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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Parnell

Our Refuge in God the Word (Psalm 1:1-2)

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. —Psalm 1:1-2

The text is simple: the blessed man doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked. On the contrary, the blessed man meditates on the law of the LORD day and night.

Going Deeper

We would short-circuit the point here if we only walk away saying, “I want to be a blessed man so I should read the Bible a lot.” As sensible as that reasoning is, we must go deeper to be true to this psalm.

Meditating on the law (or instruction) of the LORD day and night is said somewhere else. Moses commissioned this sort of meditation to Joshua when he became the new leader of Israel (Joshua 1:8). The head of God’s people will be characterized by a delight and understanding of the Word.

Going a little further back, one of the stipulations for Israel’s kings in Deuteronomy 17:18-19 is that he be a man of the Word—reading it all the days of his life.

The theme of Scripture leading to Psalm 1 suggests the King of Israel as the preeminent model of meditating and delighting upon the Word. Now does the Book of Psalms have anything to say about kings? And if it does, would that tip the scales to make us read Psalm 1 as if it were fundamentally about someone else other than us?

Yes to Both

Yes: the Psalms have quite a lot to say about the King.

Psalm 2 moves right into this powerful depiction of the LORD’s anointed who is both King and Son (Psalm 2:6-7). This theme resounds throughout the entire book as we see over and over God’s kingdom whose dominion will have no borders, and whose leader will be a hoped for Son of David.

Yes: this psalm is fundamentally about someone else, not me.

The lack of a superscript between Psalms 1 and 2 lead us to see a strategic unity (as well as similar language such as the repetition of “sit”). The blessed man in Psalm 1 is the King of Psalm 2. The King to come and reign over everything will be a virtuous King who meditates on the Word and fulfills all of Israel’s laws concerning the character of kings (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).

Psalm 1 Is About Jesus

I think Psalm 1 is about the Messiah Jesus. He is the perfect blessed man and if we’re to be blessed, it can’t happen apart from him. The way to be a blessed man is to take refuge in the Blessed Man (Psalm 1:1; 2:12). Our blessedness does not ultimately come from moral refinement, it comes from being united to the One who bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might be dead to sin and alive to God.

We ourselves are moved to meditate on the Word of God when we know the man who is God the Word.


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