Psalm 1: Some Reflections
So, I’ve been using ScriptureTyper.com to memorize passages, and I really cannot recommend it enough. One of the first passages I memorized was Psalm 1, and I wanted to share some of my reflections.
1:1 – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
There are real and concrete blessings, both temporal and eternal, that are found in abstaining from the sinful desires of the flesh. This isn’t really speaking so much about the company we keep, that is to say, it isn’t saying avoid men who are described as wicked, sinners, or scoffers. Moreso, it is saying that the pattern of our life should not be the same as the pattern of theirs. While I think that this Psalm Christologically points us to the only man whose life truly was not marked by these things, it also calls us to a standard of living which emulates his own.
1:2 – but his delight is in the law of the LORD and on his law he meditates day and night.
The way given to us by God to walk not in the counsel of the wicked is to take the counsel of the LORD seriously. We do this by meditating on his law, which is profitable for teaching, correction, rebuke, and for equipping us for righteousness. We should meditate on it day and night, which means it should be in our hearts, minds, and on our lips.
1:3 – 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.
When our lives are marked out by the fact that we walk in the counsel of the LORD, rather than the counsel of the wicked, what we find is that that counsel is made effective to give us life (by the power of God’s Spirit working in us). In due time we will bear fruit, just as a tree which has the proper nourishment and hydration will bear fruit. When we do as the LORD commands, we will prosper. This may not be a temporal prosperity, although it often is.
1:4 – The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
It strikes me that the word wind is also the same word used of the Spirit. The wicked, that is, those who walk in the counsel of the wicked rather than in the counsel of the LORD, are the worthless leftovers of the harvest. They bear no fruit, and they are nothing but withered leaves. The wind drives them away, just as someday the Spirit of judgment will look upon their fruitless lives and drive them away.
1:5 – Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
In the last day, when all stand before God’s judgment, those who may be described as wicked will fall. Just as the autumn wind drives the withered and dead leaves off of the tree to rot under the snow or be burned, God’s judgment will destroy those who have not born fruit according to the law of the LORD. God’s people will be a congregation of those who are righteous, who have been confirmed to the image of his glorious Son, not those who persist in their fallen estate because of their stubborn refusal to submit to God’s commands.
1:6 – for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
In the final judgment, God will look upon the way of the righteous, and he will know it. That is, he will be intimately acquainted with their pattern of life, and the good works they have done will be accepted by him and will bring him pleasure. They will not be why he accepts them, but he knows their way nonetheless. This is contrasted with the way of the wicked, which not only will lead to the perishing of the wicked, but itself will perish. Their sinful acts will be no more, their pattern of life itself will be forgotten as they are cast away from the presence of the LORD and out of the congregation of his people.