"Blessed Is the Man . . ."

May 2, 2011

Yesterday, I had the privilege of teaching Sunday school and preaching a morning service. Both messages were titled, “God Wants You to Be Blessed.” In Sunday school, I taught from Psalm 1 and various other passages. In the morning service, I preached on Psalm 1-2 as a unit, with an emphasis on Psalm 2.

Based in part on some feedback that I received yesterday, I believe that many believers may need further instruction about what a person’s being blessed means at its essence. From an examination of a number of passages, it is clear that being blessed does not fundamentally mean to be happy in the sense of feeling happy.

1. Psalm 94 compared with Hebrews 12

“Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked” (Ps. 94:12-13).

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12:11).

Psalm 94 teaches that a man who is chastened by the Lord is blessed. Hebrews 12 says that no chastening seems joyous when it is taking place. Putting the teaching of these two statements together shows that the core idea of being blessed is not a person’s feeling happy.

2. Beatitudes

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. . . . Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matt. 5:4; 10-11).

A person who is mourning is not a happy person. People may be joyful in the midst of being persecuted or being reviled, but such joyfulness signifies something deeper than just feeling happy.

3. Revelation 22

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (22:14).

This verse shows that the people who will be ultimately blessed will be people who are given special privileges by God. Although such people will undoubtedly be happy, their feeling happy is not the main point of the statement.

What then is the core idea of the concept of being blessed? The Topical Index at the front of The New Open Bible: Study Edition provides an excellent, brief explanation: “Blessed—the objects of God’s favors” (80). At its essence, being blessed signifies a person or object that God has favored in some special manner.

Rajesh

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