THOUGHTS ON PSALM 1
“(1) Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers; (2) but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
(3) 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. (4) The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
(5) Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; (6) for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
From God’s point-of-view, it does matter with whom you hang out. The idea here is that those who would worship God genuinely must grasp His teachings and own the Lord’s values as a daily manner of life. This Psalm encourages us to desire to be more and more Christ-like in our daily walk, talk and actions. Your friends that you spend the most time with, those individuals you confide in, those individuals to whom you seek advice and those who matter to you most are an indication of the source of your eternal values and your personal “world view”. If you are truly desirous of God’s manifold blessing, you cannot stay on the fence, i.e., claiming to love the Lord with all your heart yet participating with what may be the worst this world has to offer. The blessing of God requires a commitment, i.e., a separation from the world even as you live in the world (see II Corinthians 6:16-7:1).
In addition, if others watched you live out your life, what would they say was your “delight”? Watching TV? Your iPhone or iPad? Your work or your career? Your family? Money? Material possessions? What would it be? What does it mean “….his delight is in the law of the Lord”? Perhaps a lesson from Moses would help! In Exodus 33:13, Moses says, “If you [the Lord] are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.” Now that is taking delight in the law of the Lord! You see, Moses did not ask to see more clearly all the things God does; Moses did not want to know more about God. He wanted to know His ways. If that is your delight, a key characteristic you must learn is “silence” before the Lord. You must learn the Shepherd’s voice! Why is that important? Let’s gain some insight from John 10:2-4: “The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice”. If your “delight” is in the Lord, He will make His voice known to you. Jesus, in John Chapter 10, said so; the Bible says so. Do you believe that? Then silence, listen, learn, heed, and follow.
As I read verse 3, I looked upon the trees in my yard. Strong, deep roots; a straight, solid truck; limb structure and leaves that are beautiful. I could drive my truck into these trees at 30-40 miles per hour and the tree would be immovable; the truck would be destroyed!! The winds blow through the branches and rustle the leaves, sometimes in dramatic fashion, yet the trunks are immovable. Is your life like “a tree planted….”? Though circumstances slam into you at what seems like 30-40 mph, do you remain firm in your faith in Jesus Christ? Is your relationship with the Lord immovable? Are life’s circumstances of no matter to you? Tough questions. One should not answer “yes” too quickly to those probing questions. To glibly and cavalierly answer these questions without grasping the present and eternal significance of these questions is to leave yourself open to distress, anxiety and worry when the first serious test of your faith comes along.
Are you, or are you not, a tree planted? Firm, growing, strong, immovable? If you are “a tree planted”, then know and grasp God’s promises in this Psalm:
(1) You will yield fruit in season. Your life will show forth the glory and majesty of God. Like fruit on a tree, it will be seen; it will be noticed. A tree has no voice to shout out what it possesses and has to offer but rarely are the fruit of the tree missed by those who observe the tree. What fruit does your family see? Your co-workers? Your neighbors? Your friends?
(2) Your “leaf” will not wither. Does this simply refer to your external appearance? Will you always have some youthful look while planted by streams of water? While all that may truly happen within the marvelous grace of God, the “leaf” of the tree refers more to the essence of the beauty of the tree. If the leaf does not wither, then all the life giving flow of water and nutrients are occurring in the life of that leaf. In John 7:38, Jesus said, “If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me. as the Scriptures have said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” What water! What life! No withering going on in that life! What beauty will there to behold in that life, that leaf, connected to the living water of Christ!
(3) Whatever you do will prosper! Wow!! How can anything be added to that promise? What is excluded from this promise? Nothing! Whether it is marriage, raising a family, a career, church involvement, or whatever, it is included. A promise to prosper has been given. Does this promise speak only to financial prosperity? Not hardly. If anything, it speaks primarily to prosperity of relationships; close, intimate, trusting, secure. First and foremost is the relationship with the Lord God Almighty and His precious Son, Jesus Christ. Then it includes all other relationships that cross your life’s path. Does this prosperity include anything else? It likely includes the prosperity of character traits such as honesty, integrity, compassion, lovingkindness, forgiving attitude, self-control, faith, love, charity, gentleness, joyfulness, serenity and peace. This is the prosperity that matters for time and eternity. Earthly prosperity may come also but remember, it is earthly.
The next two verses of Psalm 1 also contain promises from God that will just as surely happen and therefore should be considered with soberness of mind. All the promises described above in verse 3 are not available to the wicked. For the wicked, there can be no fruit, only withered leaves and certainly no prosperity to the many aspects of life. So just who are the “wicked”? The dictionary would tell you they are ones who are evil, immoral and sinful. How could one so described stand before the Lord? They cannot for as the verse says, “…… the wicked will not stand in the judgement…….”, a judgement that will be conducted by God himself. What possibly could the wicked even say before God to justify their wickedness? Absolutely nothing. I can only picture complete silence and an incredible desire by the wicked to get out of the light of God’s holiness. You see, they love darkness, even when faced with eternal judgement. They cannot sit with or be associated with “the assembly of the righteous”. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Husks and chaff being devoid of substance must fly before the wind…..”. So tragic, for as the verse states, “They are like chaff that blows away…..”.
But let us stop for just a moment. Are these verses simply written as a comparison of promises for the believer as opposed to the wicked? While this comparison clearly shows the blessing versus the condemnation, there is more here than just that.
If, as a believer, you fully by faith grasp these wonderful promises, and as a believer fully grasp the eternal consequences facing the wicked, are not these verses “a call” for every believer to seek the lost for Christ? Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” That was Christ’s purpose in redemption. Do not these verses in Psalm 1 call us as believers to bring that plan of salvation, of redemption, to the wicked? We must not sit by comfortably as Christians with the great promises of this Psalm directed to us; we must seek out those in our circle of life who know not Christ as Savior.
Like Paul so wonderfully states in Colossians 1:28-29 “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.” As a believer in Christ do I labor and struggle to see one described as “wicked” become one described as “redeemed”? This is a call for action; actually it is a call to belief. Do you understand and believe God’s promises to both the believer and the wicked? I hope so because of the very last verse of Psalm 1.
After reading this verse, do you “get it”? Both pathways of life are secure and set in their eternal outcomes. But by the grace of God and through the shed blood of Christ, the wicked can move from the perishing pathway to the pathway of life. Are we surrendered to God in order that we may be a useful tool in His service?
Let us, with Paul, proclaim Him, the Lord Jesus Christ.