PSALM 1 - The Blessed Man
- There is but one Man, who truly fits the description of this Psalm. It is for the rest of us to learn of Him.
- 1. 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.
- Blessed is the man...- The Hebrew is plural: 'O, the Blessenesses...'
- The blessed man is described negatively (in v.1) and positively (in v.2,3).
- that walketh not...- 'Not' is definite and exclusive.
- This 'negative' precludes those who would walk the fence, to dip a little into either side. There is a slippery progression to sin's character, which goes from bad to worse.
- the counsel of the ungodly...- The 'ungodly' live carelessly, without regard for God and His will.
- Their 'counsel' seems wise and reasonable in man's eyes. (eg., 'You only go around once: make the most of it.' - 'Do what feels good.' - 'Get what you can while you're young.')
- But such wisdom is foolishness with God. Jer 8:9; 1Cor 3:19
- the way of sinners...- 'Sinners' live in habitual and willful violation of God's will.
- They live in disobedience to God and make excuses for their ways.
- The 'way' of a sinner is his particular path of disobedience, by which he distances himself from God. See Prov 14:12; 16:2; Isa 55:7
- the seat of the scornful...- The 'scornful' scoff at godliness.
- They have convinced themselves that their wisdom and way is better than God's. Therefore, they laugh at the Law that condemns them.
- Their 'seat' suggests that they are set in their ways. It also suggests a position of authority and instruction. They are not only incorrigible, but they also teach and encourage others to be like them.
- walketh... standeth... sitteth...- Here is the progression of sin's entanglement:
- from giving passing heed to evil counsel,
- to considering and conforming to its practice,
- to conveying the worldly wisdom (which mocks the Truth of God's Word) to others.
- The positives, which characterize the blessed man, stand out in stark contrast.
- 2. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
- his delight... the law of the LORD.
- His greatest desire is to know God's Word and to do His will. Such a desire was demonstrated to us by Jesus Christ (eg., Psa 40:7,8; Joh 4:34; 8:29). This hunger, which is contrary to that of the sinful flesh, grows within those who are born again through faith in Him (1Pet 2:2).
- in His law doth he meditate...- to 'meditate' is to 'chew the cud.'
- God's Word is continually on his mind, to understand it, to obey it, to teach it.
- God's Word is the daily bread of God's children. Have you no hunger, or no taste for His Word? Then, you had best examine yourself to see whether you are a true believer. God places His Spirit within His children, to enable us to digest and assimilate His wisdom, so that we will grow more like our Savior. Prov 23:7; Jer 15:16; Deu 8:3; Mat 4:4; 1Cor 2:9-16
- 3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
- like a tree planted...- he is not a wild weed (Mat 15:13).
- Rather, he is a tree of righteousness (Isa 61:3).
- Our Savior is such a tree (see Isa 11:1; 53:2).
- by the rivers of water...- the blessed man is nourished by God's living Word (Isa 55:10,11)
- and by His life-giving Spirit (Joh 7:38,39).
- Trees do not wander, but remain in the place where they are planted. The One who planted them expects their roots to grow deep into the source of nutrition which He has provided in Himself (cp. 2Pet 3:18).
- brings forth... fruit in... season...-
- A tree does not strain to produce fruit. Rather, fruit is produced according to the nature of the life which God has given it. Thus, the fruit is really His fruit. His, also, are the changing seasons, which He allows to weather His tree.
Likewise, in a believer's life, the Holy Spirit produces various kinds of fruits, according to the varying need: love (to love the unloveable), joy (in spite of sorrow), peace and patience (in times of trial and suffering), goodness (when everyone else is bent on evil), faithfulness (when others turn back), self-control (in the face of temptation). (Gal 5:22,23)
[Christ's ministry also produces fruit according to its seasons. At His first coming, He came as the suffering servant to purchase our salvation. At His second coming, He will come as the conquering King to judge the world, and establish His Kingdom of righteousness.]
- his leaf shall not wither...-
- Notice that 'fruit' is mentioned before 'leaves.'
- Without fruit, leaves may be an empty show (eg., Mat 21:18,19). The cursed fig tree was a picture of Israel's empty religious ritual. Similarly, the reality of professed faith is demonstrated by what that faith produces (James 2:17,18). The fruit, which God's Spirit produces within the lives of believers, provides substance for what we say (1Cor 4:20).
- [Christ is our supreme example: Those who observed Jesus' earthly ministry, often mentioned the things that He did prior to the things that He said. See Luk 24:19; Acts 1:1]
- ...shall not wither...- The beauty of the believer's life should not fade or vacillate. The Lord's trees are ever-greens and continual fruit-bearers.
- How can this be? Because the life flowing within us, is His life, which bears fruit to God's glory (Joh 15:1-5). Even when Christ was 'cut-off,' He continued in the power of His endless Life (Psa 16:10; Joh 5:26).
- whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.-
- This is true prosperity, but not as natural men see it.
As there is a curse concealed in a wicked man's mercies, so there is blessing in a righteous man's crosses, losses and sorrows.
- Alternate translation: "Whatever it produces shall come to maturity."
The Holy Spirit's fruit will not be eaten by worms. God's purposes for His children will be brought to glorious fruition (Rom 8:28-30).
- 4. The ungodly [are] not so:
but [are] like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
- ...not so...- The contrast between the blessed man and ungodly men
- is drawn sharply, with a double negative, in the Hebrew text: "Not so the ungodly, not so..."
- the ungodly...- In v.1, the 'ungodly' were seen as beginners in evil.
- If their state is described here, how much worse is that of open sinners and scoffers?
- ...like chaff...- Chaff is the dead, dry, shell of the grain.
- It is worthless and nearly weightless. In ancient times, the chaff was separated from the valuable grain, at a threshing floor which was typically on a high windy location. The threshers would trample the grain to loosen the chaff. Then they would heave shovels full of grain up into the wind. The heavy grain would fall to the floor, the light chaff would blow away.
- Yet, before the harvest, the chaff and the grain were inseparable. In its close association with the wheat, the chaff was carefully gathered, stored, and preserved, until the time of separation came. Likewise, the ungodly presently enjoy some of God's blessings through association with God's children. But when He gathers His own to Himself, the ungodly will be blown away in judgment (cp. 'the wheat and the tares,' Mat 13:24-30,36-43).
- God's judgment discerns between redeemed sinners and unrepentant sinners. For example: Noah was separated from the ungodly world, which perished in the waters of judgment. Lot was separated from ungodly Sodom, which was destroyed by fire. Yet, because He was without sin, Christ was always 'separate from sinners' (Heb 7:26). As such, He is the ultimate blessed man (Mat 3:17), and the supreme standard of righteousness.
- 5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
- the ungodly shall not stand...- They will appear before the righteous Judge (Joh 5:21-30),
- but they will have no standing before Him (Rom 3:19; Rev 20:11-15).
- nor sinners in the congregation...
- Today, every church congregation is a mixed group, as the wheat and tares grow together (Mat 13:24-f). But in that day, God will gather His own peculiar people to Himself (Titus 2:11-14; Rev 19:7-9).
- 6. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous:
- He knows their way, because they are walking in His way. Are you committed to His Way (Joh 14:6)?
- but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
- The way of the ungodly leads to their destruction (Mat 7:13,14).
- Yet, notice that not only the ungodly, but also their way will perish.
- In Christ's Kingdom of righteousness, redeemed men will be given new hearts which desire only to please God. In that day, the counsel of the ungodly, the way of sinners, and the seat of the scornful will be banished forever.
This Concludes the study in Psalm 1.
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