Skip to Main Content

Psalms 1.1-6 Message

WHITEVILLE BAPT. CHURCH MESSAGE - 5/20/2018 - Psalms 1:1-6

A little information about the Psalms:  My text this morning will come from the first Psalm, which is generally rated as the 7th most popular Psalm in the book.  Before we move into the text, I want to share a few general observations about the Book of Psalms itself.  First, of the 66 books in Bible, 65 of them deal mostly with God's response to His people.  But the Book of Psalms is very different: it represents the  people's response to God.  Second, written over a span of 1,000+ years, the Psalms are the longest book in the Bible, with 150 individual psalms.  Third, It's also one of the most diverse, dealing with a broad range of subjects such as God and His creation, war, worship, wisdom, sin and evil, judgment, justice, and the coming of the Messiah.  Overall, the Book of Psalms is a collection of prayers, poems, and hymns which, taken together, focus the worshiper's thoughts on God in praise and adoration.  Parts of this book were used as a hymnal in the worship services of ancient Israel and in the early church. The musical origins of the psalms are evident in its title, the Greek word psalmos, literally means a song sung to the accompaniment of a musical instrument.

Overview of Psalm 1:  The first Psalm forms an introduction to the entire book.  It is commonly classified as a wisdom psalm, and wisdom-that is, Biblical wisdom-may be defined as the application of spiritual learning and knowledge that results in godly discernment, understanding, and decision-making.  Wisdom psalms give many examples of human behavior that simply demonstrate that some actions are wise and some are foolish.  In today's lesson, Psalm 1 can be divided into two parts:  (1) the path of life [vv. 1-3] and (2) the path of death [vv. 4-6].  The two distinct lifestyles are contrasted in vv. 1 and 2, then in vv. 3 and 4 the nature of each lifestyle is compared in a botanical analogy, and finally, vv. 5 and 6 reveal the ultimate outcome of each lifestyle. 

Let's bow in prayer:  Our Father in heaven, I pray this morning that you will open our ears to hear Your Word and know Your voice.  Please, Lord, speak to our hearts and strengthen our walk with You so that we may serve you better today, now, and always.  In the name of Jesus Christ, our precious Lord and Savior, AMEN.  

Read Ps. 1:1-3 - The Path of Life

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;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.z
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.

v. 1a:  "Blessed is the man" - "Blessed" translates to the Hebrew word esher, which conveys the idea of happiness or contentment.  Esher comes from the Hebrew root word ashar, which literally means to be "straight" or "right."  Taken together, "blessedness" speaks of happiness and contentment in the life of a man or a women who is "straight" or "right" with God, so that a righteous man will be a blessed man.  C.H. Spurgeon commented on the fact that the writer doesn't say blessed is the king, or the scholar, or the rich, but "Blessed is the man."  As used in this context, "man" is a generic term for any human, male or female.  Therefore, this blessedness is obtainable by the poor, the forgotten, and the obscure, as well as those who are rich and famous.

v. 1a1:  "who walks" - Notice the man doesn't stand or sit-he walks.  The Hebrew word hālak, is used both in the sense of "to go' and to "behave."  As a theological metaphor, it applies to the way a man lives his life, what guides him.  

v. 1a2:  "walks not in the counsel of the wicked" - the term "counsel" (Heb. yaats) mean receiving advice.   This tells that a righteous man knows how to discern or recognize when advice good or bad.   We can fall short on this point when we don't stop to consider whether the advice we get is either godly or wicked.  People hear advice, listen to theories about their problems and might find themselves agreeing or disagreeing but they sometimes fail to consider the source.  As important, a righteous man also knows that sinful counsel can come from within himself, his own desires.  And finally, a righteous man knows where to find godly counsel:  in God's word.  Isa. 9:6 refers to Jesus, the coming Messiah, as the "Wonderful Counselor."

v.1b:  "nor stands in the way of sinners" - Sinners have a way or path where they stand, and the righteous man know he doesn't belong on that way.  "Way" refers to a path, a road, or a direction, and the righteous man is not traveling in the same direction as sinners.  In fact, the righteous man is not afraid to take the less traveled road because he knows it leads to blessings and ultimately, to eternal life. 

v.1c:  "nor sits in the seat of scoffers" - The scoffers who scoff (2 Pet. 3:3) love to sit and criticize, put-down the people of God, and the righteous man will never sit in that seat.  As Christians we should never "sit" with people who criticize and insult our faith; instead, we should be "not ashamed of the Gospel" (Rom. 1:16), but should make it known "where we sit" to everyone around us, even if some of them don't like it.

v. 2a:  "his delight is in the law of the LORD" -  Throughout the Psalms, the phrase " Law of the Lord"  is used to describe Gods entire Word, not just the Pentateuch, and can also be translated as the "Lord's Instruction."  The righteous man is delighted-feels joy and happiness when he receives instruction from the Word of God.  Taking pleasure in God's Word is the opposite of selfish, self-centered living.

v. 2b:  "on His law he meditates day and night" - The righteous man does not just hear it and forget it (like some do) but truly ponders the Word of God and strives to match his own thinking and understanding with it.  "Day and night" shows that the righteous man does his best to think with God all the time.  This involves a lot more than casual reading; it's meditation, inward thought and contemplation.  

v. 3a:  "like a tree planted by streams of water" - The phrase like a tree by a water source that grows deep roots gives us a botanical analogy that pictures a righteous man who uses God's Word as his main source of spiritual nourishment.   

v. 3b:  "that yields fruit in its season" - This phrase tells us that a righteous man bears much fruit, such as the fruits of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).  The fruit comes naturally from this tree because it's deeply rooted in God's Word.  Notice also that the fruit has a "season," which implies that the righteous man is faithful and patience to remain obedient to God's Word until the season comes.

v. 3c:  "leaf does not wither" - Withered leaves are often a sign of death.  But the "leaves" of a righteous man are green and vibrant, showing no signs of drying up. 

v. 3d:  "In all...he prospers" - The term "all" doesn't mean material prosperity or fame; it means that in the life of a righteous man, God brings forth something good out of everything he does, even when he's facing trials and troubles.   Paul said, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."  Rom. 8:28.

Read Ps. 1:4-5 - The Way of the Wicked

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

v. 4a:  "wicked are not so" - Everything true of the righteous man-stable as a tree, continual life and nourishment, fruitful, energetic, and prosperous-is not true of the wicked man.  Oh yes, we do often see bad people who amass wealth and fame, but these things have no eternal substance and will pass away. 

v. 4b:  "like chaff that the wind drives away" - Chaff is the light shell around a kernel of grain that must be removed before it can be ground into something useful.  Once removed, the chaff is essentially worthless, dead, and easily carried away.  By analogy, the wicked are like the chaff-people who have no spiritual basis in them: they are basically dead and weightless (hold that thought). 

v. 5a:  "wicked will not stand in the judgment" - Because the wicked, like chaff, have no "weight," they will be swept away and burned.  In Mt. 3:12, John the Baptist said of the coming Messiah, "His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear his threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff will burn with the unquenchable fire."

v. 5b:  "nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;" - "Sinners" in this context refer to any in a congregation who have not repented of their sin and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.  They are like the man in the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Mt. 22:1-14) who came to the banquet improperly clothed-not wearing the robe of Jesus' imputed righteousness-and was cast into the outer darkness. 

Read Psalm 1:6 - The Conclusion   

6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

v.6a:  "Lord knows the way of the righteous" - In the Hebrew, "knows" is expressed as a present participle, as in "is knowing."  So God "is knowing" the way of the righteous, constantly watching over them on their way, in good times and bad.  Therefore, the righteous can experience real peace by knowing that God is with them every minute of a day, wherever they may be and whatever they are doing.

v. 6b:  "but the way of the wicked will perish" - The Hebrew word for perish, ābad, variously means to die, go to ruin, be carried off, fail, and basically means the disappearance of someone or something.  13 "Jesus described it this way: 13 " Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."  Mt. 7:13-14

APPLICATION-how is this Psalm relevant to us today?

1.  We can see that the righteous man is blessed because he lives a life that is firmly rooted in the Word of God.   He is rooted in the Word of God because he truly meditates on it and strives to match his own thinking, understanding, and discernment of life with it.  He sees the world as God sees it.  This means much more than just hearing and casually reading the Bible; it means deep learning and meditation.

2.  Because of his Biblical understanding and discernment of the world around him, the righteous man is able to distinguish between good advice (what's God approved) and bad advice (contrary to God's Word).  The righteous man is also careful to examine himself in any situation to make sure his own motives are god-honoring. 

3.  The righteous man bears much fruit because it comes naturally from a tree that's deeply rooted in God's Word.  Yet, he also knows that the fruit has a "season," and understands that he must be faithful and patience to remain obedient to God's Word until the season comes.

4.  "Prosperity" in the life of a righteous doesn't necessarily bring material wealth or fame, but means that in his life, God will produce something good out of everything he does, even when he's facing trials and troubles.  Paul said it this way:  "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."  Rom. 8:28.            

Closing Prayer:  Father God, we thank You and praise You for all the words that you have sown into our hearts this morning.  I pray that they will take root and help us to be fruitful as we leave this building and go our separate ways.  For yours is the kingdom, the power and glory in this age and forevermore.  In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, AMEN