Psalm 1:1-6: 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. (1) But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (2) 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. (3) The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. (4) Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. (5) For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
This is the first complete Psalm I ever memorized. I love how the Book of Psalms immediately starts with a blessing, don’t you? It sets the mood, if you will, for the precious writings we are about to read. Early in my salvation, a Youth Pastor’s wife recommended that I memorize Psalm 1 so I could learn to live a successful Christian life. I have turned to this Psalm many a time and am thankful the Lord put it in His Word. I want to be blessed by God, don’t you?
I never noticed how God grouped the thoughts found in these six verses into groups of threes.
I. The three blessings of the Godly:
(1) Blessed if I don’t walk in counsel of the ungodly – Noah Webster defines the word counsel as:
1. Advice; opinion, or instruction, given upon request or otherwise, for directing the judgment or conduct of another; opinion given upon deliberation or consultation.
I always thought counsel here meant “advice.” However, Noah defines it to include the advice or instruction of the ungodly as well. This opens things up a bit more. This not only includes the unsaved but the backslidden. It’s amazing how the backslidden love to take others with them in their sin so they do not have to sin alone. Therefore, to be blessed of God, you should get all your advice, opinions and instruction (dealing with the Word of God and life choices) by someone who is spiritually mature.
(2) Blessed if I don’t stand in way of sinners – The moment I was born again, I desired to be around other born-again Christians! I did not enjoy being around the ungodly friends of my pre-salvation days. In fact, my spirit picked up on every little ungodly thing they said or did. I no longer enjoyed their company and truly desired to be around Christians so I could talk about the Lord. There is nothing that provides more blessing than to be around believers who love the Lord and talk about Him and glorify Him in their words.
(3) Blessed if I don’t sit in the seat of the scornful – You’ve been around the unsaved who mock God in word and deed so you know exactly what this verse says. They laugh at sin, their life style and curse God. They live in the “here and now” and do not fear death and hell. In fact, how many times have you heard someone say that they would go to hell and join their friends and have a party? The Christian will be blessed if he stays away from these scorners. I know that when I am around a scorner, my spirit is unsettled. The work place always seems to have one or two of these. I am uncomfortable around them and we butt heads because of their mouth. I am not rude to the scorner but I will not allow the scorner to mock my God. Unfortunately today, we are seeing believers becoming pansies in this area. I have personally seen believers keep silent when God is mocked! This reminds me of: I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luk 18:8
Time and time again in my devotionals I have found that life’s blessings come from being in the Word of God. How true verse 2 is! I am blessed because my delight is in the Word! Noah Webster defines the word delight as
A high degree of pleasure, or satisfaction of mind; joy.
Do you receive a high degree of pleasure by being in the Word? If not, it may be because you are not in the Word enough. It’s not necessarily the quantity of words you read but the time you spend chewing and meditating on what you have read. Since I started writing devotionals a year ago, I have gleaned so much more from the Word than I had in my previous 26 years of salvation! I would occasionally get a gold nugget from the Lord in my studies – but now, I get them daily because I’m writing about them.
So David taught us how to be blessed by staying away from certain things in life. The outcome of obeying his counsel in the first two verses lead to three blessings as a result.
(1) I will receive spiritual nourishment – Verse 3 says that I will be like a tree planted by water. The lawn at my house has not received rain in quite a while. We water it but not enough. You don’t see the dry grass and drooping leaves of trees, however, near a brook, do you? The water is ever flowing and that tree thrives because it is thoroughly nourished and continuously nourished. So are we when we heed the counsel of the Word of God. We won’t wonder what to do in certain situations because we have already consulted the Word and we know what God wants us to do.
(2) I will bring forth fruit in its season – My walk and my talk will reflect my Christianity. I will not be a hypocrite but will be living what I believe. Not only will my actions be a testimony to the ungodly but my words should be leading them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as well. As I grow in Christ, I will be more fruitful.
(3) I will prosper – I doubt very much this means prospering financially or all Christians would be rich. What I believe this to mean is that my decisions in life will prosper when I seek the counsel of the Godly; when I don’t let the ungodly influence me; when I’m in the Word and know God’s will for my life.
There are three things that happen to the ungodly.
(1) They will be like the chaff – Noah Webster defines the word chaff as:
2. Refuse; worthless matter; especially that which is light, and apt to be driven by the wind. In scripture, false doctrines, fruitless designs, hypocrites and ungodly men are compared to chaff. Psa 1:4; Jer 23:28; Isa 33:11; Mat 3:12.
Whatever the ungodly speaks or does is considered to be worthless. Their words and deeds will not stand the test of eternity in Heaven. They will not prosper – they will miss that great gift of salvation.
(2) They will not stand in the judgment – This reminds me of a court scene when the defendant has to testify. He can lie all he wants but when the jury has finished deliberation, the defendant must stand and face them to receive his verdict. God’s verdict is always just. The ungodly will not be able to stand in his defense because he will see all his sins the way God sees them. It is then he will realize what a goner he truly is. It will be too late. The small amount of joy the ungodly received while living on earth will be replaced with an eternity of torments. What a huge price to pay for a short time of ungodly pleasure.
(3) The way of the ungodly will perish – The Lord is emphatic here. The ungodly will perish! Not only will the ungodly slip into eternity in the lake of fire, his way will perish as well. I was thinking about the “way” spoken of and it reminded me of the snowfalls we had in Northern Maine when I lived up there. We would go walking in our snowshoes to enjoy the beautiful evergreens. We had to be sure that we knew our way because if snow started falling, our trail
would get covered up and we would lose our way back home. The way of the ungodly is the same – the sinner can enjoy his wicked life and think that his way is wonderful. But his trail is no better than that of the trail being covered by snow fall. Christians will live for eternity in Heaven with God and His way will always remain. But the way of the ungodly will perish right along with the ungodly!
What a beautiful way to start the Book of Psalms! David set a pattern that provided wisdom and instruction for the believer! The way of the Godly will lead us to that glorious day when we shall behold the Lord Jesus Christ! We will finally meet Him and be with Him for all eternity. We will get to meet those dear saints we have read about in the Word – those precious martyrs whose accounts are penned in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – those dear saints we have met on the internet but not face-to-face! What a day that will be – all because we followed the counsel of Psalm 1!
The Happy Crowning Day
Eliza E. Hewitt
There’s an hour which no man knoweth,
Nor the angels round the throne,
When the Lord shall come in glory from the sky;
All the saints shall rise to meet Him,
For He calleth for His own;
They shall hear the trumpet sounding by and by.
Are you ready? ready?
Looking for the King?
Ready, while you labor, watch and pray?
Are you ready? ready?
Looking for the King?
Ready for the happy crowning day?
What a blessed transformation,
In the twinkling of an eye,
When the mortal shall immortal life put on!
Those who love Him shall be like Him,
When He cometh from on high,
At the noontide, at the midnight, or at dawn.
Though our sins have been as scarlet,
Let us seek the streams that flow
From the cross that rose on Calv’ry’s rugged height;
He is able still to keep us,
And present us white as snow,
When He comes again, as clouds of dazzling light.