Garland Of Grace – 06.02.14

beautiful-tree-and-river

The Blessed Man

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” – Psalm 1:1-3

The passage above serves as the entrance, gateway, and opening to the ancient poetical writings referred to as “Psalms.”  How does the largest book of the Bible begin?  It begins with a message about the “blessed” man.  The Hebrew word for blessed means to be fulfilled, satisfied, and content.  These are longings of the human heart everyone desires to know, feel, and experience.  What an encouraging opening stanza to this Hebrew hymnal!

The one who stays away from sin will be blessed.  And oh, how true this is. We ought to do all we can to avoid the evil snare of sin in our lives.  But notice the natural digression presented in our passage?  The Psalmist mentions “walking” then “standing” and finally “sitting.” This physical positional digression helps us to understand that sin is a process.  We all know how enticing sin can be. Simply walking by sin can lead to standing with sin if we do not watch and guard our heart.  Finally, if we are not careful, we will be sitting down and fellowshipping with sin.  But blessed is he who does not put himself in those positions.  But only up to this point, the psalmist has expressed what should not be done.  This raises the question, “what should we do?”  We are to delight in God’s Word. God’s Word is sweet to the taste and serves as a guiding light to light our path (Psalm 119:103-105). So the one who wants to be blessed will meditate their mind on God’s Word, and marinate their heart in God’s Word.  Avoiding sin and delighting in scripture go hand in hand.  The more you practice God’s Word, the less you will practice sin.  As Adrian Rogers put it, “we ought to keep our nose in the book and our knees on the ground.”  On our knees; that is the position we ought to be in!

But the Psalmist still does not abandon his thoughts pertaining to the blessed man.  He goes on to describe the life of this blessed man.  In poetic fashion, he likens the blessed man to a strong, sturdy, and stable tree planted by the bank of a river that provides life giving waters. This tree is healthy and robust, yielding luscious fruit and with bares leaves that do not shrivel or dry up. Rooted deep into the moist and nutritious soil, the tree receives its nourishment from the nearby stream.  This botanical metaphor is certainly an appropriate one to say the least. A tree that is firmly planted and rooted in the ground is able to bend with winds of the world, face the scorching heat of the sun, and the withstand test of time.  And so it is with those who delightfully and righteously pursue God.  The blessed man who avoids sin by meditating upon the things of God will flourish and prosper. As long as he is rooted firmly in the soil of faith, he will never run dry or wilt.   The deeper we are rooted into our faith in God, the more glorious and intimate our relationship with the Lord will be.

Determine today whether you might be flirtatiously walking, standing, or sitting with sin.  If so, change your position by kneeling.  Kneel in prayer and ask God to forgive you and cleanse you.  Once you are right with the Lord, you will then be able to effectively feed upon the Word of God and tap into an indescribable contentment flowing from the river of God’s goodness.  You will be blessed for it.

 – Pastor Eric

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