Geeking About The Psalms: Psalm 1

Psalm 1, The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
1, Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands int he way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
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.

Verses 1-2

A common psalmic theme is the juxtaposition between obedience to God and disobedience to God, obedience resulting in rewards and disobedience resulting in judgement. “Blessed is the man” the psalm says. Being blessed is the state of one who places their trust in God and lives according to His commands. First, let’s define whom “the wicked” are. Simply put, the wicked are unrepentant sinners, whether they are unbelievers or false Christians—wolves in sheep’s clothing. By fake Christians I mean those who call themselves Christians but their actions don’t reflect true Christianity. Author Greg Groeschel has dubbed these types of people as “Christian Atheists” in his book with the same title—those who claim to be Christian but live as if He doesn’t exist. With these types of people, it is impossible to distinguish them from true atheists by their actions alone despite their professed faith because the wicked come in a myriad of shapes and sizes.
To “walk in the counsel of the wicked” is to spend a significant amount of time with such people. Such high exposure puts one at risk of “standing in the way of sinners,” which is to live in a sinful lifestyle while unrepentant. Such examples of this would be sexually active homosexuals and homosexual marriage, the practice of premarital sex without repentance, committing adultery, being a compulsive liar, a thief, a glutton, verbally and/or physically abusive, and the list goes on almost infinitely—doing any of these sins and others without repentance and without rebuking them (changing your ways). Lastly, to “sit in the seat of scoffers” is to be in the comfortable disposition of contempt. What does this mean? It is the act of hatred—allowing hate to boil deep within your soul until it spills from your mouth and even worse, your actions. Many Christians face such contempt from militant atheists. Indeed, even some Christians are guilty of being scoffers, and perhaps from spending too much time among them.
Rather than following these ways of the wicked, the Christian meditates on the ways of the Lord day and night. By meditate it does not mean the Buddhist practice, but rather to think deeply upon something. I’m at the point in my faith in that no matter what I’m doing, I’m almost constantly reflecting upon Scripture—determining my course of actions based upon God’s approval or disapproval.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way perfect; I fail many times because I’m a sinner. And when I do fail, I almost immediately change my course of action and/or repent. I don’t always do this, but whenever I do recognize a wrong I did, whether sooner or later, I reform my behavior because God enables me to do so, which any responsible Christian does. Take heed in your worldly associations; do not linger too long among ungodly influences, lest you be seduced.

Verses 3-6

Remaining cognizant in all these things and thus steadfast brings prosperity.  Verse 3 does not mean solely financial prosperity, although God can choose to operate in that way.  God has chosen to bless and sustain me financially multiple times.  Not with wealth (after all, I’m a poor college student), but simply financial security.  But He has blessed me more with inner peace (which comes from Christ—John 14:27), the joy of the Lord, and many more eternally significant things, though they be intangible.
The psalm says the wicked are blown away like chaff. Chaff is debris from the husk of wheat separated from grain that the harvester would toss into the air to be blown away by the wind. In stark contrast to this, the righteous remain rooted and fruitful, prospering in the ways of the Lord, never uprooted. Judgement will blow the wicked away, but the righteous will endure forever. Many sins may appear enticing, but they are infinitesimal compared to God’s coming judgement that they’ll be unable to withstand. The wicked may appear to prosper, but it’s always temporary. Compare the image to the right with the image of the tree provided at the beginning of this article. As Christians, we are righteous in Christ (Romans 3:22), and God plants His righteous people like trees next to a stream. We are rooted in Christ, and in Christ we are nourished by the waters of His Holy Spirit as He enables us to produce His fruits (see Galatians 5:22-23). The wicked, however, will be swept up and easily blown away like useless chaff. If unrepentant, the wicked will be blown away like chaff in God’s judgement, but the righteous will endure forever.

Psalm 1 Prayer

Here’s a prayer you can use to pray or as a guide to pray:
Father, keep me from walking in the counsel of the wicked. Keep me from their perishable ways. Help me to overcome my sin(s) of [list them here]. I can only overcome sin with Your strength. Help me to over come it [or them] and to annihilate any hatred in my heart. Make the words on my tongue sweet, ridding the bitterness. Father, I know I sometimes act like an enemy, but in my heart You know that I am an ally—I am Your child. Guide me towards prosperity so that glory may be given to Your name, not just from my mouth, but any who witness Your prosperity. Thank You for all You have done for me already [feel free to be specific]. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Ricky Beckett

Garrick Sinclair "Ricky" Beckett first started his Christian writing on a blog titled "The Lutheran Column" where he hires proficient Lutheran writers to convey biblical truth. Along with the blog, he also writes poetry, string quartets in music composition, enjoys doing photography, reading, and playing video games. Ricky is a graduate from Concordia University-Ann Arbor from the Pre-Seminary program with a major in Christian Thought and a minor in Theological Languages. Currently, Ricky is a seminarian at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis as he works on his Masters of Divinity to become a pastor in the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod).

Leave a Reply