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Psalm 1: Blessed is Jesus, the Righteous Man


Psalm 1 is about a man. Not people in general, or even a person in general, but a man. A specific man. Although a few recent translations have attempted gender neutral language for this Psalm (either with a singular 'one' or a plural 'they'), the original specifically uses the word for a man. And yet the contrast is with the ungodly, the sinners, and the scornful in the plural. It's one man by himself on one side, versus all the ungodly on the other side.

And, not only can this one man stand over against all the ungodly, but he's also quite an impressive man. He delights constantly in God's law and 'whatever he does shall prosper.' While the wicked are blown away like the chaff, this one man stands firm and fruitful. The ungodly cannot stand before God's judgment, but this one man still stands and prospers. The ungodly perish, but this one man is righteous. 

Who could it be? Well, obviously I've given away the answer in the title to this post. But just think about it for a moment. Who is the only man who can stand righteous in Gods' judgment? Who is the only man who constantly delights in God's law? Who is the only man who always prospers in whatever he does? Who is the only man who can stand alone over against all the ungodly? Jesus Christ is the only man who fits the description of Psalm 1.

But if this Psalm is about Jesus, where do we fit in? Does that mean we can't turn to Psalm 1 any more for encouragement to meditate on God's Word?

The answer might not look immediately obvious here in the first Psalm, but we meet it in the next one. Psalm 1 tells us that this Man, Jesus Christ, is blessed. But Psalm 2 goes on to tell us that 'all those who put their trust in him' are blessed (Ps 2:12). We see this all the time in the New Testament: those who trust in Jesus are now 'in Christ' and so we're blessed 'in Christ.' Ephesians 1:3 makes it clear that we've been 'blessed ... with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.' So, if this Psalm tells us of how Christ is blessed, and the next Psalm (as well as the New Testament) tells us that those who trust in Christ are blessed in Him, then this Psalm speaks to us of the blessing we have in Christ. 

Yes, Christ Jesus is the only one who can in His own right stand and prosper as righteous in God's judgment. But 'in Him', we can stand clothed with Christ for righteousness. Yes, only Jesus has never walked in the counsel of the ungodly. But 'in Him', we have been 'created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them' (Eph. 2:10).

And in Him, not only can we turn away from the path of sinners, but we can turn to a new delight in God's Word. Through faith we've been united to the Man who is the living Word of God and He is the one who opens the Scriptures to us and meets us in them. In Christ, we come to the Bible not as an ancient book or even a book of wisdom, but as the voice of our Good Shepherd and the very words of eternal life. In Him we find joy and delight in meditating day and night on God's Word, because we recognise it as His loving voice. 

If we're in Him, we'll want to be like Him. After all, that's why we were chosen 'in Him' (Eph. 1:4; Rom. 8:29). So if this Psalm shows us how Christ is blessed, then it gives us a pattern of Christlikeness as a lamp to guide the way of all those who trust in Him too. 

Jesus is the Man. The true Man. The righteous Man. The Man who has stood for us in God's judgment, by taking our judgment upon Himself and making an end to it through His death and resurrection. And now He has invited us into true blessing in Him. 

A prayer from Psalm 1:

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus, the Righteous Man, who has stood in the judgment for us. Thank you that He has rescued us from the path of sinners, so that we aren't driven away to perish in the judgment. Thank you that we've been grafted into Him, the True Vine. Through Him, may we bring forth the fruit of Christlikeness and always delight in and meditate on Your Word. Let us look for blessing nowhere else than in Jesus, the Blessed Man who blesses all who trust in Him. Amen. 

If you want to meditate more on Psalm 1, it might help you to sing it. So here it is sung (from the NKJV), and here are the words pointed (i.e. with some markings to help you see how to sing them to the tune).