Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalm 1:1)
The Hebrew interjection ashreey translated “blessed” here means “How happy!” and it comes from the root word awshar which means to be straight, to be guided or to be honest and proper. Often when we see the word “blessed” we envision material blessings, i.e., a good job with a good salary, a house with all the trappings thereof, a nice car, etc. We may even count our physical health as a blessing. However, that is not what is pictured in this Psalm; rather it connotes a state of peace and contentment that comes from not falling in line with bad company.
One might rightly argue, “What happens to evangelism if we avoid the ungodly, the sinners and the scornful?” Even Jesus said, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:13), and He was accused by the Pharisees of being “a friend of publicans and sinners!” (Luke 7:34). Paul said, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). So there must be more to our text than immediately strikes the eye.
The verb “walks” (Hebrew: halak) implies adopting the lifestyle or being influenced by a godless worldview. In similar fashion, the verb “stand” (Hebrew: `amad) means to “abide,” to dwell in or to follow the way of sinners. Finally, to “sit” (Hebrew: yashab) means to “settle with” and by implication means to agree with those who mock the Word of God. The truly blessed man avoids these traps, and thus enhances his witness to the godless, scoffing sinner. That man delights in the Word of God and is like a fruitful tree (vv. 2-3) drawing strength and nourishment from the source of living water (John 4:13-14).