Blessed is the Man
Cliff Jones, Cardiff, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
People spend their lives seeking happiness and lasting peace. They spend time, energy and money in this relentless search. They may find a limited and temporary happiness in enjoying ‘the pleasures of sin for a season’, Heb. 11. 25, but then restless dissatisfaction sets in and the search for happiness begins again. They try one thing after another and those who live to old age ultimately experience sadness, disillusionment and despair.
All the unhappiness in the world, the physical pain, mental anguish, misery and worry people experience and suffer; the deceit, trouble and insecurity; calamities, wars, terrorism and violence on the streets; problems in economies and in human organisations, and the troubles in families and the lives of individuals, have one root and common cause, and that is sin. Sin is lawlessness, 1 John 3. 4 RV: it is doing what one wants to do, regardless of the will of God. The word of God tells us that we are all sinners by nature and in practice, Rom. 3. 23. Sin has affected the whole creation, Rom. 8. 22.
The lives and experiences of men and women which are recorded for us in the word of God show that sin and sadness always go together and that holiness, righteousness, peace and happiness also go together. Happiness will not be achieved when sought for as an end in itself, but it is a result of knowing and obeying God. In the Psalms, the Holy Spirit tells us about those things that cause a man to be happy. We read in Psalm 144 verse 15, ‘Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord’.
‘Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered . . . the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity’, Ps. 32. 1, 2.
The word translated ‘blessed’ in Psalm 32, and in the other psalms we shall look at, is plural, and the Holy Spirit is telling us of the ‘blessednesses’ or ‘happinesses’ of the man who has been saved and does the will of God. The man who is truly blessed is the man who has been saved, that is, his sins have been forgiven by God, Ps. 32. 1, 2; Rom. 4. 6-8. This man knows that forgiveness is not earned by doing good works but is by grace through God-given faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Eph. 2. 8, 9. He has ‘peace with God’, Rom. 5. 1, and can enjoy the ‘peace of God’ in his heart, Phil. 4. 7. This man believes that ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’, John 3. 16. The happy man is the man who has repented, that is, he has turned from his sins and to God, and has put his faith and trust in the Lord Jesus, believing that He bled and died on the cross, suffering there, instead of him, the punishment from God that his sins deserve. What joy, peace and happiness result from meditating on the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ ‘loved me, and gave himself for me’, Gal. 2. 20.
‘Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee’, Ps. 84. 12.
How blessed and happy is the man who trusts fully in God at all times. This man will be blessed and kept, 1 Pet. 1. 3-5, as he passes through this present life, seeking to obey and serve God. He will be blessed, strengthened and guided by God, Ps. 84. 5, knowing that, in eternity, he will be with God in heaven, 1 Thess. 4. 16, 17. True lasting happiness and satisfaction are found only by the man ‘that maketh the Lord his trust’, Ps. 40. 4. The man who trusts in the Lord knows that His promises are true and that He is always to be relied upon, Mal. 3. 6. This man experiences happiness, for ‘blessed is the man that trusteth in him’, Ps. 34. 8.
‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly’, Ps. 1. 1.
Many books have been written on how to be happy, and a great deal of money is spent on advertising products and services which, it is claimed, will make people happy. In many instances, people are being led to seek material solutions to what are, in reality, deep-seated spiritual problems. In Psalm 1, the Holy Spirit sets before us the way of happiness and the way of unhappiness. The man who has been saved and, by the enabling power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 6. 19, does the will of God, is the blessed or happy man. The first two verses of Psalm 1 tell us what such a man does and does not do. In verse 1 we learn that the blessed man, the happy man, ‘walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly’. He does not get his counsel from the world nor let the world’s way of thinking and its priorities determine the way he thinks and lives. He does not stand ‘in the way of sinners’. He leads a life which is separated from the world and to God, 2 Cor. 6. 17. There are places not to frequent and activities not to get involved in, for ‘the friendship of the world is enmity with God’, Jas. 4. 4.
We are told, ‘Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind’, Rom. 12. 2. The gradual settling down into sin depicted in verse 1, walking, standing, leads ultimately to sitting ‘in the seat of the scornful’. The blessed man does not make jokes about sin, holiness, righteousness, death or the judgement to come. He is not irreverent in his use of scripture nor speaks lightly of heaven or hell.
In verse 2 we learn that the blessed man delights to study and meditate on the word of God. A believer should meditate on the scriptures under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, 2 Tim. 2. 15, so that he might receive guidance, Ps. 119. 105, and grow spiritually, 1 Pet. 2. 2. Meditating on, and obeying, the teaching found in the word of God will lead to peace and happiness. Getting his counsel from the scriptures will cause a believer to think and behave as God would have him to think and behave. As a man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he’, Prov. 23. 7, and ‘out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh’, Matt. 12. 34. Thoughts precede words and actions, and form habits and character. The blessed, happy man who loves and obeys God will bring forth the fruit of the Spirit which is ‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance’, Gal. 5. 22, 23.
There was only one man, the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten, eternal, beloved Son of God, who was entirely righteous, holy, sinless and undefiled. He was perfectly obedient to His Father’s will, Phil. 2. 8, and always pleased Him, John 8. 29; Matt. 3. 17; 17. 5. He was the truly blessed and happy man of Psalm 1 verses 1- 2, but became the forsaken man of Psalm 22 verse 1 so that the foolish, sinful man of Psalm 14 verse 1 might become the blessed, happy man of Psalm 32 verses 1-2.