The Expository Files

The First Beatitude In Psalms

Psalm 1:1

The book of Psalms opens with a beatitude. "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful," (Psa. 1:1).

This is a description of a God-centered life. Those who live this way are "blessed." That frequent biblical word contains more than what we call "happiness" in contemporary use. Our word "happy" has to do with "happenings." Something happens that makes us happy. The biblical concept of "blessedness" goes much deeper; it signifies a deep sense of joy based on your God-centered way of life. "Happiness" in modern use depends upon events or happenings; "blessedness" in biblical use is not influenced by events, it is based on one's good relationship with God. An illustration of this is - Jesus spoke to His disciples about the joy or blessedness they would have; in the same conversation He told them they would be hated and persecuted. "Blessed are you when men persecute you." The "man" or person of Psalms 1:1 possesses blessedness because his life is God-centered. There is a depth of comfort, satisfaction and contentment he enjoys regardless of the events of life because His life doesn't depend upon events but upon His relationship with God.

He walks not in the council of the ungodly. Think about a child of God, staying close to his Father; walking with God, joining with others who walk with God. This child of God does not seek the counsel of the ungodly! This person gains motivation and guidance from his father, and good influence and association from his brothers and sisters. The God-centered person does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. (Can you imagine attempting to gain self-improvement and spiritual stimulation by watching the Jerry Springer Show?)

He does not stand in the path of sinners. Apparently, the God-centered person is very careful about companionship. And, if you are walking in the pathway of righteousness (with God, toward heaven, following Christ) - why would you stand in the path of sinners? The path of sinners moves in the opposite direction from your destination!

He does not sit in the seat of the scornful. It is possible that the Holy Spirit is picturing for us a steady digression away from God and into sin. Walking, standing and then sitting may replicate that digression away from God. The point is, the God-centered person doesn't do this. The godly person avoids sin, stays on the right pathway, shuns the counsel of the ungodly, etc. In other words, this kind of person stays far away from sin and close to God. The result is - this person is blessed; biblical blessedness, not worldly happiness.

Is your life God-centered? Are your thoughts, decisions, attitudes and actions ordered by the Word of God, or do you take the advice of deceitful, wicked men? The person who lives a God-centered life "shall be like a tree planted" in fertile, well-watered soil that brings forth fruit in it's season!

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 6.12; December 1999