Blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked
ghurtaH ghaH the loD/ Blessed is the man
"Bless" is one of those "Bible" words that might seem simple. Bless you! What a blessing! I was blessed. Yet when pressed to define it, it turns out to be a fairly complex bundle rolled up into one simple syllable.
Psalm 1 presents us with a description - maybe a prescription for what it is to be blessed.
There are multiple words in Hebrew, Greek and Latin that are all translated into English as "bless" or "blessed." Now, because the KLV is developed as a relexification (one Klingon term for one English word) of the World English Bible, the text winds up flattening that meaning into a single word: ghurtaH, : on-going increase, that is an increase or benefit to one's material or spiritual riches. In this case, the Hebrew word used in Psalm 1, ashri, means "happy," a translation you will find being used in many modern translations. Eventually that meaning may replace ghurtaH in the KLV, and you'll see the word Quch (happy) used : Quch ghaH the loD.
But what makes a person blessed? ghurtaH or Quch - fortunate or happy - how does one achieve that? This is what Psalm 1 tells us - and it begins by telling us what NOT to do: DON'T WALK.
How obedient are you to those stop lights when they signal walk/don't walk? I was nicknamed "safety frog" by my kids when they were little, since I am such a stickler on safety issues: seat belts, rocket launches and, yes even stop lights. Yet still I get impatient - and sometimes I might dash out and take advantage of a lull in the traffic. But I know those lights have a purpose, and if you blithely ignore them, well, you will be neither ghurtaH or Quch - fortunate or happy.
Iv ta'be' yIt Daq the qeS vo' the mIgh
who doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked
This is the first of three negatives the psalmist gives us on the way to explain what makes a person blessed. It makes me think of a verse in Proverbs (actually two verses - it gets repeated):
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. (Proverbs 14:12 | 16:25 NLT)
I like that description - "a path ... that seems right" : Sometimes doing what you KNOW is wrong IS very tempting. You might want to dash across against the light - and suffer the consequences "it ends in death."
The Bible is realistic: you can't avoid hearing the "counsel of the wicked," whether a classmate telling you how to cheat on a test, or a politician appealing to our personal greed - you aren't at fault for HEARING them.The problem is when we take that first step - when we no longer listen, but begin to walk in their counsel.
As the saying goes "it's no sin to be tempted," the trick is letting it end there. Psalm 1 has much more to say, both what NOT to do, and what we SHOULD do - we'll see more about this in upcoming podcasts. But this is the start, saying NO to qeS vo mIgh (the advice of the wicked). Being Quch, happy, in our life with the Lord begins here. As James reminds us :
So - join the resistance. We've just begin to fight.