"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"
This Psalm is the frontispiece to the whole of the book of Psalms. Its message is "whose advice are you listening to -- those who live outside of God's moral boundary structure and are therefore wicked or the objective, written, and unchanging directives of God's Word?" It is so very easy to take your advice from the wrong sources.
It is important to get a global perspective of this Psalm. Yes, it is from David, the sweet singer of Israel. Yes, it tells us to stay away from the wicked. Yes, it was a song. But it was the first Psalm in the song book. It is about meditating on God's law – filling your mind with God's ideals and God's point of view. You were to sing all of these concepts so that you could live a blessed life. If you do not meditate on biblical concepts and a biblical worldview, you will be transformed into the kind of person you are meditating about in the kind of world you are imagining. You get what you see with your mind’s eye.
Right now the dominant culture around me believes that there is nothing beyond what can be seen, felt, tasted, handled, smelled, or heard. In other words, they are completely materialistic, they have material values, and they make materialistic judgments and believe that what they think about life is true and accurate. They believe that when you die, you cease to exist. They believe that we may be the only thinking beings in the universe. They especially do not believe in a loving, Almighty God who created the universe and everything in it. All their songs, all their stories, all their thoughts reinforce this view of life. If you meditate on their way of thinking about life and existence, then you will begin living out their values. They value as much money as you can possibly amass. They value being as famous as possible. They believe that whatever society accepts is morally right because there is nothing above the collective society. They believe there is no final judgment and whatever you have gotten away with in this life, you have gotten away with forever.
I am regularly amazed at how many people who are Christians really think like a materialist. It take consistent effort to meditate on God's ideas, God's perfect society, and God's view of the universe to have your actions and choices be an expression of the right value structure instead of a pagan value structure. You must put on a biblical worldview in order for the choices of the Bible to make sense.
If there is a God and a final judgment day and angels and heaven and hell, then my choices count for eternity and I am accountable beyond the grave and on and on.
If there is a God and a Satan, then evil is real and it is personified.
If there is a God and He did create and allow man to sin, then this is a beautiful but flawed and broken world. Each of us has the beautiful and broken in ourselves.
Every self-help program has a long section on visualization or meditation or imagination because you become what dominates your thinking. If you think about being kind and generous and loving because God would be pleased, then you will become more of that. If you think about being rich and powerful and famous, then that is what will dominate your choices and you will move in that dead-end direction.
The first psalm is important because it sets the tone for the whole song book. Sing these songs he says so that you will be able to think God's thoughts after Him.
This Psalm gives three different bad sources and one good one. It proclaims that if you are willing to meditate on God's Law, then you will prosper no matter what life has you doing. God promises to dig a channel of blessing to you no matter where you are located.
It is impossible to be transformed without moving toward what God calls blessed.