Thanks to social media, people have found many reasons to feel #Blessed. Those reasons include the birth of one’s child or finding a job to bragging about what one’s significant other did for them or the birthday messages they got on social media. I suppose all of those are good reasons to feel blessed.
However, I feel that the current application of #Blessed has come to cheapen its meaning when it comes to the Christian life. To be sure, daily provisions from God give us reasons to feel blessed, but I feel there is more to it than just that. And I’m not even talking about remembering that all good things from God. But to go deeper into the relationship that we have with God in Christ Jesus our Lord and remembering the greatest way God has blessed us. Namely, the redemption we have in the works of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I believe this is what the psalmist is reflecting upon when he wrote, “Blessed is the man” in Psalm 1. The man in Psalm 1 is someone who is completely separated from sin. He has no yearning to sin or even to be in the presence of sinners. Rather, his utter delight is the law of the LORD. To many of us, this is crazy! When was the last time that you actually sat down and found delight in reading the Bible? Many of us do it because: (1) we feel obligated to, (2) we feel superstitious to not do it, and (3) because someone forced me to. None of those reasons help us to delight in the word. Not so for the man in Psalm 1. He delights in meditating on the word of God.
How is this possible for the man in Psalm 1?
The man delights in the word of God because he understands it reveals to him the riches of God’s gift of salvation. Note the wonderful description found in verse 3: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither.” The man is not described as a tree that planted itself in a plentiful area for growth. No, it was planted. Someone took it and planted it so that it can grow into a plentiful tree. This is a picture of God’s work of salvation. It is a depiction of God taking the man and planting him by the stream so that the man will grow and bear a lot of fruit and his leaf will not wither! So, the man delights in the word of God because he is coming to a richer understanding of God’s steadfastness for him the more he meditates on it. God saved him and now God is growing him. All the man needs to do is enjoy God’s good works in his life!
Of course, this does not dismiss the fact that sin in present around his life. But he is able to withstand the temptations of sin because he is living his life depending on the help of his God who will direct him in the way of the righteous. It is a life of total dependence, total trust, in the only One who is able to help him. And that One is our LORD, and He will help him.
We must recognize that this is true for us as well. For we live this life not by our own righteousness, but by the righteousness of Jesus, who truly did not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers. And at the same time we live in the peace that Jesus has won for us by paying the price of our walking, standing, and sitting in sin. We live this life by the power of our Savior Jesus, who rose again victoriously over death so that we would have a new, powerful life in him. And He assures us of this great news by giving us the Holy Spirit as our Helper who guides us and strengthens us daily. In Christ we are, indeed, like the tree planted by the stream of living water and we will never thirst nor perish. God “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3).
Surely, we all have many reasons to feel blessed. However, we must not stop at the things that we can see. To feel really blessed, we must learn to remember what Christ has done for us, for it is his work of salvation that provides true blessings. Feel blessed, dear friends. You have a Savior who has redeemed you and will faithfully finish what he has started (Phil. 1:6).
Pastor James Kwak is the lead English ministry (EM) pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Orange County, and is a graduate of UC San Diego and Westminster Theological Seminary.