By Vance Drum
The Sunset pastor had another birthday last week. (If you keep on living, they keep on coming.) We all had cake, and good fellowship, enjoying God’s good gift of life.
The Sunday message, “The Life God Blesses,” was from Psalm 1:1-6: “Blessed is the man…. Whatever he does prospers.”
Recently I’ve been doing some reflection on what makes for a blessed and prosperous life.
The pastor made three points: (1) The Blessed Man; (2) His Work Prospers; (3) Live or Perish.
(1) The Blessed Man. Who in this world is blessed? The psalmist said, “Blessed is the man.” He uses “man” generically, meaning “person.” “Blessed” means happy. The blessed man avoids some things, and does other things.
(a) V1: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.”
The progression here is from walking, standing, and sitting. The devil gives us a little hook at first. We’re not sitting down with him; we’re just walking along the road, perhaps in a crowd, and the devil’s in the crowd. But then we stop to talk—as a confidant—with the wicked man. We stand with him. Finally, when the devil’s got us, we’re sitting at his mocking table.
In a similar way, there may be a progression of who we converse with. First we’re in unguarded conversation with the wicked and the sinners, and then we find ourselves sitting in the seat of mockers. These scoffers hate God and God’s people. When you see scoffers—and they’re all around—they are not your close confidant friends if you’re blessed.
(b) Instead, “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” The blessed man knows who butters his bread, who is his Provider, and he seeks God’s guidance and wisdom for his life.
The blessed man meditates on God’s word, and is nourished by it, as (v3) “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
When I was 21 years old, I reached a fork in the road of my life. I had finished attending a church-related junior college in Florida, and I enrolled in Murray State University in Kentucky. I remember when I did that I had a thought: “Well, now, you’re out of your church school environment, and, in this state university, it’s do or die,” spiritually speaking.
I decided to pursue a path of living under whatever blessing God would bring me, so I found a church and joined it. It was a good church, I found Christian friends there, including university students. God blessed me.
(2) His Work Prospers. V3: “Whatever he does prospers.” Prosperity means that we are doing what God intended for us to do in life. We’re in the center of His will. I prospered as a state university student. I didn’t have any money, but the Lord prospered me in other ways. I was growing in faith in my new environment.
A fruit tree planted by streams of water is doing what it was made to do—it produces its fruit in season. So the blessed man, feeding on God’s word, will prosper under the care of the Almighty.
The fruit tree’s leaf does not wither, and the one who delights in God’s word will not dry up on the vine, but will be blessed to bear fruit. Material prosperity may or may not be part of the package, depending much on circumstances.
(3) Live or Perish. V4: “Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away…For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” The wicked are unstable They blow away as chaff, empty, not fruit-bearing, but perishing. But the Lord blesses for righteous.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.” [Psalm 111:10]
May the Lord grant you good wisdom by honoring Him this week—our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.