THE STATE OF BLESSEDNESS
Dr. Robert Courtney
In the article “The Blessed Man”, I expressed my quest to know whom and why God blesses. This quest has drawn me to Psalm 1 to seek answers. I confess I began my study of Psalm 1:1 with a speculation, even though I teach my students not to do such – so much for the teacher following his own instruction! I assumed when encountering the word “Blessed” (“How blessed is the man…”) I was thinking in terms of POSITION as it relates to location rather than to the STATE of one’s present condition.
I can easily say that we are blessed individuals because of our relationship with God. This is due to the POSITION He has put us in. A paraphrased definition of POSITION is given from the internet. POSITION - a place where someone is located or has been put.
I am amazed that God has put us into a place of blessedness considering the condition where we were found when His grace and mercy reached us. In Romans 5 we were called helpless, sinners, and enemies in relation to God, yet He has changed all that and placed us into a POSITION of justification, sanctification, and glorification (Romans 8). It is abundantly clear from Scripture that this was not our doing, but solely an act of His incredible grace and love. He put us into a POSITION of blessedness. The fact of it is easy to prove. The reason for it will baffle us for our entire lives.
This POSITION of blessedness is what I was expecting when I came to Psalm 1. Yet, to my surprise, the writer takes us into the STATE of blessedness rather than the POSITION.
A paraphrased definition of STATE also comes from the internet. STATE – the particular condition that someone is in at a specific time.
What is the difference between POSITION and STATE? The POSITION is the location God has put us in regarding the relationship we have with Him. The STATE is our current condition within that POSITION. For example, we may have the POSITION as a king, but we may not be acting like a KING at this time.
The word for “Blessed” in both the Hebrew and the Greek texts of Psalm 1 speaks of a happiness that comes from one’s particular condition. The writer speaks of one who is “happy” because he has chosen the right state at this moment. He is not walking in the counsel of the wicked, nor standing in the path of sinners, nor sitting in the seat of scoffers! Those who do their walking, standing, and sitting in the STATE of the sinful have exchanged happiness with the awful judgments mentioned later in the Psalm. There is no joy in the inability to stand before God. There is no bliss in being under the wrath of the Holy God.
The blessed man, in contrast, is happy because his STATE is not with the sinner in his ways. He does not abide in a fearful, shameful condition that is marring his life at this time.
What may be the point of this discussion between STATE and POSITION in regards to blessedness? I think it can be said from this passage, and reinforced in the New Testament teaching that an individual ought to take a close look at the STATE in which he is living. It is easy to be found in a particular condition at this time outside the happiness the Lord has positionally put us in. Paul says is this in Colossians 2:6, “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord (that is our POSITION), so walk in Him (that should be our STATE).” In 1 Thessalonians 2:12 he also writes, “…so that you would walk in a manner worthy (that should be our STATE) of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory (that is our POSITION).” It would do us well to examine the STATE in which we are walking. What a difference it makes in our walk to have happy, joyful steps because we are on the right path with our Lord. How wonderful to have our STATE match our POSITION.
Comments or questions? Write Dr. Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org