I have just finished up a wonderful study over the first Psalm. This psalm is often a favorite among the people of God. It is a psalm which imparts wisdom by contrasting the righteous and the wicked. It falls naturally into two parts: the blessedness of the godly (vs. 1-3) and the wretchedness of the ungodly (vs. 4-6).
The blessedness of the godly person (1-3)
The psalmist begins with a triumphant proclamation: “Blessed is the man…” The psalmist is stating, “How happy is the man…” The psalmist opens this psalm with a statement that would cause many a nonbeliever to laugh. He intends to show that the person who devotes himself to living a godly and righteous life is the one who finds true happiness, while the one who lives without regard to God is the miserable person! The world doesn’t comprehend this truth because they have it the other way. The God-devoted person is miserable and those who live for themselves find the fun. Time will prove the psalmist to be correct.
What the godly person refuses (vs. 1)
The Counsel of the Wicked
If we replace the word “counsel” with the word “advice”, we quickly get to the heart of the matter. The righteous person does not govern his life on the basis of bad advice from bad people. It seems rather ironic for those who have no room for God often seem eager and read to offer advice to those who are living for God. We find such advice in our personal conversations, in magazines and newspaper articles, in movies and television shows, and many others just to name a few.
The Path of Sinners
The focus shifts from the advice offered by the godless to their lifestyle or pattern of behavior. It is one who does not conform to the laws of God. Seeing this, the godly person avoids its. He does not stand in this path, to be subject to their influence within their life.
The Seat of Scoffers
There seems to be a growing trend of people who hold nothing sacred, scoffing at God and all that are associated with him. The psalmist uses the term, “to sit” to imply going a step further than walking and standing. It suggests remaining and abiding with them and enjoying their company. Those who are in Christ, always feel out of place and unhappy around those who make fun of God and His decrees.
What the godly person chooses (vs. 2)
Delights in God’s Word
A godly person is one who takes his counsel or way of living from the Word of God. This is the source of strength, direction, and purpose for their life. The Word is a delight and they find it to be immensely interesting and relevant. Some have asked, “What does it mean to delight in the Word of God? Here is a man who is in love with a woman. He delights in her. He yearns to spend time with her. And when he is with her, he drinks in every word she speaks. He is intoxicated with her beauty. So it is with the godly person and the Word of God!
Meditates on God’s Word
The psalmist goes a step further. The godly person also meditates on the Word of God “day and night”. The word “meditate” means “to murmur or to mutter”. It literally means to speak to one’s self in a low voice. The Word of God is never far from the thoughts and considerations of a child of God. When he is depressed or distressed, he calls to mind it promises. When he is uncertain and perplexed, he considers its guidelines. When his sins loom before him, he ponders it’s message of love and forgiveness made available through Jesus Christ.
What the godly person realizes (vs. 3)
The outcome of the godly person’s refusing and choosing is not left in doubt. He will be “like a tree.” For quite some time I didn’t fully grasp what the psalmist was conveying here. Until I reflected upon my past travels to the Redwood National Forest in Northern California. I can distinctly recall the strength and stability of these mighty trees. They were trees of great beauty and refreshing shade. I also recalled the fruit trees found around the home of my grandparents and their fruitfulness. All of these things are found in the one who delights in the Word of God. We have strength and stability in our times of trouble. He manifests the virtues and qualities that are called the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). And such a life makes him beautiful and refreshing to others.
The wretchedness of the ungodly person (vs. 4-6)
The psalmist points out the difference by comparing the mighty tree to that of a chaff. The psalmist’s mention of chaff takes us back to the farming techniques of that time. The farmer would place the harvested wheat on a stone threshing floor and drive his oxen around it so that their hooves would separate the grain from the husks. He would then use a kind of fork or shovel to pitch the grain and the chaff in the air. The grain would fall to the floor to be preserved and the chaff would blow away.
John the Baptist tells us a day or separation is coming. Regarding Jesus Christ he shared, “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Those who choose to live apart from God and his people in this life will find that they will have no part with them in eternity. Those who stand with the ungodly in this life will not be able to stand with the righteous in the next.
I hope you can see the wisdom in this psalm and find ways to apply it to your own walk with God. There is no greater wisdom than adjusting our steps to be in accordance with the path He has set for each of us.
May God bless you richly!