Psalms 1

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Interpretation
This Psalm can be summarized as, “Those who whole heartedly pursue heavenly wisdom will be blessed. Those who despise God will end in misery, even though they believe themselves to be happy. The man who delights in God will enjoy God’s special favor and grace.”

The way the Psalmist uses the term, “law of the Lord,” he is not referring to the Mosaic Law. Rather he is referring to all of scripture.

The Psalmist indicates the first step in living well is to avoid the wicked. But we live in a wicked world. We have no choice but to associate with the wicked and unrighteous. In addition, how can we possibly fulfill the great commission, to teach others to obey all that Christ taught, if we are to avoid those who do not obey what Christ taught?

The Psalmist is not to be understood to say separate yourself from the world. Rather the Psalmist is saying blessed is the man or woman who abhors of the lifestyle of the wicked. He teaches us that it is impossible to meditate fully upon God’s laws and not condemn wickedness. The law, or scripture, itself condemns sin. The first step to living well is to renounce the companionship of the ungodly; otherwise it is sure to infect us with its own pollution.

Through the Psalmist, God forbids us to walk in the counsel of the sinner; secondly place, to stand in their way; and, lastly, to sit in their seat. That is, the servants of God must endeavor utterly to abhor the lifestyle of the ungodly.

What is, “walking in the council way of the wicked?” To give someone counsel is giving them advice or instruction from a reservoir of wisdom. “Walking” is use throughout the bible to mean a way of living or lifestyle. So “walking in the council of the wicked” is to live according to the wisdom of the world. The wisdom of this world is to determine what is right by plurality vote. We all want to be normal. We want to fit in and not be weird. “Fitting in” is what every teenager strives for. The world determines that being normal is good. Therefore if the majority say it is right, it must be right. We believe, “Everyone can’t be wrong.” That is the wisdom of the world. But God said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8) When anyone willingly pursues the gratification of their own lusts, he grows hardened in wickedness; that is standing in the way of sinners. The Psalmist then tops it all off with the easiest and most relaxing of the three metaphors, sitting, Scoffing or being a critic is easy. Not only does it not require any skill. It requires no effort. The man or woman of God is involved in the daily battle or fight against wickedness. It is not easy. It requires skill. That skill is developed and learned by the study of the scripture.

In the second verse the Psalmist says the one who delights in the scripture is blessed. If we delight in scripture we want to study the scripture. Through scripture God teaches us. We can only server God correctly when we know His word. God has given us the scripture out of love for us. To love of Him is to love of His word. This love of the scripture causes us to constantly meditation on it. Everyone who truly loves God loves His word. Love of His word causes us to find pleasure in the diligent study of it.

The man who serves God, continually striving to better understand God’s word, will be strong. He will be able to withstand the winds. He will stand strong, produce fruit and will not die.

When the Psalmist says, “In all that he does, he prospers,” he is referring to the fact that the children of God flourish with divine grace so that no matter the circumstances. They are preserved in their salvation. While the wicked may give an appearance of prosperity, they are bankrupt in what are true riches.

The Psalmist brings us to recognize that God is the judge of the world. And sinner will not be able to stand before God. Their happiness is in things. The physical world is their god. Physical things require protection, insurance, maintenance. Physical things decay and can be lost. The wicked are enslaved by them. But the righteous have the word of God, which does not decay or rot. It cannot be lost. The word of the Lord is forever.

Application

This Psalm has been used to preach a prosperity gospel. But in order to do so, one must deny what the Psalm actually says, “Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord.” That mean the scripture or word of the Lord is to be pursued not material prosperity. This is not a secret formula on how you can get rich. It simply and clearly states, if what you desire is an understanding of the law of the Lord you will receive what you truly desire. It does not say if you study your bible you will receive material possessions. If receiving material possessions is your motivation then you are not delighting in the law of the Lord.

You will be blessed, if you pursue knowledge of the law of God because you love him. You will not be blessed if you pursue knowledge of the law of God because you see God as a means to satisfy your selfish desires.

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