Psalm 1 — The Righteous and the Ungodly

Psalm 1

1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

We have here an instruction manual, of sorts — perhaps it would be better to say a set of guidelines for the one who would follow God. It might be somewhat confusing, because it is a sort of negative illustration. It is a list of things not to do.

“Blessed” is how the Hebrew is most frequently translated, but “Happinesses” is a more accurate rendering– notice the plural. It does not encompass only a single aspect of one’s life, but all aspects of life: work, family, friends, finances — you name it.

The rest of verse 1 tells us how this happiness is achieved or how one can be blessed. It is simple: Do not  take guidance from the ungodly. What is illustrated here is a progression of falling farther and farther away from God.

First, a person takes and follows the advice of another who is ungodly — has no relationship with God — one who follows his own path — the path of the world. This next leads to standing solidly with the ungodly, and finally, the degeneration of a person continues to to the point when he is actually sitting with the ungodly and scorning or ridiculing those who follow God. First you walk , then you stand, finally you sit.

Verse 2 contrasts the attitude of the Godly man who is blessed with those illustrated in verse 1 — the ungodly. Instead of scoffing at the Law of God, the one who walks with God takes delight in the Law and meditates upon the word of God. In Christianity, when we say “meditate” we do not mean to follow the new age practices or some of the eastern religions where the mind is emptied of all thought — I believe that doing so leaves us vulnerable to evil influences. No, meditating for the Godly means to read the word of God and digest it — read and re-read it, think about it, apply it to our lives.

If this is the course we take, we will reap the benefits as shown in verse 3. Most importantly: We will prosper in all that we do. I can testify to that — God has bestowed so much to me and my family in the way of guidance and protection and provision — I never cease to marvel. The way of the ungodly reaps some rewards that are quite different.

The ancient way of threshing grain crops was to find a location on a hill or somewhere that the wind would blow. When the harvest was cut and dried and gathered, a small portion of the grain harvest would be placed on a blanket and two people would work the blanket just right, making the grain fly up, into the air above the blanket and then fall back onto it. The process was repeated.

As the grain is repeatedly tossed and caught, it loosens from the surrounding husk and when it separates, the husk, being lighter, flies away with the wind, leaving only the fruit, or nut of the grain which can then be ground into flour. Verse 4 states that the ungodly will be driven like chaff in the wind — allowed to fall, abandoned, like chaff is abandoned on the ground.

This is the image given to illustrate the outcome of the ungodly. They will be driven away in the wind like chaff. Chaff is light and has no substance – It is easily driven by the winds. In verse 5, we see the final outcome of the ungodly: They will not stand in judgment and there will be no “sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”

When I first read verse 5, I interpreted it to mean that when the judgment comes (and it will) the ungodly won’t have a leg to stand on when they try to explain their actions in this life, but now I wonder if it doesn’t mean that they won’t even be granted a hearing before the judge — they won’t even be given an opportunity. How terrible a consequence is that!?

Finally, verse 6 gives us a summary.  God knows the ways of the righteous. There is nothing that we can do or say to God that will convince Him that what we did here on earth that was not righteous in His eyes was righteous. The righteous will be saved and conversely,  those who follow the way of the ungodly will perish.

So now the question: Are you taking the advice of the ungodly? Have you stood with the ungodly on issues when they have stood against the church or abortion or any other thing that is unrighteous? When someone stands up to witness about his relationship with God, do you plant your bottom on a chair and scoff or ridicule the one witnessing? Do you ever feel like you are being blown in the wind, going nowhere having no purpose?

If any of these questions bother you, perhaps you should seek God and find out what he has in store for you. A place to start is seeking a Christian to talk to. Or, maybe you should just talk to God — pray.

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