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.
1. The Psalm contrasts the righteous and the wicked. The righteous are those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His finished work on the Cross. They are those saved by the blood of Jesus and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. They are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, not the rags of their own righteousness. The wicked are those who are unbelievers, who refuse to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour, who reject the gospel of salvation. The contrast in this Psalm is between the believer and the unbeliever.
2. It is a practical Psalm because our God is a practical God. You say you are a believer in Christ, but what about your testimony in this world? The first verse talks about the world. Are you separated from the world? Are you still having friendship with the world? Are you sitting, standing or walking with the unrighteous, those who hate God and reject Christ? Or, are you taking a stand for God? Are you standing up for the Lord Jesus Christ? Every believer is a stranger and pilgrim in this world.
3. Are you following ‘the counsel of the ungodly’? That is: are you seeking worldly advice, and adopting worldly wisdom? Are you ‘standing in the way of sinners’? That is: are you on the pleasure-loving broad way that leads to destruction or are you on the narrow way that leads to life? Are you ‘sitting in the seat of scoffers’? There are ‘seats’ (or chairs) in the universities of this world, where men of worldly knowledge and science scoff at the Bible and mock God. Are you siding with them? Or are you standing up for God?
4. The second verse talks about the Word of God. In the Old Testament, it is called the law of the Lord. Every Christian lives by the word of God, Matt 4:4. The word of God should be our delight. When we meditate on the word of God, it should be to us like milk and honey. Do we have a taste for God’s word? Or are we still having a relish for the world? For worldly entertainment? Worldly shows? Worldly movies? Worldly pleasures?
5. Do you know that many who call themselves Christians are ignorant of the word of God. They have never read the Bible through even once. Worldly thoughts, ideas, imaginations, schemes, plans, interests and pastimes have infiltrated into the lives of Christians. We do not have a love for the Holy Scriptures. The word of God is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword (Heb 4:12); but to most Christians, it is just ‘the dull and boring Bible’! We have never heard the voice of the Lord; we have no ear for the still small voice of the Spirit speaking to us from God’s word.
6. If only we learnt to meditate upon the word of God, our meditation would lead to revelation. God’s light will shine through God’s word. Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path, Psalm 119:105. It is the spoken word that strengthens our faith (Rom 10:17) and builds up our inner man. Alas, not many know about the inner man of the spirit, because they waste their lives walking in the outer man of the flesh.
7. The third verse tells us about the Holy Spirit. He is the river of living water that produces fruit in our life. Christians, if you are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, you do not belong to Christ. (Rom 8:9b). We are the trees planted by the holy stream, and our roots dig deep into the water of life to enable us to bring forth the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
8. Of course, the fruit comes ‘in due season’. We have to wait, because it is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises of God. (Heb 6:12, 15). Furthermore, because we are watered by the Lord, our leaf will never wither. We will always be fresh and green. We will become like oaks of righteousness planted in God’s field, Isaiah 61:3.
9. What about the wicked? Those who have rejected the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord? They are like chaff. The wind will blow them away; they will not be seen any more. At the time of God’s final judgment, the wicked will be cast into everlasting fire. Yes, there is eternal punishment. The Bible speaks of heaven and hell. And no matter how much you wish it were not so, the reality of hell remains to trouble the guilty conscience of the wicked. Today, people laud worldly wisdom, worldly achievement, and seek after worldly influence, worldly power; but the day will come when the world will be reduced to nothing in the fires of God’s eternal judgment. The wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. The rebellious nations are like a drop in a bucket, like dust in a balance (Isaiah 40:15); they are less than nothing, and vanity (Isaiah 40:17).
10. The reality of God’s final judgment (what the Bible calls the Great White Throne Judgment) is ignored by the people of the world, and even by many so-called Christians who are living worldly and carnal lives. But the time will come, when God will separate the righteous from the wicked, and the ‘congregation of the righteous’ (which is the church of saints/believers from across the world and across the centuries, Rev 7:9) will be viewed with astonishment by a world that has had its eyes opened to God’s glory at last. 2 Thess 1:10.
11. The last verse says the Lord knows the way of the righteous. It is the Lord who knows. He watches us in our secret moments. He is the Father who sees in secret, Matt 6:4, 6. He sees our ‘way’, the way we live. God is concerned about our testimony. There are many who profess to know God, who will be put to shame on that final day. The Lord knows those who belong to Him, 2 Tim 2:19. He is the Shepherd who goes before His sheep, leading them into God’s presence. But the ungodly, the wicked, the God-haters and those who reject Christ, will be cast into the lake of fire. They shall perish.
12. This first Psalm is, in a way, a summary of the whole Bible. God is telling us very clearly that if we do not separate ourselves from this wicked world, and walk as Christian and Faithful did in their walk through Vanity Fair (read The Pilgrim’s Progress!) – then God Himself will separate the righteous from the wicked at the time of Eternal Judgment. The sinners will be separated from the saints, the sheep from the goats, and there will be a great weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Remember: ‘the way of the ungodly shall perish!’