A Truly Blessed Life: A Reflection on Psalm 1


Psalm 1

 

1 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.

3 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.


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4 The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

  

Love Letters from God

Reading the Psalms is like reading a love letter and getting a glimpse of God’s grace, which fills the heavens and the earth. Each psalm is a letter of love from God to his universe. Psalms 1 through 41 comprise the first book of the Psalms, and both Psalm 1 and Psalm 41 begin with the Hebrew word for “blessed.” [Altogether, the Book of Psalms contains 150 chapters and is divided into five books.] Psalm 1 is trying to say to us, “Beloved little ones, would you like to know how you can live a truly blessed life?”

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“Each psalm is a letter of love from God to his universe…Psalm 1 is trying to say to us, ‘Beloved little ones, would you like to know how you can live a truly blessed life?’

Let us look at these precious words.

Verse 1: What not to do if you want to live as a blessed person

Verse 2: The only way to be blessed

Verse 3: The beautiful condition of a blessed person

Verse 4: The end of the wicked

Verses 5-6: Judgment will show there are only two paths, for two kinds of people 

God says not to walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor to stand in the way of sinners, nor to sit in the seat of scoffers. These wonderful words are the life-giving breath of God. The “counsel,” the “way,” and the “seat” represent thought, action, and union in ever-deepening degrees. God says not to agree with the thoughts of the wicked, not to imitate their deeds, and not to unite with them. But we can hardly do this, unless we come to verse 2, which reads, “Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

This verse is so very sweet. If we rest our heads day and night on the pillow of God’s Word and study his law, our hearts will become sweet, our lives will be renewed, and we will become strong in our hearts to practice the wisdom of the first verse. We must be sensitive to the fact that, once the thoughts of the wicked invade our lives, we should not allow any opportunity for them to spread, but must drive them away immediately. Sin is a very serious problem that requires confession, sorrowful repentance, and contriteness of heart. Indeed! Once God’s Word has been internalized in our lives, only then does our moral life has the potential to become beautiful. When we delight in God, we become truly blessed and joyful people.

There is nothing sweeter than thinking about God’s Word day and night. Do not be afraid to live this life; it will be the happiest and most blessed life. We know for certain the result of this life: we will be kept like the evergreen tree in verse 3. We also know that, when judgment comes, God will graciously shield us so that we are not like chaff that the wind drives away. Although we deserve to be scattered, Christ has purchased us with his own life. We are now both treasured and honored.

What Matters Is Having Him

Even as I write, guns rumble in Ukraine and bullets shatter the ordinary lives of families and their hopes of eternal happiness. News of nuclear war begins to spread, and the government is even teaching citizens how to take iodine tablets. Violence and persecution continue to hurt brothers and sisters. Heartbreak and desolation occur in every corner of the world. Can our hearts still touch happiness? Yes! Indeed!

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“It does not matter where he puts us or what circumstances he puts us in: what matters is to have him. That is the only way to be blessed.

When we think about God’s Word day and night; when his Word is internalized into our lives (thus building our character); when God himself becomes our joy in its entirety, then we will smile. Because we know there is One who loves us so, so much, let us love him, too, and live for him. It does not matter where he puts us or what circumstances he puts us in: what matters is to have him. That is the only way to be blessed.

If you are in a house church in China; if you are in Kyiv, Ukraine; if you are in Afghanistan; if you are in Iran: I would like to be there with you, but I am not with you. That is why I admire you so much. You are writing a beautiful poem –more than I can write – so I envy you very much.

In the meantime, let us think together about the Word of God day and night, until our hearts become sweet. Let us think on his Word until we begin to smile happily, until we become strong in our hearts, until the day we see him again.

Wen Dao is a pseudonym for a Chinese Christian now living overseas. She was born in the 1970s, and in 2001, was rescued to faith in Christ amidst the desolation and ruin of life.

 

PRAYER

Lord,

You are our all in all. When you came, you brought us life, you brought us love, you changed us. Because you changed us and gave us new life, we became completely different people. Because of you, we became people with the oil of joy instead of sadness, and the garment of praise instead of the spirit of sorrow. How incredible this is! Lord, in this world there are wars, there are loved ones separated from each other, there are children who have lost their parents; there are viruses that have taken away our beloved ones, there are sins that break hearts. Lord, let these problems give people the opportunity to come to you. Let your Word come into this broken world. Let the brokenhearted be comforted by you, just as you have comforted us. Please let those who have lost loved ones have you, just as you have given us access to you. Please let children who have lost their parents have you, just as we who are children have you. Please let people know you, and please let those of us who know you be willing to suffer for you and to work with you, so that those who do not know you may know you.

I pray this in the name of Christ. Amen.

   


We are using the Psalms to guide our prayers for China

In 2022, our prayer movement is turning to the scriptural prayers found in the Psalms as we pray for the Chinese church. When you join our prayer movement, you will receive weekly prayer emails and a monthly newsletter so that you too can pray for our brothers and sisters in China.

  

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Further Reading

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Qingdao: How to Pray
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Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
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Qingdao: Good Soil for the Gospel
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

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Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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