By Jim McDonald
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of Jehovah; and on his law doth he meditate day and night.
The first Psalm is without a heading, assigned to no author, therefore its human authorship is uncertain. We accept all 150 psalms as the inspired work of the Spirit, but the human instrument through whom he moved is not known in that Psalm. David is author of about half of the psalms and at least five other men are named: Asaph, Moses, Solomon, Teman, and Heman. Since several of the Psalms are without a heading, they could have been written by any of these men or by some other of whom we know nothing. The first is a sort of introduction to the whole book, a collection of psalms that had been in writing for at least 500 years.
The blessed (happy) man is the subject of this Psalm. He is viewed from two perspectives: negative and positive. He is blessed because, of what he is not and on the other hand of what he is. Such a perspective should not be surprising for every balanced life is composed of these two elements. Could it be otherwise?
The words of a song of yesterday go like this: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and don’t mess with Mr. In Between.” Such a philosophy would make a battery useless. Both negative and positive posts are necessary for the car to function. Such a philosophy. equally renders useless the life of a Christian. Trials are those things which bring out sturdiness in us and sharpen our resolve to do right. No child can properly develop without both negative and positive instructions from his parents. Parents cannot say “Yes” all the time any more than they can say “No.” Both things are needful to a child’s proper training and development.
The Ten Commandments illustrated the necessities of “do’s” and “don’ts” in the life of the ancient Israelite. The New Testament reveals that the noble Christian must also have these two qualities. We must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (negative); we must live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (positive) (Tit. 2:11). Pure religion is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction (positive) and keep oneself unspotted from the world (negative) (Jas. 1:27). Read also Romans 12:1f.
The blessed man is blessed because of what he does not do. He does not:
1. Walk in the counsel of the wicked;
2. Stand in the way of sinners;
3. Sit in the seat of scoffers.
These three things show sin’s progressive nature. Paul wrote: “Evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3 :13). James said: “Each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed and the lust when it hath conceived beareth sin, and sin, when it is full grown bringeth forth death” (Jas. 1:13f).
On the other hand, the blessed man is blessed because of what he does. “His delight is in the law of Jehovah and on this law doth he meditate day and night.” This passage reflects an attitude of love and respect. The blessed man loves the Scriptures. He loves them because:
1. Of their origin. He believes they are the sole oral revelation the Creator of this world has made to mankind.
2. Of their worth. They are “Sweeter than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb” (Ps.19).
Need it be observed that any one who loves the Scriptures will be obedient to them? The blessed man is an obedient one. “Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have a right to the tree of life and enter by the gates into they city” (Rev. 22:14).
From The Gospel Teacher, Lufkin, Texas