Blessed is the man…(Psalm 1:1)

We are in the first week of the new year, a new beginning, a clean slate.  We all feel like we get to do a “do-over” at new year, hence the need to start with a few resolutions, like an exercise plan, a diet etc.  The desire is to start the new year off in a good way.  In a way that will bring blessing.

Psalm 1, is the opening Psalm of the book of Psalms and appropriately opens with “Blessed is the man…”  We all want to be blessed and this Psalm sets out the path to blessedness right from the start.

But first, what does it mean to be blessed?

The word “blessed” here is from the Hebrew word “esher” which refers to the idea of happiness or contentment. It is a plural word which can be rendered as “Blessings to the man.” It carries the idea that this person will be continually blessed.  The word “esher” comes from the root word “ashar” which means “to be straight” or “to be right.”

Which implies that the person who is blessed is straight or right with God.

The opening line of the Psalm sets forth the first choice for a man (who could be anyone, be they poor, forgotten, and obscure).  The second choice is also immediately implied as the Psalm continues to describe two ways of life.

The Lord contrasts the way of the wicked who walk, then stand and finally sit in the company of the wicked. Versus the righteous, who delight in the law (God’s ways) and meditate on scripture day and night.

  • Then the Lord describes the righteous: they are “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”
  • Then He describes the wicked, who are “like chaff,” destined for destruction.

It is clear right from this first verse in the book of Psalms that each man will need to make his own choice about how they will live their lives.  This choice is echoed in other parts of scripture:

Jeremiah 17:7Deut 30:19 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

Jeremiah 17:5-8 “This is what the Lord says:  ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

 ‘But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’”


In Matthew 7, even Jesus talks about two ways of life by comparing two gates, two trees and two houses and each one implies a choice. (Matt 7:13-14; 17-20; 24-27)

‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Each must make their own choice on how they will live

This is a Psalm about two ways of life and two results and destinies as a result of the choices we make.  In our day-to-day world in which we live, life gives us many ways of life, offering various choices on how to live and levels of satisfaction offered.  But in the bible there are only two choices.  Daniel describes it this way:

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)

Malachi describes it as “And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” (Malachi 3:18)

The Psalm goes on to describe that it is NOT a once off choice either, but a progression of choices made in life.  Notice how in verse one, the wicked, sinner, mocker progresses from walking, standing, sitting.  While the righteous choose daily to delight in the law and meditate on it day and night.

The choice is a daily, moment by moment choice.

Psalm 1:1It just goes to show that we do not just fall into the circumstances of blessedness or destruction we find ourselves in, we choose.  We choose to live a blessed life or not.  Each of us then, experiences the consequence of our choices in this life and in the next.  (Romans 14:11-12).

Don’t be deceived by the world, there are only two choices and the choices are mutually exclusive, there are no shades of grey options between the two.  Choose wisely in how you will live this next year.

Thank You Father that your instructions for life are quite simple, the way of destruction versus the way of life.  Thank you that you sent Jesus to die for our sins and so enable us to start a new life with you.  That we need only to confess you as Lord and believe in our hearts and we are made new to a brand new beginning in you.  Thank you for helping me in that first choice Lord.  Now help me to choose your way for my life everyday.  Help me to continually meditate on your word as I progress into life, help me to be attentive and obedient to the way that I am living in my life.

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