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Fresh Water: Streams of Scripture in Psalm 1

Fresh Water: Streams of Scripture in Psalm 1

Fresh Water: Streams of Scripture in Psalm 1.

“Blessed is ‘the man’… He is like a tree planted by streams of water…” (Psalm 1:3).

Psalm 1 is written in the wisdom tradition of Scripture, and is intended to introduce the Psalter by teaching us the difference between the wise and the foolish, the blessed and the wicked. The psalm starts with a beatitude and uses the picture of a healthy tree to describe the blessed person. What could be a better image drawn than the blessed person as one with deep roots in Scripture, intentionally planted by the Lord in an ideal place, consistently productive and fruitful? Nothing communicates blessedness better than a flourishing tree nestled onto the banks of a flowing river.

To Be Blessed: to enjoy God’s favor; to experience delight in God’s blessing; to be fully satisfied and content in the Lord; to know with confidence that God is active in your life. Those who are blessed are most fortunate, to be envied. When one is blessed, it is time to celebrate one’s lot in life, time to humbly receive a hearty congratulations because of the blessings received from the hand of God.

“How blessed are those who reject the advice of the wicked, who don’t stand in the path where sinners tread, or sit in company with scoffers, mockers, and cynics! The blessed ones are they who thrill to God’s Word, delighting in the instructions of the Lord; who think deeply about Scripture day and night, meditating, murmuring, and musing on God’s inspired teaching. The blessed person will be like a tree planted by God’s design and purpose, planted by streams of living water, the tree yielding its fruit in due season, its leaf always in blossom, never withering. Whatever this blessed person does will prosper, everything will succeed. But it will not be so for the wicked. All they are is dust in the wind – blown away to destruction. The wicked will not endure the day of judgment, for God will not defend them. They will not stand up in court, for they have no part with those who walk in truth. But how different it is for the righteous! The Lord intimately knows the way of the righteous, He charts the road they take as they move forward, while the way of the wicked is lost, it leads to doom and destruction.” (Psalm 1; this is a paraphrase based on many translations of this Psalm in Scripture).

A Final Word about Psalm 1Early church theologians declared this psalm to be messianic. The original Hebrew begins the psalm with, “Blessed is the man...” The underlying Hebrew word for “man” is gender specific, it is referring to a particular man, not just any man. This focus on the masculine here is not to be offensive to women. Early scholars believed that the “man” referred to in Psalm 1 is Jesus Christ. Jesus is “the man.” He is the blessed person of God who indeed delighted in Scripture, meditating day and night on it; who is like that productive tree planted by the Lord in the well-irrigated waters of the Torah; whose plan of salvation was ultimately successful. Jesus is “the man,” Wisdom itself. And all who follow in His footsteps will enjoy the same blessedness as Jesus.

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