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SCC Monday Devotional: Psalm 1 Overview

“The psalmist saith more to the point about true happiness in this short Psalm than any

one of the philosophers, or all of them put together; they did but beat the bush, God

hath here put the bird into our hand.” —John Trapp, 1660

How would you describe your “best life”? What would a “blessed life” look like to


Everyone seeks to live a happy, content, fulfilled life. Contrary to what they might

say, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that deeply desires to get the very worst that life

has to offer. What an utterly ridiculous aim! Who sets out to have terrible days? Or

completely trainwreck their future because of their decisions? Who intentionally

attempts to avoid every good thing that might possibly await them? And, while it seems

like an incredibly foolish undertaking--to set out to have the worst of life-- we can often

shirk what God (the author of life) has plainly said about living a blessed life. Psalm 1

lays out a very stark contrast between the life of a truly blessed person and that of a

wicked person. It clearly shows two different paths of life and states the “secrets” to

living your very best life-- right now.

The Psalm opens with a bang! The very first word is ______________. So, I

guess it starts with a blessing, not a “bang”. But, what does blessed mean? Well, the

Hebrew word used here, esher, means “content” or “supremely happy”. Theologian

James Boice points out, “In Hebrew the word is actually a plural, which denotes either a

multiplicity of blessings or an intensification of them.” So, whether it’s a lot of blessings

or intense blessing, this is definitely a GOOD thing. In American Christianity, we often

correlate “blessings” with tangible provision or physical items. But, when we look at the

word used in a larger sense throughout Scripture we find that, while it sometimes

includes financial or physical provision, it points to a completely content, fulfilled life--

like the abundant life Jesus references in John 10:10. Blessed people are those who

are satisfied, at peace with God.

Go ahead and give Psalm 1 a quick read through. Verses 1-3 describe the life of

the blessed person. It lists 3 things that they do not do-- fill in the chart below to help

see them.

He ____________ not ...... In the counsel............ Of the _____________

Nor ____________ .......... In the way....................... Of _________________

Nor ____________ .......... In the seat...................... Of _________________

The blessed person is righteous, someone who takes intentional steps to abstain

from a lifestyle of sin. Notice on the left side of the chart how the actions “slow down” to

keep from moving forward in faith. Notice on the right side of the chart how there is a

progression from those who simply don’t acknowledge God to those who outwardly

mock Him and His work. Sin doesn’t usually take over our lives quickly or suddenly. It

often seeps in slowly over time. Ravi Zaccharias said “Sin will take you farther than you

want to go, keep you longer than you want to say, and cost you more than you want to

pay.” The blessed person works to ensure that their life is not marked by habitual

patterns of unrepentant sin. What else is true of the blessed person? What image does

the Psalmist use to describe their life? Use the space below to take some notes from

verses 1-3.

Verse 4 begins the contrast with the life of the ungodly, or wicked person. Both

the Vulgate (Latin translation of the Bible) and Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old

Testament) use some strong language to open this verse -- "Not so the ungodly, not so."

This double negative means that everything true of the righteous, blessed person is

NOT true for the wicked person. What does it say about the life of the wicked person?

What image does the Psalmist use to describe them? Use the space below to take

some notes from verses 4-6.

Take a look back over your two separate lists. In studying through this passage,

you may have noticed that the “secret” of the blessed, righteous person starts with

knowing God and choosing to trust him. Knowing who God is, what He says, and

choosing to trust Him will inevitably lead to the most fulfilling life we could possibly live!

What path are you on?

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