“The Psalms can and should be part of the constant practice of the presence of God. Regularly read from beginning to end, they lead us again and again to consider aspects of life and of God’s will that we might not otherwise choose to remember or confront—let alone to embody in our living. Memorized in chunks the Psalms can provide ready response to the pressing realities of our days. When I have wakened in a panic in the darkness of the early morning hours—submerged in fear, self-pity, or self-doubt—the Psalms have often provided the assurance that my anxieties are known by God, who enlightens my dark places. So, I encourage you to make the Psalms your constant companion. Keep a copy at hand, and keep their words in your mind and heart and on your lips as you meet the challenges of your days and nights.”
Gerald Wilson, The NIV Application Commentary, Psalms Vol. 1
This Psalm divides all of humanity into two categories : the blessed man and the wicked man . This is a familiar division in the Scriptures:
· children of God and children of the devil,
· saved and lost,
· light and darkness,
· sheep and goats
This division is already seen in Genesis 3 : the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman! We must hold to these two categories in our preaching. The people we preach to must be very conscious as to what category they belong to.
The theme of this Psalm is the present and future blessedness, and the present and future misery of the wicked.
The structure is very simple: it divides into two parts: Verses 1-3 is about the blessed man, and 4-6 is a description of the wicked man .
The word “blessed” carries the meaning of a deep-seated joy, delight, satisfaction, and contentment in God. It refers to a “holy happiness.”
1 . THE BLESSED MAN :
Negatively: V.1 What a godly, happy man does not do and where he does not go.
a. “he does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly” - the blessed man is not a follower of the teaching of the wicked . The basis of our knowledge is very important . What we believe leads to what we do and what we become . (epistemology always gives birth to ethics) . When we begin in the wrong place we will end up in the wrong place . Your starting point is important . The place where the believer begins is with the knowledge of God’s Word and not with worldly wisdom .
b. “he does not stand in the way of sinners” - the blessed man is not one who desires to hang around with the wicked , the sinners , the scoffers . This does not mean that he spends no time in their company - in that case he would have to leave the world . It also does not mean that the blessed or righteous man refuses to reach out to sinners with the gospel . No ! It is just that the company of the ungodly is not attractive to him , and it will not be his first choice .
c. “ he does not sit in the seat of scoffers” - A scoffer is one who mocks and despises God’s Word, God’s cause in the world , and God’s people. A righteous man cannot be found there . It is impossible for Him to do both , bless God and curse God . James wisdom helps us here : “ Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water ? “
Please note that there is a downward progression in verse 1 : walk , stand , sit . You cannot help walking through an ungodly world . You cannot avoid the wicked man , the sinner and the scoffer . Once you stand still and sit and camp among ungodly people and when you begin to take your direction from there , then you have lost your spiritual direction and therefore your experience of blessedness.
This however , we are assured is not where the blessed man finds himself
a. “his delight is in the law of the Lord” - Again , please note that apart from avoiding the company of the ungodly , he also does not first seek the company of godly people; his first companion is the Word of God ! That’s what he delights in; to delight in the Word of God is to delight in the God of the Word. Delighting in the Word of God is essential. What is it essential for? For our salvation. If we do not delight in the Word of God at all, we have no reason to believe that we are saved. It is essential for our happiness, for our fruitfulness, for our perseverance, and for our prosperity (all in verse 3). The danger of camping in the company of the godly , without being a healthy feeder yourself , is that you live off the spirituality of others , and the danger is that when they crash , you crash . You must develop a robust relationship with God through His Word .
b. “on his law he meditates day and night ” - His life is clearly directed by one Word ! All the issues of life are settled for him by this one Word . He makes it his aim to be a man of one word . When you prick him , His blood is bibline . This was said of John Bunyan !
c. “This man is like a tree planted by streams of water….” . He is planted in an environment that will produce fruit , and this is true biblical prosperity.
2. THE WICKED MAN
a. He is spiritually bankrupt : The wicked man‘s greatest deficiency is not only in the moral sense ( he walks in the counsel of the wicked; stands in the way of sinners; sits in the seat of scoffers ) ; his greatest deficiency is his absence of delight in the law of the Lord ( the Word of God ) .
b. The consequence is that he has no weight to hold him down when the issues of life begin to unsettle him : “He is like chaff that the wind drives away “ ( v.4) . The New Testament analogy may be found in Matthew 7:24-27 . His foundations are woefully insufficient to withstand the real and ultimate issues of life . He cannot stand before God by his own wisdom and strength . A man or woman may be naturally strong all their life , but the day will come when their bodies will become frail , and they will be reduced to nothing , and when they die , they will find themselves woefully unprepared for the ultimate questions of life . This leads us to the next thought in verse 5 .
c. The downfall of the wicked man : “the wicked will not stand in the judgement , nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous “ (verse 5) . Two things are worth considering here : A wicked , ( better described as a godless man ) has no advocate in the great judgement of the last days . He also has no basis for entrance into heaven : the congregation of the righteous on earth will be the congregation of the righteous in heaven . The blood of Christ - the sign and seal of the eternal covenant , received by grace through faith alone provides for our access into church membership ( unfortunately churches have not been good in discerning this) ; it certainly will be our only access into heaven .
3. THE "BOTTOMLINE" :
The Lord knows the destinies of both – the righteous , blessed man and the wicked , miserable man .
However , experientially , and from our perspective the basis of deciding where we would stand begins with what we make of the law of God .
If you love worldly ways and worldly wisdom more , that will lead you to into an everlasting perishing . You will not stand in the judgement; you will not be found in the congregation of the righteous . You will not enter heaven . The law of God will accuse you , and no attorney will be able to deliver you from its righteous charges .
But if by grace you love the law of God , you will stand in the judgement . You will not be accused , and you will stand in the congregation of the righteous .You will have your great attorney , the Lord Jesus Christ to justify and defend you . But there is more . Through the work of the Holy Spirit who is the Sanctifier you will also be able to gladly love and obey the law , thus showing yourself to be an obedient child of God .
Who is shaping your thinking ?
Your eternal destiny depends upon an accurate , honest answer to this question !