“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
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
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?
Click the link below for all the music from Student Collective Conference: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1CoejizI1LlheqowpDluuQ?si=a8f73b09638d43b6