by A.W. Pink,
"The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22
Temporal blessing, as well as spiritual, comes from Him. "The LORD makes poor, and makes rich" (1 Samuel 2:7).
God is the sovereign Disposer of material wealth. If it is received by birth or inheritance — it is by His providence. If it comes by gift — He moved the donors to bestow. If it accumulates as the result of hard work, skill or thrift — He bestowed the talent, directed its use, and granted the success. This is made abundantly clear in the Scriptures. "The LORD has blessed my master greatly...he has given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold" (Gen 24:35). "Isaac sowed in that land, and received the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him" (Gen 26:12).
So it is with us. Then say not in your heart, "The might of my hand or brains, has gotten me this temporal prosperity." "But you shall remember the LORD your God: for it is HE who gives you power to get wealth" (Deu 8:17-18). When riches are acquired by God's blessing on honest industry, there is no accusing conscience to sour the same, and if "sorrow" attends the use or enjoyment of them, it is due entirely unto our own folly.
But it is upon the spiritual blessings which God bestows upon His people, that we shall now write. "Blessed is the man whom you chose, and cause to approach unto you, that he may dwell in your courts" (Psalm 65:4). There is no doubt that the primary reference there (though not th e exclusive one) is unto "the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5), for as God-man, He is what He is by the grace of election, when His humanity was chosen and fore-ordained unto union with one of the Persons in the Godhead. None other than JEHOVAH proclaimed Him "my elect, in whom my soul delighted" (Isa 42:1). As such, He is "the man that is my fellow, says the LORD Almighty" (Zechariah 13:7), the "Heir of all things" (Heb 1:2). Christ was not chosen for us, but for God: and we were chosen for Christ, to be His bride.
'Christ, be My first elect,' He said,
then chose our souls in Christ the Head.
The essence of all blessedness is to be in Christ, and those who partake of it do so by the act of God — as the fruit of His everlasting love unto them. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:3-4). In that initial blessing of election, all others are wrapped up, and, in due course, we are made partakers of them. It is both the duty and privilege of every sin-laden soul to come unto Christ to rest, nevertheless, it is equally true that no man can come to Him except the Father draws him (John 6:44). Likewise it devolves upon all who hear the Gospel to respond to that call, "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live" (Isa 56:3), yet how can those who are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1) do so? They cannot! They must first be divinely quickened into newness of life.
"As the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore" (Psalm 83:3). A beautiful figure of that divine operation is here set before us. In eastern lands, the earth is hard, dry, barren — so our natural hearts. The "dew" descends from above silently, mysteriously, imperceptibly, moistening the ground, imparting vitality unto vegetation making the mountainside fruitful. Such is the miracle of the new birth. Life is communicated by divine fiat. Not a probationary or conditional one, not a fleeting or temporal one, but spiritual and endless, for the stream of regeneration can never dry up.
When God "commands," He communicates (cf. Psalm 42:8; 68:28; 111:9); as the blessing is a divine favor — so the manner bestowing it is sovereign. That is solely His prerogative, for man can do nothing but beg. "Zion" is the place of all spiritual blessings (Heb 12:22-24).
"Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, LORD, in the light of your countenance" (Psalm 89:15). This is one of the blessed effects of divine quickening. When one has been born of the Spirit, the eyes and ears of his soul are opened to cognize spiritual things. Observe that it is not merely they "hear the joyful sound," for many do that without any experiential knowledge of its charm; but "know" from its message being brought home in power to their hearts. That "joyful sound" is "the glad tidings of good things" (Rom 10:15), namely, "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). Such souls as inwardly know that heavenly music, are indeed blessed, for as they are assured of free access unto God through the blood of Christ, the beneficent light of the divine countenance is beheld by them. There is probably an allusion in Psalm 89:15.
First, the sound which was made by Aaron as he went into the holy place and came out thereof (Exo 28:33- 35), which was indeed a "joyful sound" unto the people of God, for it gave evidence that their high priest was engaged be fore the Lord on their behalf.
Second, a general reference to the sound of the sacred trumpets which called Israel to their solemn feasts (Num 10:10).
Third, a more specific one to the trumpet of jubilee (Lev 25:9-10), which proclaimed liberty to bondmen and restoration of their inheritance to them who had forfeited it. So the announcement of the Gospel of liberty to sin captives, is music to those given ears to hear.
"Blessed are all they that put their trust in him" (Psalm 2:12). The critical reader will observe that we are following a strictly logical order.
First, election is the foundation blessing, being "unto salvation" and including all the means thereof (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Second, the bestowment of eternal life which capacitates the favored recipient to welcome experientially the joyful sound of the Gospel.
And now there is a personal and saving embracing thereof. It is to be carefully noted that the words of our present text are preceded by "Kiss the Son," which signifies: Bow in submission before His scepter, yield to His kingly rule, render allegiance to Him (1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Kings 19:18).
It is most important to note that order — and still more so to put it into practice: for Christ must be received as "Lord" (Col 2:6) before He can be received as Savior: note the order in 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:18. They "put their trust in him" signifies to take refuge in — they repudiate their own righteousness and evince their confidence in Him by committing themselves to His keeping for time and eternity. His gospel is their warrant for doing so, His veracity their security.
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psalm 32:1). This is an intrinsic part of the blessedness of putting our trust in Him. The "joyful sound" has assured them that "Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom 5:6), and that He will by no means cast out anyone who comes unto Him (John 6:37). Therefore do they express their faith in Christ by fleeing to Him for refuge. Blessed indeed are such, for, having surrendered to His lordship and placed their reliance in His atoning blood, they now enter into the benefits of His righteous and benevolent government. More specifically, their "iniquities are forgiven and their sins are covered" (Psalm 85:2) — "covered by God, as the ark was covered with the mercy seat, as Noah was covered from the flood, as the Egyptians were covered by the depths of the sea. What a cover that must be, which hides forever from the sight of the all-seeing God, all the filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit" (Charles H. Spurgeon, 1834-1892).
Paul quotes those precious words of Psalm 32:1, in Romans 4:7, in proof of the grand truth of justification by faith. While the sins of believers were all atoned for at the cross and an everlasting righteousness then procured for them, they do not become actual participants of the same until they believe (Acts 13:39; Gal 2:16).
"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." (Psalm 84:5). This is another accompaniment of the new birth. The regenerated is given the spirit of "a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7), so that he now perceives himself to be not only without any righteousness of his own, but is conscious of his weakness and insufficiency. He has made the name of the Lord his strong tower, having run into it for safety (Pro 18:10), and now he declares "in the LORD I have righteousness and strength" (Isa 14:24) — strength to fight the good fight of faith, to resist temptations, to endure persecution, to perform duty. While he keeps in his right mind, he will continue to go forth not in his own strength, but in complete dependence upon and reliance in the strength that is in Christ Jesus, thereby proving the sufficiency of His grace. Those "ways" of God's strength are the divinely appointed means of grace for the maintenance of communion: feeding on the Word, living on Christ, adhering to the path of His precepts.
"Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways." (Psalm 128:1). Here is another mark of those under the divine benediction — to have such a deep reverence for God, as results in regular obedience to Him. The fear of the Lord is a holy awe of His majesty, a filial dread of displeasing Him. It is not so much an emotional thing as a practical one, for it is idle to talk about fearing God, if we have no deep concern for His will. It is the fear of love, which shrinks from dishonoring Him, a dread of forgetting His goodness, and abusing His mercy. Where such "fear" is, all other graces are found. The blessedness of such is not always apparent to carnal reason, nevertheless, it is a fact certified by the divine veracity.