Psalm 1

(Scripture is from the ESV unless otherwise indicated)

Does God approve of the lives we're leading? Hard question, right? We'd like to think He does. After all, living lives that please Him is the primary purpose of our lives.

Fortunately, God doesn't keep us in the dark about what pleases Him. Here in Psalm 1, we find a specific example of how we can please God in our lives. And, we uncover the benefits of leading a pleasing life.

Read verses 1-2.

Blessed -
You'll often find the suggestion that the word "blessed" could just as easily be translated "happy." But I'm not comfortable with that and here's why.

When used in this context, the concept of "blessed" indicates a statement of action, an action of God. "Happy," on the other hand, describes an emotional state. There is a huge difference in, on the one hand, the beneficial action of God on my behalf and, on the other hand, an emotional state that I feel that I'm in.

I think it is a real problem to try to explain that it is God making us happy. We're then faced with the issue of describing it as a happiness that is not the emotional state, but a special state that only God can give. I'm not denying that God could do that, but I don't think it fits. God knows that we're not always in a state of happiness. He knows we have tears in this world and one day He will wipe them all away.

Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, uses the same type of construction. In that case, some of those situations don't result in an emotional state of "happy." For example, the poor in spirit aren't necessarily very happy about it. But, in a statement of action, Jesus says they are blessed. So what does "blessed" mean?

Here's an idea. It is based on other translations of the Hebrew word "barak" which here is "blessed" and the implied action of God. Barak is also translated as "praise" or "salute." Since the idea of being blessed requires that someone else is doing the blessing, what if we substitute the word "saluted?" The thought then becomes "God salutes the man..."

Think about that for a moment. God himself takes special notice of those who meet the criteria spelled out here. God regards those people very highly. God salutes those people. Incredible! God takes personal notice of and highly regards those individuals.

Now I think I'm beginning to understand the idea of "blessed" and it is so much more than simply being happy!

(to be continued)

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