"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" ( Psa. 1:1).
I was very much impressed, a number of years ago, as I listened to Joseph Flacks tell of his visit to Palestine. When he was in the city of Jerusalem he was given the opportunity of addressing quite a gathering of Jews and Arabs, all of whom were presumably unconverted. For his text, Mr. Flacks took the first Psalm. Of course, he could repeat it to them in the Hebrew. He dwelt upon the tenses, "Blessed is the man who hash not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful."
He said to them, "Now, my brethren, who is this blessed man of whom the psalmist speaks? Notice, this happy man is a man who never walked in the counsel of the ungodly, he never stood in the way of sinners, he never sat in the seat of the scornful. He was an absolutely sinless man. Who is this blessed man ?" When no one answered, Joseph Flacks said, "Shall we say he is our great Father Abraham? Is it Father Abraham that the psalmist is speaking of here?"
One old Jew said, "No, no, it cannot be Abraham, for he denied his wife; he told a lie about her."
"Ah," said Joseph Flacks, "it does not fit, does it? Abraham, although he was the father of the faithful, yet was a sinner who needed to be justified by faith. But, my brethren, this refers to somebody; who is this man? Could it be our great lawgiver, Moses?"
"No, no," they said, "it cannot be Moses. He killed a man and hid him in the sand." Another added, "And he lost his temper by the water of Meribah."
"Well," Joseph Flacks said, "my brethren, who is it? There is some man here that the Spirit of God is bringing before us. Could it be our great King David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, who perhaps wrote this Psalm?"
"No, no," they cried, " it cannot be David. He committed adultery and had Uriah slain."
"Well," he said, "who is it; to whom do these words refer?"
They were quiet for some little time and then one Jew arose and said, "My brethren, I have a little book here; it is called the New Testament. I have been reading it. If I believed this book, if I could be sure that it is true, I would say that the man of the first Psalm was Jesus of Nazareth."
An old Jew got right up and said, "My brethren, the man of the first Psalm is Jesus of Nazareth. He is the only one who ever went through this world who never walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners."
Then the old man told how he had been brought to believe in Christ, and he took that occasion to openly confess his faith. He had been searching for a long time and had found out sometime before that Jesus was the One, but he had not had the courage to tell others.