1How blessed is the man who does not
Walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
4The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous,
6For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 1 was the first long passage of Scripture I memorized. I just loved it so much – and still do! It is such an encouragement to me, that the Lord knows my ways and that, unlike the wicked, I can stand with confidence in the judgment, because of Jesus.
In verse 1, the blessed man – or woman – does not do the things listed. But pay close attention to the progression of sin. It is so easy to fall into just ‘walking’ a little in the wrong way – a white lie here, a half-truth there.
If not caught and corrected through confession, she may find herself ‘standing’ in the way of sinners – not just passing through, taking a shortcut. No, this time the ungodly stands around, telling off-color jokes, gossiping, or belittling others. Again, confession will put her back on the path of the godly.
But if not…then the ungodly person ‘sits’ with scoffers. She has become comfortable enough with the company of the wicked that most of her free time is spent with them – and not for the purpose of being a light and sharing the gospel. No, this person enjoys the “loose living” (Luke 15:13) of the wicked, sinners, and scoffers. She has followed the awful progression of sin, and is enjoying the “passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25), instead of looking for the “well-done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21,23) from the Lord.
The downward spiral of sin is contrasted with the blessed life of the faithful believer, who delights in the Word and meditates in it day and night. The faithful believer is like a tree planted – not just haphazardly growing anywhere, but purposely placed “by the streams of water.” Who does the planting? Why, the Lord of course! He plants each believer exactly where He wants her – in the family, the job, the circumstances that will be most beneficial to making her into His beautiful “workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10).
This believer, this faithful follower of Jesus, has a promise in this psalm of prosperity. The prosperity spoken of here is not the worldly prosperity that so many seek. No, this is spiritual prosperity.
Spiritual prosperity is
- the ‘well done’ given to the faithful steward (1 Corinthians 4:2)
- the desiring of a “better country” (Hebrews 11:16)
- the greater reward of faithfulness (Hebrews 11:26)
- being fashioned in the likeness of Christ (Philippians 3:7-12)
- being filled with His spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9)
- being transformed in the mind (Romans 12:1-2)
- knowing your children walk in the truth (3 John 4)
- keeping yourself pure (1 John 3:3)
- loving others with the amazing love of God (1 John 4)
- and so much more!
Finally, we see that the LORD knows the way of the righteous. Because He is The Way (John 14:6). He is The Shepherd (Psalm 23; John 10:11-15) who shows the way. He is the Narrow Gate (Matthew 7:13, 14; John 10:7, 9) that leads to the way of righteousness.
Psalm 1 shows us all how to walk in righteousness!