by Steven Chan
In Psalms 1, the Bible declares that the “blessed man” is one who does not ‘go along’ (does not walk with, does not stand with, or sit with) with those who are opposed to God, or who do not respect God, or who mocked God.
Why is such a person blessed? 1 Cor 15:33-34 provides an answer when it warned: “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.” In the afore-stated passage, the apostle Paul warned that we need to incline ourselves to righteousness and not to sin; this is because there are those around us who reject God- whether by ignorance or wilfully. These people may influence us to behave like them.
He said that we are not to be deceived into believing that the company that we keep will not affect us in any way. On the contrary, he warned that keeping company with those who reject God in their mind, can have a corrupting influence on our own lives. This is quite apparent when we keep company with those who advocate homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, or using foul or unwholesome words as an acceptable way of speaking. We keep company with such people via the medium of the Internet, TV shows or listening to business associates, colleagues, the speeches of some bosses or even certain heads of states. The constant exposure to such may cause some to feel that such actions are acceptable.
The Bible tells us of the torment of Lot when he dwelled with the ungodly people in his city: “Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)” (2 Pet 2:7-8). Lot did not approve of their deeds. So, their lawless actions “oppressed” and “tormented” him. What about us? When we see such “lawless” conduct as portrayed on TV, Internet or in the newspapers, do we feel “tormented”, or are we gradually accepting such conduct? Some have adopted such conduct without questioning them.
It is not uncommon to see some believers “like” or “share” postings on Facebook which contained unwholesome words or actions. They are not “tormented” or “affected” by such words or actions. They have accepted them. In fact, our society seems to be very accepting of any conduct other than the conduct of those who reject ‘unacceptable’ conduct! The Bible says in Eph 5:8-12: “Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”
The “blessed” man is one who stays away from such “lawless” or ‘ungodly’ conduct. For then he would not be influenced or corrupted by such ‘unhelpful’ conduct. But lest this be misunderstood, it should be pointed out that it is impossible not to associate with those who reject God. While acknowledging that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Cor 5:6) referring to the influence of sin on members of the body of Christ, the apostle Paul clarified: “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.” (1 Cor 5:9-10). So, while it is impossible not to associate with “immoral” people of the world, one should not “run with them in the same flood of dissipation” (1 Pet 4:4).
The “blessed” man is one whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psa 1:2) His “delight” refers to his joy, happiness, pleasure and desire. How is it that he “delights” in the law of God while some find it more of a “chore” or “pain”? It is because he knows that if he follows the law of God, he will be on God’s side and he will have His blessings – just as Joshua was told to do: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:8-9).
Many pay a lot of money to listen to mere mortals speak on the “law of prosperity and success” but our Creator God has given us His law of prosperity and success in the Scriptures. His prosperity is not the accumulation of material wealth as life does not consist in the abundance of things we possess (Luke 12:15) but “holistic” prosperity as per the prayer of John in 3 John 1:2: “that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
When we are on God’s side, then God, who is sovereign, all-powerful, all-knowing and who is also Love, will “cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him” (Rom 8:28, NASB). “According to His abundant mercy, He has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet 1:3-5).
When we know the benefits of being on God’s side, wouldn’t we want to delight in the law of the Lord? Joseph testified of God’s providential working for good when he said to his brothers: “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Gen 45:5-8). He trusted God even during difficult circumstances or the dark times.
The “blessed” man is liken unto “a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psa 1:3) He is well supplied by God; fully functional, fruitful and enjoys much success in all his undertakings because he is “always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that his labor is not in vain in the Lord” for he knows that it is “God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:57-58). The Scriptures were given to make us “wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” (2 Tim 3:15). As we desire the sincere milk of the Word, we will grow and be transformed into the same image of our Lord (no longer conformed to this world) and be able to discern between good and evil (Rom 12:1-2; 2 Cor 3:18; Eph 4:23; 1 Pet 2:2; Heb 5:14) – and so, we will have “good success” – even the salvation of our souls (Heb 10:39).
If we truly delight in the law of the Lord, let us “meditate” in His law, day and night (Psa 1:2). To meditate is to reflect or think continually in our mind, what has been revealed by God, so as to know what He has said and more importantly, to understand what He meant, and then to be comforted by His promises as well as to do what He has commanded. It cannot be done by mere cursory reading of a passage of scriptures. Paul exhorted in 1 Tim 4:13-16: “give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine… 15 Meditate on these things (Take pains with these things-NASB); give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” It requires much effort and time.
If you wish to know the law of the Lord, then you can start by:-
- Attending the Bible Classes that are conducted on Friday nights and Sunday mornings at the premises of the Klang congregation; read the Bible texts/passages carefully, listen intently and ask questions from the teachers or fellow students for clarification.
- Enrolling in the free Bible Correspondence Courses offered by the Klang congregation (you may contact bro Lim Chong Teck, sis Chai Bee, sis Jenny or any of the instructors) and be guided in your study of the Scriptures; or enrol in online BCC offered by the churches of Christ such as http://www.ibtministries.org/pagevw.php?pgid=bcc.htm;
- Committing to know what is written in the Bible (especially the New Testament) by undertaking the Concentrated Bible Study programme which also incorporates memorizing of scriptures – you may speak with bro John Quek who will be able to guide you;
- Follow a Daily Bible Reading schedule that can be readily obtained from the Internet, for example: https://www.blueletterbible.org/dailyreading/
While studying the Bible, make sure that we meditate or think continually in our mind about what we have read to try to remember what we have read and also to understand what is meant within its immediate context and the total/overall context of the Bible.
Think of what it says about God. Think of what it says about “me” and of those with whom I interact on a daily basis. Think about what it wants me to “think, feel and act”; to be the kind of person acceptable to God and who glorifies Him. Think of “how” or “what” I can do to please Him?
Do we want to be a “blessed” person? If we do, then let’s start making the effort to do what is required so that we can truly be blessed. Minimize the time spent with ungodly influences and devote more time to think reflectively on God’s Word.