Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalms 1:1-3 KJV
If you could be whatever kind of a person you wanted to be, what would it be? Happy? Wealthy? Married? Wise? The Psalmist opens this portion of holy writ with the definition of a man that we all should desire to be. Although this person is described as a man, this pursuit and subsequent blessing is gender neutral.
A Psalms 1 man, by definition is:
1. Blessed (happy) 2. Planted (stable; unmoving) 3. Productive (fruitful) 4. Prosperous (advancing; progressing; succeeding)
The Psalm 1 Man is Intentional
When you see a Psalm 1 man, there are those that describe him as being lucky; born into the right family; a man for whom the stars aligned just right. Fewer things could be farther from the truth. The Psalm 1 man enjoys happiness, stability, productivity and success — because that man is intentional.
Intentional people are careful where they walk, where they sit, where they stand. They don’t just lend their ear to anyone. The man that is happy, planted, productive and prosperous is a man that listens to the right people; heeds the right instruction; seeks the proper, righteous counsel and influence.
The Psalm 1 Man is intentional. He doesn’t need to be opportunistic.
Blessed vs. Prosperous
The Psalmist starts with stating the man is blessed; he ends with saying the man will prosper. Isn’t that redundant? A surface rendering of this passage would leave the student wondering what is the difference between being blessed, and prospering? Often we equate the two as interchangeable. However, the psalmist is clearly delineating between the two.
To be blessed simply means to be happy!
To prosper (h6743) is defined as: to push forward, break out, come (mightily), go over, be meet, be profitable, to advance, make progress, succeed, be profitable
Although prosperity, as defined by Psalm 1, can include financial benefits, it is not restricted to that sphere, as such. Biblical prosperity is not just a promise of financial blessing... it is much more significant than that.
Although a Psalm 1 man can be wealthy, it is not wealth that identifies a man as being a Psalm 1 man.
The promise of prosperity to the Psalm 1 Man is an assurance that whatever he tackles (upon the admonition of righteous counsel), will be a success. He will push forward; advance; progress; be profitable; be successful! We all (would) enjoy monetary benefits — but we don’t have to look to far across the societal spectrum to witness the wealthy not prospering.
Job was just as prosperous when he had his children, business & wealth; as when he had lost it all.
Why? Because Job was a Psalm 1 man. He was sitting in an ash heap — but after a few days of unrighteous counsel, he couldn’t take it anymore. He began seeking God’s input. Job was intentional. Though God slay me, yet will I trust Him!
Prosperity had nothing to do with the size of Job’s 401k at that moment. Rather, it had everything to do with Job getting through the intensity of the present distress. You can be prosperous anywhere: even on an ash heap.
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 1:2 KJV
The Prosperity Gospel
The prosperity gospel, as it has become so aptly named, is a misappropriation of Biblical prosperity. The prosperity gospel teaches a false doctrine centred on the enriching of all of its adherents. You proclaim it, you can have it. When you hear prosperity preachers disseminate their message they proclaim things such as:
“Give me my car back!” || “Give me my wallet back!” || “Give me my money back!”
It is all a perversion of biblical principles intended to place prosperity (as the Bible defines it) within the grasp of every believer. Thousands of people lay hands on television sets; speak into their computers screens; repeat pep phrases, and still never ascertain the proclamation of their faith.
In the end, this kills more faith, dreams and vision than it helps. 12 months later they still don’t have their car, wallet or money back. The prosperity gospel pushers would have been the one’s ridiculing Job, while he scraped his oozing sores and mourned for his lost children.
Even when Job couldn’t find God, God was prospering him!
This says a lot about the condition of Job's soul.
Don’t Awaken the Wanderer
So you say that I can prosper anywhere? Yes and no. The psalmist did not pen this truth to awaken “the wanderer” in each of us. If I can prosper anywhere, then I will just quit my job and go across town and prosper? Or, I will move across the country and prosper? It’s irrelevant where I land — I come with a guarantee?
Not really. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The psalmist is penning the following reality — seek Godly counsel; stay planted; produce; prosper. Your tree can prosper if it remains rooted by the brook it is planted near.
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 KJV
According to Jeremiah, the man that trusteth and hopeth in the Lord is also compared to a tree. That tree doesn’t read the forecasting of the farmer’s almanac in an attempt to foretell the arrival of the summer heat. It has a hidden, secure, non-interrupted water supply. Drought can’t afflict her; heat won’t devour her. She is constantly prospering; producing; giving fruit.
Her leaf does not reflect the atmospheric conditions around her; rather, it reveals the sustaining source to which she is rooted.
Many think, if I could get the right job, right ministry, right country, right position, right break — I could prosper. Unless you adjust “who you are” and “what you do” — anywhere you go, is doomed to repeat your past failure. People have tried to move across the country, to outrun their problems. Location doesn’t alter prosperity (or the lack thereof).
So the Psalm 1 Man doesn't wander. Yet, wherever this man goes and whatever he does, prospers. Think about this, folks! Wherever a Psalm 1 Man is placed, he will prosper. What a deal!
The Lord Prospered Joseph
And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. 2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. Genesis 39:1-4 KJV
While Joseph was in Egypt — separated from family, faith and community — he attracted the prosperity of God. If Joseph would have had his rathers, I am sure he would have preferred to be in the homeland. Yet, there was something about Joseph's behaviour that God could prosper. He met the criteria: he walked right; stood right; sat right.
Potiphar noticed it. He noticed that the Lord made all that Joseph did prosper. I don’t just want to prosper — I want those around me to recognize that it is the LORD that is making me prosper.
Later, when imprisoned for a false accusation, once again God prospered Joseph. (Gen. 39:20-23) Location does not challenge a Psalm 1 Man. He can prosper anywhere.
When “you” are prospered, "you" can prosper in foreign lands and captive situations.
God Prospered Nehemiah
But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king? 20 Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem. Nehemiah 2:19-20 KJV
It doesn’t matter the present state of disrepair your life may be in, God can PROSPER it. A Psalm 1 man can be placed in any situation, and God will prosper him. Broken walls? Not a problem. No gates? Not a problem. Adversaries? Not a problem.
Get an attitude like Nehemiah had. Come back in a few weeks, Sanballat and Tobiah, and you are going to see progress. We are going to SUCCEED at this. We are going to GET THROUGH this. We will prevail. We will build this wall, if we have to put a trowel in one hand, and a weapon in the other. God will prosper us.
Child of God, be encouraged today. Walk, sit and stand in godly counsel. Avoid ungodly influences. Be a Psalm 1 Man. And you will be...