It is easy to add #blessed to your social media posts, but as we dig into Psalm 1, it becomes clear that we often misunderstand what this word means regarding our faith. When we link today’s understanding of blessings and prosperity, it is easy to think it means “living the good life.” However, the Bible makes it clear that neither the word “blessed” nor the word “prosper” are directly reflective of only material goods.
Rather, Biblical prosperity is more properly connected to our relationship with God. Once we understand our great need for God, we are well on our way to understanding that real prosperity means drawing closer to Him. We get our nourishment, support, sustenance, grace, love, nurture, life, wisdom, health, protection, hope, and every other good and perfect gift directly from the Lord. If you want to prosper in your relationship with Christ, David explains the contrast between those who are blessed and those who are cursed in Psalm 1.
The Contrast of the Godly and the Wicked
The psalm clearly contrasts the godly and the wicked. Upon reading the psalm, we should be pressed to live as the godly rather than the ungodly. David illuminates this difference. Verses 1 – 3 describe the one who is blessed; whereas, verses 4-6 describe what separates the righteous from the wicked. Ultimately, the one who is blessed will prosper and will be watched over by the Lord while the wicked will meet an unpleasant end.
If you want prosperity, you must…
Be Directed by the Word
David begins his contrast in the first verse of the psalm by pointing out the one blessed by what he chooses not to do. He does not “walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers (Psalm 1:1).” It’s a clear progression. In other words, blessed is the one who is directed by the law of God. The righteous man chooses to read the Word, and more importantly, do what it says! This man prays for direction, and seeks Biblical counsel rather than falling in line with the popular culture or the ways of the world. He does not seek counsel from the ungodly or follow their direction; instead, he seeks counsel from the Word and godly people who always point back to God’s Word.
Be Delighted by the Word
In verse 2, David continues describing the one who is blessed as someone “whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” The righteous do not simply read God’s word; they delight in it. They read it, think upon it, and use it to guide their thoughts and actions.
Be a Blessing
In verse 3, David writes, “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” The person who does not do as the wicked, but who instead delights in reading and living God’s word will prosper. When one delights in God’s word, he draws closer to the Lord. That man begins to see as God sees; then, he does as God says. This spiritual growth allows nourishment from the life giver Himself. The comparison is clear as David describes the righteous man as one who is like a tree planted by streams of water. Those who dwell in the Lord will bear fruit.
How You Will Be Blessed
Once again, it is easy to believe that “bearing fruit” does not necessarily mean you will simply acquire things or that life will be wonderful. This is not necessarily the case. Instead, when we read about the tree bearing fruit and leaves that do not wither, David is showing us the righteous man has been given abundant life, which is worth far more than silver or gold. Whereas other trees and plants will wither, the tree that is planted by “streams of water” will prosper. The person’s life will show the fruit and results of the chosen path. The righteous individual grows in maturity and displays the “fruit of the Spirit.” This is the fruit of blessing. Additionally, as followers of Jesus, we recognize even in times of adversity, God can, does, and will use us (and our circumstances) for our good (Romans 8:28-29).
What Happens to the Wicked
David concludes Psalm 1 by emphasizing the contrast between the righteous and the wicked. He writes:
“Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.” – Psalm 1:4-6
Unlike the righteous who are compared to strong trees by streams of water full of fruit and life, the wicked are easily blown like the chaff off a roasted peanut skin. They do not stand amongst the righteous and are on a path towards destruction. Much like we read in Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death,” this Psalm reminds us that life, and “life more abundantly (John 10:10),” is only found through Jesus Christ. If we want to prosper in this life and spend eternity in Heaven, we must repent of our sin, place our trust in Jesus alone, and seek to be directed by and delight in God’s Word.
Ultimately, we must come to understand that we can’t nourish ourselves or support ourselves. We must be rooted in Christ, drawing upon His spiritual power.