This blessed Psalm 1, untitled, is a good foundation to all the Psalms that follow. It contrasts the ways of life of the godly with those of the ungodly. The imagery here is interesting. “Man” as used in this Psalm is not limited to the male gender. A more inclusive word is “humankind.”
Some individuals in Scripture are often likened to the changing grass, fading flowers, or objects which pass away quickly. But notice the contrast here. It is not the flower that is here today and gone tomorrow, but a tree that God likens to a righteous person. Notice the imagery of the ungodly individual who is compared to chaff, which is merely a shell, a husk. There is no substance, no roots, no life, no aim, no value, and no future. Turn to Psalm 1:1-6 as we consider the contrast God gives to two kinds of individuals:
1. The Godly Individual (Psalm 1:1-3). This Psalm, like Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, begins with the beatitude, “blessed.” This is not a shout of exclamation, but a description of the character of the righteous. This is the spiritual condition of every child of God: They are happy, blessed by God, through Christ, in all circumstances, and from now until eternity. They are also:
A. Identified. It is good sometimes to know what a godly person will not do! “Walking in the counsel of the ungodly” means one doesn’t participate in hidden plots of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor participate in what they do, nor consent to what scoffers and scorners are saying. That is not to say such an individual is sinless, or perfect, but is guarded by “the One who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24 KJV).
B. Interested. Positively this individual is wrapped up in God and His Word. To delight in God’s Word means to long inwardly. It is not just an outward show but speaks to the heart and brings delight after the inner man. Such a person meditates upon Scripture because it is food for the soul, something one is in often, day and night. The psalmist declared: “Your word is so pleasing to my taste buds— it’s sweeter than honey in my mouth” (Psalm
119:103 CEV)! Counsellors have observed that parents spend only seventeen minutes a day talking with their kids. I wonder how much time do we spend in God’s Word?
C. Illustrated. “Like a tree,” planted, not self-sown, but placed into position by God’s hand, planted and rooted in Christ, and bringing forth much fruit. Jesus said: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8 NIV). God’s children are not withered plants. They are like evergreens planted in the fertile soil of God’s grace. They are spiritually alive and do not lose their salvation.
D. In Clover. This has nothing to do with the “get rich prosperity gospel” false teachers peddle. It is a spiritual slang expression meaning the godly are prosperous, not in a carnal worldly sense, not simply displaying an empty profession, but a lifestyle that is honest, successful, and truthful in practice. III John 2 NKJV adds: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” Psalm 92:12-14 GW concludes the righteous will flourish like palm trees, grow tall like cedars, planted and blossom in God’s
house, be fruit bearing in old age, and be healthy and fresh.
2. The Ungodly Individual (Psalm 1:4-6). Commentator Matthew Henry notes that: “The ungodly are the reverse of the righteous, both in character and condition. The ungodly are not so, ver. 4; they are led by the counsel of the wicked, in the way of sinners, to the seat of the scornful; they have no delight in the law of God; they bring forth no fruit but what is evil.”
A. Described. Woodrow Kroll, Bible expositor, states: “Those who are not planted by the rivers of water (the Word of God) are not saved and therefore are intrinsically worthless, without substance and easily carried away.” Note that the chaff benefits from privileges while it is joined to the wheat, but after thrashing it is proven worthless. The ungodly also experience many blessings because of the godly, but someday the redeemed will part company with them.
B. Doomed. There is coming a time of judgment when the Lord will separate the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats, and the trees from the chaff. At the judgment of the great white throne, Jesus says to the ungodly, “You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You do not impress me one bit. You’re out of here.” (Matthew 7:23 MSG). One day the wicked person’s way will end in ruin; a new order is coming, and it will be a righteous order.
This Psalm begins with blessed believers and ends with lost sinners. Two individuals, two ways, two destinies. One leads to life and blessedness. The other, without God and His Word, leads down a dead-end street to death. You cannot read Psalm 1 without wondering about your own future. If you want to go to Heaven, you will have to go God’s way. His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). But if you are among the blessed of God, you can be a blessing to others, especially those who are the chaff headed for eternal fire.
Therefore, let us try to win as many of them as we can!