Psalm 1 is the responsorial for today, and it is probably my favorite Psalm in the entire Bible. Because it is impossible really to know the mind of an ancient writer, it is difficult to know what to make of this fact. However, the first word of Psalm 1 begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the last word begins with the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
If this was purposeful, this would have a similar kind of effect as the English phrase “from A to Z.” Or, more popularly, some might know the phrase “from A to Zinc” from commercials for Centrum vitamins. What these phrases are trying to communicate are completeness. Centrum is not simply trying to say that they have vitamin A and Zinc in their product, but rather that their product has all the vitamins you need.
Applying this idea to Psalm 1, the point would then be that this Psalm teaches everything a person really needs to know about living a blessed life. In verse 1, we find out what the blessed person does not do:
Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, Nor go the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers.
Yet it is not enough simply not to do certain things. Instead, in verse 2, we find out what it is that a blessed person does:
Rather, the law of the LORD is their joy; God’s law they study day and night.
Then, in verses 3 and 4, we find what a blessed person looks like as opposed to the unrighteous person who is not blessed:
They are like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever they do prospers.
But not the wicked! They are like chaff driven by the wind.
And finally, we get to see the end of the person who is righteous and thus blessed, as opposed to the person who is unrighteous in verses 5 and 6:
Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment, nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.
The LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.
So, where do we start? Well, we must all start at the beginning each and every day, notice that in verse two the blessed person is in constant meditation on the Lord’s instruction. If we want to look like flourishing trees planted by streams of water and want to have the Lord watching over our way, we must steer clear of sin and find our joy in the Lord’s instruction. And, we will also come to find out that finding our joy in the Lord’s instruction, is not inactive, for he instructs us to a life of charity.
This Psalm boils down for us life of blessing quite simply, but the difficulty is in the living.