March 23 I Thursday
“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart—they do no wrong but follow His ways.” —Psalm 119:1-3
The book of Psalms opens by tapping into the deepest longing of the human heart—the quest for happiness and blessings. Psalm 1:1-2 tells us, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on His law day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2). The Hebrew word “blessed” could also mean “happy,” where one is in a state of peace with the Creator. To be blessed is something that God welcomes us into as we depend upon Him. It is a broad invitation, but the path to the blessed life is only one road, and that is through alignment of our life with God’s Word, His rule and His law.
As we examine the verses more closely, we discover that the invitation is stated with three negative statements: does not walk in step with the wicked, does not stand in the way that sinners take and does not sit in the company of mockers. Did we notice the progression of someone who might be captivated by walking the road with the wicked, but then slowly stops their momentum as they stand in the way that sinners take and eventually comes to a complete standstill in their life as they immerse themselves with the mockers?
The ESV translation of Psalm 1:1 goes, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…” Compared to the NIV translation that says “walks in step,” the word “counsel” helps us understand what the psalmist was actually warning. The Hebrew word for “counsel” is also used in other places throughout the Old Testament. What it actually speaks of is the counsel of friends or family, or the advice that formal counselors give to kings. In some respect, the “counsel” given is the wisdom of man, or in essence, the wisdom of this world that has the appearance of wisdom.
When the verse talks about standing in the way that sinners take, there are predominantly two Hebrew words used to describe “sin.” The word that the Psalmist used for “sinner” does not describe intentional wickedness, but unintentional error or missing the mark. When we couple all of this together, we could reinterpret the psalmist as saying, “Blessed is the man who does not simply follow the wisdom of this world, or the winds of culture, but they are rooted in God’s Word.”
Do we seek counsel and wisdom from God’s Word or the world? May we find the secret to the blessed life hidden in the Word of God.
Prayer: Lord God, in You alone is the fullness of a blessed life. I desire to align my life to Your Word, Your rule and Your law. Thank You, God.