This evening I want us to think about the way to happiness. That is the idea behind Psalm 1. The very first word of our psalm is the word “blessed.” It is the idea of God’s favor whereby he bestows cheer and allows us to experience personal happiness.
Happiness is a topic that we Americans are very much infatuated with. It’s something we as a culture have enshrined. Happiness is something that is part and parcel with being an American.
We are also the people who have produced the Happy Meal. We are so infatuated with happiness that we have wrapped it up with a cheeseburger in a cutesy little box.
And we evangelicals are very much infatuated with this idea too. We are always asking God to bless us. We’re praying for happiness. We say things like, “God bless us.” In other words, “God make me happy.” When we intercede for others we pray, “God bless little Johnny.” We pray for it on our food. We ask for it in our finances. Our prayers are all about God’s blessing; making us happy.
But you know what? We find a lot of people who are not happy. America, for all its infatuation with happiness, is a very unhappy people. Funny enough, we are a people who also produced the misery index (it’s a way economists measure unhappiness). Our happiness is slipping away. People are becoming more and more unhappy.
This is why Psalm 1 is such a good passage for us to day. It is because it is all about real, bona fide happiness. It shows us that real happiness lies in a life lived for Christ.
When you look at this passage that is exactly what you see. The first three verses identify for us who exactly it is that is blessed. And what you find is that it is the Christian. It is the one who fears the Lord. And the second half of the passage tells us how exactly the Lord blesses. In other words, it shows us wherein the Christian’s happiness consists.
Look at the first three verses. These three verses show us the man who is blessed.
I. Who is blessed?
And when you look at these verses you’ll notice that God blesses the man with character. God blesses the man who demonstrates purity of life.
A. His purity
Look at verse 1. It says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.”
This verse is talking about this man’s purity. A blessed man is going to purge any evil influence from his life. He’s going to shun the counsel and companionship of unbelievers. That’s because he knows that those kinds of people are only going to lead him astray.
This does not mean that he shuns all contact with unbelievers. Of course not. There have been some in the history of the church that have sought to do that. They thought that it would be better to live as a monk, cloistered off from all contact with the world. This solitude, they thought, would make them happy. In this isolation they thought they would find God’s blessing.
This is not what these veres are talking about. This passage is talking about the confederacies we tend to make; its talking about the friends we make and the people with whom we connect on deep levels, whether it be for counsel, or advice, or for regular association.
Sure, there will be unbelieving people who we are acquainted with. Perhaps we may even call them friends to some level. But are they are confidants? Are they our regular associates? That’s the real question.
A blessed man does not get caught up in that kind of relationship. A blessed man knows that such people will rob you of your happiness and create an untold number of agonies.
I want you young people need to take this to heart. If you want to be blessed, you have to think about who your friends are. With whom are you walking? Who are your counselors? Who are the people you sit with and hang out with? Are they Christians? Or are they unbelievers?
If you are hanging out with sinners and scoffers and people who are not on fire for God, its going to drag you down. You get that from this passage. It has a downward feel to it. The guy is walking, then he’s standing, then he’s sitting. It’s like he’s getting caught up in the foolhardy life of an unbeliever.
There’s a saying that it’s hard to fly like an eagle when you are always hanging around with turkeys. That’s what this verse is saying: It’s hard to be godly when you are hanging around with people who are sinners don’t have any Christian inclinations.
A godly person knows the drag that unbelieving friends will have on his life. He knows that the blessed life is the pure life. And he’s going to seek purity by purging the impure influences from his life.
But the blessed man is not only known by his purity, he’s also known by his piety.
B. His piety
Look at verse 2. It says that the blessed man is going to “delight in the law of the Lord” and he’s going to “meditate on it day and night.”
Rather than hanging out with a bunch of buffoons, the blessed man is going to put God’s word at the center of his life. That’s his piety. His piety is shown by his love for God’s word. He loves it so much that studies it and reads it. He loves to talk about it and think about it. He’s got it on his playlist and when he pops his earbuds in. When he’s in the car driving to work he’s listening to sermons and scripture songs. He loves it so much that he orients his whole life around it.
More than that, he’s meditating on this word. Now this is the true mark of his piety. To meditate on God’s law day and night is to think about how that law applies. It means that all day long you are thinking about how the word of God should influence your decisions.
In other words, the blessed man is attempting to develop a wholistic Christian worldview. The bible isn’t just about how to be saved. It is a manual for everyday living.
So the blessed man is a pious man; a man who brings God’s law to bear on every area of life. He knows that the word of God applies to the political world and it should determine the way he should vote. He’s meditating on how it applies to occupation (his honesty, his work ethic, his respect to his coworkers). He’s meditating on how it applies to his education or his children’s education (it is governing what they study, who they study under, or maybe even where they study).
It governs his marriage, his conversations, his hobbies, everything! One man once said that the Bible is an expert in everything to which it speaks, and it speaks to everything. There is not one area of life that is not addressed by God’s law. And that is the real gauge of a pious man. His piety is revealed by his bringing that word to bear on his life.
So there you have it. That’s the description of a blessed man. If you want to be blessed, that’s the man you have to be. Those are the traits that you need to develop. God has laid out here the pathway to blessedness. You are given the inalienable right to pursue happiness, and here it is: Happiness is found in holiness. God’s blessing is given to the one who is pious and pure.
How exactly will you be blessed? That’s a good question. And that’s what the next part of this passage addresses. This Psalm not only tells you about the man who is blessed, but it tells you the manner of his blessing.
II. How is he blessed?
This passage tells us that your happiness will consist in prosperity.
A. His life is prosperous 
Look at the end of verse 3. It says, “In all he does, he prospers.” These are words that should be encouragement. How many people live their lives by the motto: “I can’t.” So many people have a pessimistic view of life. And perhaps rightfully so. If they are not living for God, life is going to be disappointment after disappointment.
But these words tell us that we should expect success. God is with us. His blessing rests upon us. All that we do will prosper. Start that business. Throw yourself into that job. We can get married believing that God will cause it to thrive.
And to reinforce this he uses the imagery of a tree planted by streams of water. The tree that he describes is a tree is flourishing in every way. We see that, when it comes time, it produces fruit. The fruit here is a testimony to its health and a symbol of its prosperity. Then there is the fact that its leaf does not wither. There’s no autumn or winter season here. The tree is full of life and is enriched in every possible way.
This is not to say that the blessed man is not going to have some difficulties. There’s going to be bumps all along the way. But overall, his life is going to prosper. When it comes to his economic status, he might not be a billionaire, but his hard work is going to pay off. God’s going to bless him for his diligence and for using his gifts for the advancement of God’s kingdom.
And this prosperity will influence every area of his life. It’s not just economic, but it’s emotional. He’s not going to have all the drama of life causing the roller coaster of emotional ups and downs. He’s going to abound in peace. His family and his relationships are going to be enriched. There’s going to be joy around his table each night and he’s going to be full of laughter.
Most of all it is going to be the prosperity of his soul that he experiences. God has planted him. God has entered into a relationship with him. God is allowing him to experience the sweetness of His Holy Spirit ministering to his heart. And he grows in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life matures in Christ and he experiences freedom from sin.
What greater prosperity could there be than that? His prosperity is not so much consist in riches as it does righteousness. And with that is where his happiness truly consists.
But you know what? The man who fears God is not just going to have a life that is prosperous, but it’s going to be perpetual as well.
B. His life is perpetual
Look at verses 4-6. These verses talk about the wicked man. And the main thing that characterizes the wicked man is death. In verse 4 he is likened to chaff that is driven away by the wind. The chaff is the dead, useless part of the crop. And when they are separating the grain from the chaff they throw it up in the air and the wind drives the chaff away.
That is the imagery used here. The wicked are like that chaff. God chases them away into hell so that they do not get to enjoy the blessings of life.
Verse 5 says that they are not going to stand in the day of judgment. Verse 6 says that the wicked will perish. Both of these verses point to the fact that he dies physically and spiritually.
What is said here is downright chilling. The wicked man faces God’s wrath and curse. He experiences the punishment due to him for his sins. And that punishment is death, both temporal, physical death and eternal, spiritual death.
But the implication is that the righteous man lives. The wicked man can’t stand in judgment because he is soaked with the guilt of his sin. But the righteous man has been acquitted. The blood of Jesus Christ has covered all his sins and he does not need to cower or feel ashamed. And because he has feared Christ, he’s given the gift of eternal life.
His life is not just prosperous, it is perpetual. It goes on for all eternity.
Now how does that sound? That’s a great blessing! God promises to bless, and the blessing that he gives is not scant in any respect. It is full and overflowing with the bountiful measures of divine proportions. And it is all bestowed on those who fear God and keep his commandments.
And this life only comes to the one who has turned to Christ and sought him to be his Lord and savior. If you are living in sin and are not seeking to follow Christ, then you will be driven away by the Lord. You are the wicked one who will find himself in hell. The call of this passage is to fear the Lord. Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. If you repent of your wicked ways, you will find the eternal felicity that is herein described.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.