Abraham Kuyper

Definitely Blessed

PSALM 1

1 That man is blessed who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Isn’t it wonderfully profound that our Psalm collection dares to begin with a sinful, lost, no-account man who is struggling in misery, dying in his distress, and mouthing one complaint after the other, but who is still blessed? No, blissful! Even praised as definitely blessed!

Not only definitely blessed in the hereafter, but already now. Not that that man will be definitely blessed, but that that man is already definitely blessed.
Everyone knows very well that we yearn for happiness in our hearts. All human striving and endeavor is directed to that end. They are attempts to remove the hindrances that impede the way to our happiness. We don’t and we can’t rest until we are able to say that we are blessed.

“To be a blessing to the poor” is the approach taken, the promise made, and the prophecy announced by every form of idolatry. It’s the same with every reformer, crusader, philosopher, and world conqueror. And the afflicted masses turn away from such people after they see that the promised blessedness hasn’t arrived. Then the sting of discontent produces even stronger unrest in their hearts.

But now consider your Bible, God’s Word. It also makes an approach, offers a promise, and announces a prophecy of blessing to you. But it is much stronger and more powerful in tone than the longing created by the crusader’s approach. This Word doesn’t only promise less suffering and to ease pain but offers an infusion of real blessedness. And that happiness is so complete that it can even be called “definite blessedness.” You can drink that kind of blessedness in such deep drafts that even the term “definite blessedness” is inadequate. That language can’t begin to capture the full richness of the peace and joy involved here.

But how and in what way does the Bible promise that kind of definite blessedness?
To understand that, simply open the book of Psalms and notice how in many places the man who doesn’t want to walk in the counsels of the wicked is wasting away.
You would think that God would deliver him from all his illnesses. But notice how he complains in his chains, calls out from the deadly dangers he faces, and simply moans in the bottom of some pit where there is no water.

You would think that his cup is brimming over with prosperity and wealth, but instead you see that he is hunted down like a doe in the mountains and that all the waves and breakers of the Almighty are crashing over him.

You would expect that he would be surrounded by a circle of faithful companions. But notice that all his acquaintances have abandoned him, and that the man who ate his bread has repaid him with affliction.

If then all these earthly blessings continue to be threatened, you would at least imagine that this most blessed of men would walk in quiet peace before the face of the Lord and enjoy uninterrupted holiness and devotion. But you find just the opposite, for over and over again his lips complain about his sin, and he prays for forgiveness. What rumbles from the bottom of his heart are the struggles that leave him a broken man and a contemptible sinner in his own eyes.

You might ask how it is possible that Scripture still calls such a person “definitely blessed.” My good reader, here is the key to that wonderful secret.
That man is the most miserable of all people in every other respect. No one has said it better than Paul did: “O miserable man that I am. Who shall deliver me?” But in one respect the page is completely turned, and that’s precisely where salvation emerges. That man knows that it’s not he who possesses God, but God possesses him! He lives by and with that faith. That’s all he needs. He doesn’t desire more. Now the pit without water becomes God’s pit. God put him there. God is working in him there. God wants to lift him out of it, and he will.
So do you understand now?

Definitely blessed because God possesses him, God upholds him, and God wraps his soul in the bonds of his divine will. Those bonds tie him securely to Christ, the Son of his love. God is present in his Son and present in himself.

This is truly a miracle. All those other proposals, plans, and strategies for making people happy have long ago been discarded, mocked, and then forgotten, and the multitudes in their inflamed bitterness have stopped following those who made them false promises. Then the plan in the book of Psalms for finding definite blessedness emerges once more. It’s three thousand years old now. But in every land and among every people you still find living examples of which the Holy Spirit describes: “Look over there! There’s the kind of definitely blessed person I’m talking about!” And if you were to take the entire world together, there would be a whole multitude that would be celebrating and saying in unison: “Yes, I’m one of those who have experienced that glorious grace!” You’d be able to hear over and over again how those people who are hunted and hounded are still singing. Sometimes they are lying in a deep pit. Sometimes the lions are growling around them. That’s when they sing their way through their fears and even rejoice in their pain and oppression: “As far as my situation goes, it’s good for me to be near to God.”
Is that how it is with your soul, my sister and my brother? Are you being definitely blessed like this?

Abraham Kuyper, Ever in Thy Sight: 31 Devotions on the Psalms

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