I have always loved Psalm 1. In beautiful imagery it exhorts believers to find their delight in the Lord through His Word and it warns unbelievers of their precarious state. I have taught on it numerous times, memorized it and prayed through it. And yet, recently as I was once again meditating upon this wonderful Psalm the Lord highlighted two implications that I am not sure I sufficiently appreciated before. This of course is the joy of meditating on Scripture. The Spirit of God continues to enable you to mine out the truths that He intends to build you up with into Christ-likeness.
Here is the text of the Psalm: How 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! 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He 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. 4 The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish (Psalm 1:1-6).
Implication #1: If it is true that the blessed person (the believer) negatively speaking does not “walk in the counsel of the wicked, not stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers” then what is the positive implication? Actually the text explicitly states the positive implication this way: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” As I was praying over that and applying it to myself and asking the Lord to continue to work among us as a church in this area, another unstated implication came to mind. If the believer negatively speaking does not listen to the world, but rather listens to the Word, then what positive implications does that have regarding listening to the right people in this life? In other words, who do we “walk in the counsel of, stand in the path of, or sit in the seat of?” Part of delighting in God’s Word is choosing to listen to those around us who are full of God’s Word. It means that just as we ought not to drink from the fountain of the world’s counsel so we should drink deeply from the counsel of mature Christians in as much as they are pointing us to the LORD revealed in the Bible, the LORD we delight in. So who are you listening to: The world and those who make it up or to the LORD in His Word? And by implication, are you listening to those who are filled with His Word and are pointing you to His Word?
Implication #2: This Psalm very clearly has a contrast between the righteous and the unrighteous, the believer and the unbeliever, the godly and the ungodly. Everyone agrees that verses 1-3 refer to the righteous/believers and at v. 4 it transitions to the unrighteous/unbelievers. I have always recognized that there is a contrast here, but I never before fully appreciated the fact that when verse 4 says “The wicked are not so” it assumes that believers (in contrast to the wicked) are as verses 1-3 describe them. On the surface this might sound so patently obvious it is painful to hear that I just discovered this from Psalm 1! But the implications of this observation may not be as obvious as you might think at first. How is the believer described in verses 1-3? Let me put it this way: The believer chooses to delight in the revelation of God, fill their mind daily with that revelation of God and consciously choose to cut themselves off from worldly philosophies. In other words, this text knows nothing about a believer who does not turn away from the world’s philosophies and who does not delight in the Word of God. What impact should that have on us? It should invite us to consider our own level of turning away from the philosophies of the world and delighting in the Word of God. When the LORD revealed a portrait of a blessed person (that is a believer in contrast with unbelievers), He chose to say that this is normal: Delight in the Word, and constant meditation on the Word. Sometimes we sanction our disobedience in these areas based on classifying such thoughts as “extreme,” but this is normal Christianity. I trust you are a blessedly normal Christian desperate to meet with God in His Word daily and longing to fill your mind more and more with His truth.
Of course this turning away from the world’s counsel and delighting the LORD’s in His Word must be a Christ-centered turning away from and delight in. The following text from a musical rendition of Psalm 1 will emphasize this reality:
Psalm 1—O HOW VAST THE BLESSINGS (Text by Joe Tyrpak)
O how vast the blessings to the man who flees
Company with those who love iniquity!
But in God’s instruction he takes deep delight,
Fixing his attention on it day and night.
Lovers of the Lord’s Law are supremely blessed:
Rooted firm and fruitful, strong through every test.
As a tree well-watered cannot be removed,
So the righteous prosper, ever yielding fruit.
But ungodly sinners like the chaff will be:
Windblown throughout life, then lost eternally.
At God’s throne of judgment, sinners will not stand.
They at God’s pronouncement will be justly damned.
Not so for the righteous! God knows us by name.
We before His throne will saving grace proclaim!
Christ alone is righteous and supremely blessed.
We whom God deems righteous in His robes are dressed.
Bearing godly fruit through Christ, the living Vine;
Stayed forever sure on Christ, the Rock Divine.
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