Sunday, January 30, 2011

Who is the Blessed Man? by Dudley Hall

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; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalms 1:1-3
     Who is that man? How stringent does one have to be to fit in these descriptions? Does only one misstep disqualify? Is the blessed man one who has never once heeded the counsel of a misguided friend or a mischievous huckster? Does his resumé have to be clear of ever standing for even a moment in the way of sinners? What if periodically he slips into scoffing about something that has confused him?

     And how much must he delight in the law of God? It mentions day and night. Does that mean all day and all night?  How much would be acceptable? And how deeply does he need to meditate? Can he just think it over or does he need to steep in hours of meditating over each word and thought?

     The holy prosperity that is promised to this blessed man -- is it withheld from anyone who does not perfectly fit the description?

     Sadly, we find ourselves longing for the condition described in the last verse. We would love to be like a tree planted by water, fruitful and well. But we still are not confident we can expect that because we aren't sure how well we have fulfilled the requirement.

     There is one man who has done it! He is not just an isolated man who happened to score perfectly. He is the representative man. He did it for a whole race of people who couldn't do it for themselves. He is the Son of Man as well as the Son of God. He actually lived up to these qualifications while on earth, facing the common temptations that haunt all of us. In fact, he is the only truly "blessed man" in all of history. Others may have experienced some good fortune, but only this man has the ultimate blessing of the Father spoken over him.

     Our hope is that we can be identified with him. We can, by faith, be transferred from the kingdom of disqualified mankind into the kingdom of God's dear Son. We are then blessed because of our relationship to him, not because of our success or failure to qualify.

     We are then able to taste the goodness of God and embark on a journey to know more of that goodness. We can choose to follow those descriptions of the blessed man. We find ourselves avoiding bad counsel and distracting friends because we are intent on experiencing more of the love we have tasted in being found in him. The delight of our heart then turns to the words and explanations of God to uncover more of the mysteries of the ultimate treasure. One day we look up to discover that we are acting like blessed people.

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