The Exceedingly Happy Man – 1

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Scripture References: Psalm 1

Numerous scholars of the Old Testament believe Psalm 1 is the epitome of all the psalms. These six stanzas set the tone for all 150 psalms and present an overview and introduction to the psalms and to the psalmist.

For instance, this initial psalm states there are only two kinds of people – godly and ungodly, wise and foolish. This truth is a given. You are either with God or against Him. This calls to mind the observation of Jesus: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” – Matthew 12:30. That contrast and representation continues throughout the entire book.

The Book of Psalms is a portion of what is called Wisdom Literature. Wisdom Literature contains practical counsel God has given to help us in our everyday lives. Throughout Psalms there is the contrast between the wise man and the foolish. Understand however that the opposite of wisdom is not ignorance. The situation is not as though here is a person who has knowledge, and here is one without—like educated and uneducated. The opposite of wise is not ignorant, it is foolish. A foolish person may be highly intelligent and educated. He may have worldly wisdom but still be a fool. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’ ” Psalm 14:1 tells us. The person who does not have time for God in his life is a fool, according to the Book of Psalms. “The fool” has chosen the empty, vain, meaningless things, but the person in Christ, the wise man, has selected full, adequate, and meaningful things. That is the premise upon which Psalms approaches our lives.

In this psalm we have an accurate portrait of the truly happy man. “Blessed is the man” is an exclamation which specifically means, “O, how happy the man!” There is a tremendous intensity about it. The order of the Hebrew language in the sentence emphasizes the happiness. “O, how exceedingly happy is the man who does these things!”

I personally can’t ever remember meeting a person who wanted to be unhappy. I know many unhappy people, but they dislike their unhappiness. Jesus summed it up, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10. God wants us to be happy, fulfilled, blessed. It is amazing that what I desire the most in my heart, God wants me to experience. God is not a cosmic killjoy, not scheming how to make our lives miserable. He wants us to have whatever is good for us; satisfaction, meaning, and purpose in life.

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I. The Character of the Happy Man

In these first three verses, the “blessed” man is described, and the last three contrast the blessed man with the “ungodly,” or, the unhappy man. There is also the other side of the coin. Here is the happy man versus the unhappy man, the godly man versus the ungodly man, the wise man versus the foolish man.

Verse 1 treats the conduct of this man. “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” The blessed person understands the importance of certain negatives in his life. So-called “positive thinking” goes only so far. If you want to be truly happy, you must “accentuate the” negative, not merely the positive. A wise person recognizes the significance of not doing certain things.

When I speak of “man” I am not thinking in terms of gender. Even in the Hebrew, man means mankind, humankind. Many times, in order to be happy, people think, do, or say things that are actually counterproductive and end up keeping themselves from being happy.

Here the psalmist emphasizes three negatives. First, the happy person is one who does not walk “in the counsel of the ungodly.” He will not expose himself to the attitudes and ideas of “the ungodly.” The word “ungodly” here is a general term in Hebrew denoting those who have no place for God in their lives. They are not necessarily “wicked” in the sense of gross sin, but they have no regard for God. The godly man cannot spend considerable time with those out of touch with God, except for discreet, Spirit-led witnessing.

The word “ungodly” emanates from a root meaning “unrest.” The ungodly person has a profound restlessness in his soul. Deeply disturbed, he frantically scrambles for peace and satisfaction. The genuinely happy person does not seek advice and counsel from people outside of God. Imagine how many Christians allow unhappy people to tell them how to be happy!

To Be Continued

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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