"Blessed," a Study

 

     Many are familiar with the blessings pronounced in Jesusí Sermon on the Mount. We refer to them as the beatitudes (Matt. 5: 3-12). These pronouncements of blessedness are very important in that we learn those whom God blesses and we can, then, endeavor to make sure we are of the type to enjoy the blessings of God. Another section of the Bible that is famous for the pronounced blessings is the collection we call Psalms. When carefully studied, it is apparent that while this collection was written and compiled under the Law of Moses, the Psalms contain many truths and teachings that transcend that system and are certainly applicable in principle today.

     The Hebrew word commonly translated "blessed" means, "To walk straight on: The word that signifies to go, signifies also to be happy or blessed, because our way or motion showeth what our end or rest shall be; our happiness in the end lieth virtually in our way" (Old Testament Word Studies, by Wilson, p. 41).

     The man is pronounced as "blessed" whose sins are covered. The terribleness of sin is stated many times in the Bible (cp. Isa. 59: 2). Consider the germane statement in Psalms:

     "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Ps. 32: 1).

     One coming to God obtains forgiveness when scripturally baptized (Acts 2: 38). The Christian who sins secures forgiveness through prayer, the acknowledgement of sin, and walking in the light (I John 1: 7ff.). To be cleansed of all our sins is indeed a blessing and such a one is thus pronounced as "blessed."

     The one who is without guile is said to be "blessed." "Guile" is deceit and is often indicative of a certain personality type whom the Lord does not bless. Notice Davidís declaration:

     "Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile" (Ps. 32: 2).

     God desires man to be straightforward and honest in all his dealings, especially with God (cp. Rom. 12: 17). To mislead others is to not only do a matter that can result in their harm, but such mocks and makes light of them. Deceit can also be self-deceit, one of the worse forms. Albert Barnes makes this observation relative to the "guile" of Psalms 32: 2:

     "Who are sincere and true. That is, who are not hypocrites; who are conscious of no desire to cover up or to conceal their offences; who make a frank and full confession to God, imploring pardonÖ.The idea is not who are innocent, or without guilt, but who are sincere, frank, and honest in making confession of their sins, who keep nothing back when they go before God" (Barnes on the Old Testament, Vol. 1, p. 272).

     Those in Godís house are in a state of "blessedness." We must remember that it is God who has been offended or sinned against and it is he who sets forth the terms of reconciliation (cp. 2 Cor. 5). Regarding the location of blessing observed in the Psalms, consider the following:

     "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee" (Ps. 84: 4).

     God made arrangement under the Law of Moses for his people to congregate to worship him. David later wrote, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD" (Ps. 122: 1). In the New Testament, we clearly read about Jesusí church and membership therein (Matt. 16: 18, Heb. 10: 25). One is added by the Lord to his church universal and then one identifies with a faithful local church (Acts 2: 47, KJV., Acts 9: 26). Those "in Christ" have all spiritual blessings and redemption (Eph. 1: 3, 7).

     Those are especially "blessed" whose strength is derived from God. Man needs external strength to help when all else fails. The strength that comes from God is the ultimate. The Psalms state:

     "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them" (Ps. 84: 5).

     God can provide the ability to continue when all others appear to have forsaken us and when things seem to go terribly wrong. God offers stability, guidance, and the confidence that we so urgently need (Jas. 1: 17, Ps. 119: 105; Gal. 6: 4, 2 Tim. 1: 12).

     Blessed is the man who is selective and avoids the company of the ungodly. The company that one keeps can be very telling and also very degrading. Consider one of the first statements in Psalms:

     "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" (Ps. 1: 1).

     The New Testament teaches that such company can corrupt and lead us astray (I Cor. 15: 33). The commandment of God is to "come out" from among them and not allow them to thus influence us (2 Cor. 6: 17).

     One is "blessed" who has the right attitude toward Godís commandments. I personally have never seen a day in which so many flagrantly disregard and treat with contempt Godís commandments and directives. Notwithstanding, the Psalms say:

     "Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments" (Ps. 112: 1).

     The Palms are replete with teaching after teaching pertaining to how we are to view Godís teaching. Psalm 119 is almost saturated with emphasis placed on Godís instructions. "I will delight myself in thy statutes," we read, "I will not forget thy word" (v. 16, see vs. 17, 24, 70, 77). The emphasis observed in the New Testament is not comparatively diminished (see I John 5: 3).

     The circumstance of "blessed" is observed in oneís proximity to righteousness. Righteousness, as we are here considering, is simply submission to Godís will and teaching (cp. Ps. 119: 172). With this understood, observe the message of the Psalms:

     "Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times" (Ps. 106: 3).

     Many in their efforts to minimize manís obedience, have eliminated the very climate in which Godís grace is extended to man. I have reference to the circumstance of righteousness (Rom. 5: 21). Righteousness is something man "does," not something arbitrarily and directly given by God with no respect to man. Godís grace is universally available, but we must realize that Godís grace can be received in vain (2 Cor. 6: 1). Godís grace is not passive, but requires certain things of those who receive it (Tit. 2: 11-14).

     Chastisement is associated with being "blessed." We Americans have come to love an easy, soft, and without difficulty life. However, such a life seldom results in and encourages strength and moral fortitude. Thus, we have many weaklings today, turning to drugs and self-denial. Regarding all of this we read:

     "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law" (Ps. 94: 12).

     Godís chastisement can and often does involve various things. The word is a primary source, assuming there is honest study and relevant preaching (cp. 2 Tim. 4: 2-5). Experiencing the consequences of our sins can be a punitive ordeal (Num. 32: 23, Prov. 13: 15). God is active in the affairs of his children and nurtures and disciplines us for our own good (Heb. 12: 5-11). In fact, the presence of such discipline is proof of Godís love, a matter hard for many in our present culture to grasp (Heb. 12: 6, 8).

     In these pronouncements of blessedness, we have seen the statements and the conditions in which these blessings are given, both the negative and positive circumstances. Freedom of the guilt of sin; lack of deception; dwelling in Godís house; those whose strength comes from God; avoidance of ungodly company; delighting in Godís commandments; consistently doing righteousness; and Godís chastisement.