deeper. “Blessed is the man.” Happy is the man. This is God’s prescription for happiness...
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3).
Notice that the Psalmist begins by telling us what should be avoided. He says the blessed person ...
Does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
Does not stand in the way of sinners.
Does not sit in the seat of mockers.
Consider the progression involved: Walk ... Stand ... Sit. First, the man is walking down the road. Then he stops to hang out with the sinners. Eventually they prove to be such good company that he sits down and has intimate fellowship with them. What started as casual contact in the end becomes a personal decision to align oneself in these relationships.
The “counsel of the wicked” means the advice of the morally unstable. It’s a general term that describes the worldview of those who do not know the Lord. The “way of sinners” involves a series of lifestyle choices. The “seat of mockers” means to have close, intimate, long-term fellowship with those who openly reject the Lord. The progression goes like this: Thinking ... Behaving ... Belonging. Worldly wisdom leads to ... Worldly action, which results in ... Worldly fellowship.
But the Psalmist goes on to say there is something we must embrace in order to be a blessed person. psalmist tells us that the blessed person “delights” in the law of the Lord. That means he loves the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. The word “delight” means to take great pleasure in. It has the idea of a consuming passion that controls your life.
What do you delight in? What gets your motor running? What gets you excited in the morning and keeps you awake at night? What do you daydream about? Those who are blessed by God love his law and they meditate in it day and night. On one hand, that simply means “all the time.” When should we meditate? Any time is a good time. There is no “wrong” time to meditate on the Word of God. But perhaps we should take the text quite literally. It is a very good practice to begin and end the day with the Bible. That way we get started right and we end right. That way we discipline our minds to think biblically all the time. If we delight in the Word, we will find a way to read it, to meditate on it, and even to memorize it.
So, here are two words of advice as we pursue the blessed life in 2020 ... avoid the entanglements of the world and embrace the word of God. If we will than we will prosper in the will of the Lord. He says their “leaf does not wither.” People like this are constantly refreshed by the Word of God, constantly renewed, constantly drawing on new strength for new situations. No matter what happens, they find strength for the day and hope in the midst of the hardest difficulties. Why? Because they are planted deep in the good soil and their roots reach out to the water of the Word of God. Finding constant nourishment they can face whatever life throws at them. In this world we may face disappointment, sorrow, rejection, failure, sickness, abandonment, and discouragement. Even then, we prosper, we thrive, we survive, we are not destroyed.
Kyle Blanton is pastor at Pee Dee Baptist Church.