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.

Understanding And Applying the Text

Here is a summary of the Psalm. “God will bless those who wholeheartedly pursue heavenly wisdom. Those who despise God will end in misery, even if they believe themselves to be happy. Only the man who delights in God will enjoy God’s special favor and grace.”

We live in a world where it is common to belittle God’s Saints. The wicked think of them as simplistic. They consider the saint’s efforts and labors worthless. So the righteous must be assured in holiness. God’s favor falls only on those who zealously devote themselves to studying the “law of the Lord.”

The way the Psalmist uses the phrase, “law of the Lord,” is not a reference to the Mosaic Law. Rather it is a reference to all scripture.

The Psalmist indicates the first step in living well is to avoid the ways of the wicked. We live in a wicked world. We have no choice but to associate with the wicked and unrighteous. We cannot fulfill the great commission if we avoid everyone who does not obey what Christ taught.

We are not to understand the Psalmist to say separate yourself from the world. Rather the Psalmist is saying blessed is the man or woman who hates of the lifestyle of the wicked. It is impossible to meditate 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 pollution.

Through the Psalmist, God forbids us to walk in the counsel of the sinner. Second, to stand in their way; and, Third, to sit in their seat. That is, God’s servants must try to the utmost 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 used 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. They say they are being themselves. But being themselves looks like being like their friends. Everyone wants to conform to the world. According to the world being normal is good. So if the majority says it is right, it must be right. We believe, “Everyone can’t be wrong.” That of course is a logical fallacy. But who cares as long as everyone thinks of us as normal? 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 we pursue the gratification of our lusts, we harden 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. It doesn’t need 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 effort and skill. We develop the skill by studying 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 serve God 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 meditate on it. Everyone who 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, and strives 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.

The Psalmist said, “In all that he does, he prospers. ” This is a reference to the fact that the children of God flourish with divine grace. They flourish no matter the circumstances. God preserves their salvation. While the wicked give an appearance of prosperity. They are bankrupt in what are true riches.

The Psalmist reminds us 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, and maintenance. Physical things decay and can be lost. They enslave the wicked. But the righteous have the word of God, which does not decay or rot. We cannot lose it. The word of the Lord is forever.

Prosperity preachers have used this Psalm to preach a prosperity gospel. But to do so, they must deny what the Psalm says, “Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord.” That means the scripture. We must pursue the word of the Lord, not material prosperity. This is not a secret formula for how you can get rich. It states if what you desire is an understanding of the law of the Lord you will receive what you desire. It does not say if you study your bible you will receive material possessions. If what you desire is material possessions. 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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *