God’s Happy Man

Lloyd Cain, Halifax, N.S.

Psalm 1 can be aptly entitled "God’s Happy Man" for the first verse is literally "O the happinesses of the man…" The two parts of the song are easily seen. The first part shows us the desires and development of the man of God and the last part shows the dangers and destiny of the man of the world. We would like to divide the psalm as follows:

The Man that is Blessed by God (vv. 1-3)

Can we notice first the path that is enjoined of the happy man? It is a path of separation. The godly man is separated from the counsel of the world. He does not bend his ear to its philosophy, its psychology, nor its principles. His counselors are revealed in Psalm 119:24 in the words, "Thy testimonies are my delight and the man of my counsel." "What saith the Scriptures?" is the language of his heart. He is also separated from the world’s conduct for he does not stand in the way of sinners. He has learned that "evil communications corrupt good manners" and therefore knows that the only safe way is the separated way.

He is not without companions but has separated himself from the companionship of the world and he does not sit in the seat of the scornful. Notice now the pursuit that he enjoys for we are here given the secret of spiritual prosperity and growth in the life of the believer. "His delight is in the Law of the Lord." His time in the Word is not a duty - it is a delight! He is propelled by his desires as he feeds his soul in the green pastures of the Scriptures.

His meditation is pictured in the clean animals of the Old Covenant where the two requirements for being clean were the divided hoof, which pictured the separated walk, and the chewing of the cud. This last typifies the meditation on the Word. His delight is also a discipline for he meditates day and night. There are no lapses and no inconsistencies in his time with God and His Word. He has a systematic approach to his time in the Holy Book of God. After his disciplined, desire-driven reading, he turns the passage over and over in his mind for the day.

Third, we see the picture that is employed. If the satisfaction in the Word has given the spiritual energy for separation from the world and its ways, then it also gives the strength .of stability by the waters. "He shall be like a tree transplanted..." Both the plant and the place were chosen, and both were with a view to fruitfulness. There is no danger of withering. His fruitfulness is not sporadic. There is no danger from the inevitable winds for he is firmly rooted in the well-watered soil of the Scriptures. He will not be carried about by every wind of doctrine for he knows the doctrine and has developed a spiritual sense of what is right and wrong.

Finally we see the prosperity that is experienced for "whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." He is not lacking and he is not lazy. He not only ponders the Scriptures but he practices them. The whole picture given is one of health and happiness and helpfulness in the things of God.

The Man that is bereft of his God (vv. 4-6)

If the first part of the psalm is a picture of progress and spiritual prosperity, the second part is one of perils and spiritual penury. If the picture employed for the blessed man is the fruitful tree planted by the rivers, then the picture of the wayward is that of "the chaff which the wind driveth away." It is empty - deficient of food, devoid of weight and deemed to be worthless. Notice the peril of the winds. There can be no stability for there is no root system to hold it from being taken away. The winds of affliction will dislodge that which is not grounded. Likewise the winds of false doctrine will drive about that which is not rooted in the Word. Finally, we see the prospect of the wicked. They will not have a standing in the judgment and will have no participation in the congregation of the righteous. The way of the wicked shall perish. Those who were driven by the winds in their lifetime are lost in the waves of judgment for eternity. How great is the tragedy of the lost! How great is the blessing of the redeemed for time and for eternity!