- What does a life blessed by God look like?
There are a number of direct references in Scripture to those who are blessed by God. One of them is found in the first chapter of the Psalms. It opens with the exclamation: “How blessed is the man!” This man is “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither” (cf. Jere. 17:7-8; Prov. 3:18;11:30;15:4). Because of the way he lives, “Whatever he does prospers.” This means that he brings everything to a successful effect. Like the tree, “He brings the fruit to maturity.”
Yet he is not blessed by accident, birth or fate. And he cannot living the blessed life without deep resolve and thoughtful intention. Instead, he is noted for two practices that we conclude to be essential to a blessed life. Before identifying them, take a moment and reflectively read Psalm 1:1-3
“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 (firmly) 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)
Two essentials for a life blessed by God: Separation and Saturation
1. Separation: (dissociation)
He does not –walk in the counsel of the wickedHe does not –stand in the way of sinnersHe does not –sit in the seat of mockers.
The first item might surprise you. This blessed man is distinguished by carefulness about his associations. He keeps his distance from godless influences. He is selective about the counsel he receives.
The reference to counsel, way and seat with their corresponding verbs walk, stand, sit, mark stages of deliberate movement and proximity toward a life without God. By the time one is seated with the mockers, there is little hope. Mockers arrogantly ridicule the things of God. The people described as (wicked, sinners and mockers) are individuals who reject God’s wisdom and way. This does not mean that he lives a cloistered lifestyle associating only with godly people. The believer is called to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16).
2. Saturation: (association)
“His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
The “Law” (Torah) is instruction from God. He finds delight in hearing from God. He thirsts to know God’s will, to sink his roots deeply into the waters of divine revelation. He is not casual or careless but meditates day and night on truth revealed by God. The word for meditate is an onomotopoeic word (like murmur, mutter). It carries a verbal component (speak to yourself). Like the Psalmist who elsewhere asked himself: “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? ” Then he sent a message to himself: “Put your hope in God!” (Psalm 43:5).
“He is not under the law as a curse and condemnation, but he is in it, and he delights to be in it as his rule of life; he delights, moreover, to meditate in it, to read it by day, and think upon it by night. He takes a text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night-watches, when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he meditates upon the Word of God”
(C. H. Spurgeon). (cf. Deuteronomy 6:7; Psalm 119:16,18)
Four questions for those who desire a life blessed by God:
- Who do I run with?
- Who speaks into my life? Counsels me?
- What do I delight in?
- What do I think about and say to myself?
If I desire and intentionally surround myself (walk, stand, sit) with those who do not regard God (wicked, sinners, mockers), my way of seeing things will be shaped by counsel that is Godless or anti-God. “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (I Cor. 15:33; cf. Proverbs 1:10-19;Hebrews 11:25).
People rarely go the wrong way alone and rarely stay on the right course alone. God wants us to travel in community. And His plan is for the local Church to be the place where we find the encouragement and accountability we need (Hebrews 3:12-13; 10:24-25; 13:17).
Repeatedly, we learn of the central role of Scripture to a life blessed by God. We find a great example of this in James 1:22-25.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it— not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
The apostle Paul directed the young leader Timothy to the written Word of God for his guide. Because of the divine origin of Scripture it brings transformational influence in our lives:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to:
- teach us what is true
- to make us realize what is wrong in our lives
- It corrects us when we are wrong and
- teaches us to do what is right.
“God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17, NLT; cf. Deuteronomy 8:2-3; Psalm 1; 119; Matthew 7:24-27).
Think about it:
All Scripture was given to us for perspective formation— to get perspective– God’s perspective. Scripture offers counter-veiling truths to help us:
- See the vertical not just the horizontal
- See the eternal not just the temporal
- See the God-centered not just the man/me-centered