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The Blessed Conflict

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2

If you want to send a ripple in the pond of polite secular society, use the word blessed in a conversation. We often rub shoulders with people who have only two units of measure with which to evaluate their lives, luck and success. Each may extend into both positive and negative territory. However, the secular mind has no conversion table to get from either luck or success to blessedness.

The word blessed comes from the Hebrew word that literally means, “to walk straight on.”1 The idea conveyed is the enjoyment that comes from knowing you are on the right path – a path that was laid out for your benefit. This is different from the contemporary call to be on the right side of history. He is not being coerced into adopting a political or social agenda. He is not pompously parading before the grandstand of pop activism. There is no hint of pride or arrogance; on the contrary, it conveys the idea that he has been the object of a gracious directing providence. The blessed man’s path has been illumined by divine revelation.

The antithesis of the blessed man provides a stark contrast. In this other man, we observe an unmistakable evolution toward moral inertia. He moves from walking, to standing, to sitting. He starts out listening to and following the counsel of the wicked. Then he ‘progresses’ to standing in solidarity with other sinners. Finally, he ends up seated as an authority2 – a chief scoffer.

These two kinds of people represent a conflict that has been going on throughout history. It is a struggle of two opposing views of knowledge and authority – one that is God-centered, the other that is man-centered. We experience this battle in various aspects of our daily lives and often in subtle ways. However, it is most overtly seen in the centers of knowledge and power – education and politics. Both are increasingly given to scoffing at God’s law.

The Christian worldview is under attack because it poses a threat to the secular worldview. They coexist like light does with darkness. As light increases it dispels the darkness; darkness can only persist by quenching the light. In this great struggle, the Christian’s greatest weapon is the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:4) We want our opponents to know the truth and by it to be set free. (John 8:32) The world’s weapons are intimidation, threats, and deception – all with the intention of suppressing the truth. (Romans 1:18)

We believers can have confidence in this great struggle because we trust in the only one who perfectly epitomized the blessed man. He found his sole delight in the law of the Lord. He never listened to the counsel of the wicked. He never moved one inch down the path of moral inertia. He resisted the devil to the very end. He is the “blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” (1 Tim. 6:15) Jesus Christ has secured our blessedness. He is building his church and “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18) He calls his disciples to follow him and to be blessed in the following.

  1. Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies ↩︎
  2. The word seat often denote a position of authority such as a ruler or a judge. ↩︎