In Eugene Peterson’s Answering God, he describes Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 as pillars flanking the pathway to prayer. They prepare our hearts and get us ready to pray. In Psalm 1 we learn to set our attention on the Word of God and in Psalm 2 we set out adoration on God’s rule through the Messiah. By the means of attention and adoration we slow down our hurried, dysfunctional lives and answer the God who has initiated relationship and conversation with us.
Psalm 1 begins with a blessing: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 2 ends with a blessing: “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” When we set our attention and adoration on God’s way (Psalm 1) and on God’s rule in our lives (Psalm 2), we are ready to pray and we position ourselves to receive the blessing of God.
Jesus captured this teaching about blessing from Psalm 1 and 2 and carried it to another level in the Beatitudes (Matt 5:3-12) – a teaching that greatly expands our understanding of being blessed in the Kingdom of God. We are blessed when we are poor in spirit, when we mourn, when we are meek, when we hunger and thirst for righteousness and when we are persecuted. We are blessed when these things happen to us because God is present with us and we are inheritors of the Kingdom, we are comforted, we are filled, we are shown mercy, and we see God. Jesus tells us to “rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”
How has God blessed you? Do you think God’s desire is to bless you? Are you clinging to the hope of a future blessing? Eugene Peterson says, “The blessed arouses expectation, a readiness for a more that is also a good. We don’t know the contents of the blessed, or the difficulties – how could we, we are not there yet? – but we sense that we are entering a way on which we will become more our true selves, not less, not other. The anticipation of being blessed works changes in us that make us capable of being blessed.”