The path to a future blessing

Dale McCamish - Contributing columnist

Psalm 1 instructs us how to apply and read the book of Psalm. More importantly, Psalm 1 teaches us to live a lifestyle that pleases God.

Follow along with these articles over the next four weeks by memorizing Psalm 1 verses one through six. In today’s article, we will just focus on verse one and verse three.

In the first three verses, Psalm 1 teaches us to avoid the evil way and pursue God’s way for a future blessing. “Blessed is the person who…” (Psalm 1:1).

The word “blessed” means “an increase in joy and peacefulness.” When we bless someone, we ask God to bring good things into their lives.

But in verse 1, we find the less common Hebrew word for blessed, which points to a future blessing based on the present relationship with God.

Think about it this way — when God disciplines someone (and God only disciplines someone He loves), the person undergoing discipline doesn’t feel an increase in joy, but later on, the “painful” experience produces virtue and peace if that person learns from the situation (Hebrews 12:11). The blessing occurs after the discipline.

Every healthy parent and child relationship works this way. We know and experience this future blessing in all walks of life, but we don’t like it. I too often choose instant gratification over a more satisfying reward if I just wait and delay my pleasure.

Accomplished athletes recognize the benefits and rewards only come after a time of painful training. God’s ways of future blessing teach us maturity.

Jesus uses the Greek equivalent word for blessed in the Beatitudes. “Blessed are the poor in spirit…. Blessed are those who mourn…. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness….”

These poor, sad, and hungry people are not experiencing joy and peace in their present condition, but if they learn to trust Jesus as their Savior, He promises a future joy, comfort, relief, and even the Kingdom of Heaven built on Him.

The poetic metaphor of the tree in verse three clues us in on this way of future blessing: the tree “yields its fruit in season”—just as the blessings from God arrive in His perfect timing. Psalm 1 helps our prayer become, “God help me to walk in Your ways, and trust that You will provide an increase in joy and peace in Your perfect timing.”

This week, meditate on this principle: God often places a gap of time between our righteous living and the blessing. Go back and reread that principle, again.

Write it down in your Bible next to the word blessed in verse 1. Meditating on this doctrine will help move you toward spiritual maturity, especially when you feel like God is answering your prayers too slowly.

The prophet Isaiah might have said it best, “Yet I AM longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For I AM is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” (30:18).

Jesus received His blessing and reward from God in this same way. Jesus never sinned even though He endured every type of emotion and every type of temptation we experience.

Jesus suffered feelings of abandonment and feelings of not having His prayers answered immediately, yet God never abandoned Him, and Jesus later received His reward, “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name…” (Philippians 2:9).

As we face troubles, let’s remind ourselves of Psalm 1:3. Or if we face trials and feel like God has abandoned us, let’s remind ourselves of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

We find the answers to our prayers and our desire for relief from our troubles in the faithfulness of our God. The good things, the resurrection, the blessings always arrive on His perfect timing.

Dale McCamish is Pastor at the Wilmington Church of Christ.

This weekly column is provided to the News Journal on a monthly rotation basis by members of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association.

Dale McCamish

Contributing columnist