The first Psalm is a wonderful psalm. I remember memorizing it when I was a child. I encourage you to also memorize it. Let us look at what this psalm teaches. Psalm 1 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” The word “blessed” means the state of “prosperity” or “happiness” that comes when God bestows His favor on someone. God blesses the one who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly; this individual doesn’t follow the advice of wicked people. God blesses the one who does not stand in the path of sinners; this individual doesn’t follow the way of sinners. God blesses the one who does not sit in the seat of the scornful; this individual doesn’t join with those who mock others, and especially, those who mock God. Prosperity or happiness is given by God to the one who avoids the ways of those who are displeasing to Him.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” The one who is blessed avoids the ways of those displeasing to God and instead delights in the instruction of God. This implies that he frequently reads the Bible and thinks and meditated about the laws, principles and descriptions given in the Bible. He is seeking God. He delights in seeking to understand the nature of God and what pleases God. The day and night suggest that much of his time is spent in this meditation because his heart is dedicated to God.
“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” I live in a semi-arid place. The San Pedro River flows through our valley. There are large cottonwood trees all along the river because the roots of the trees soak up the water from the river. These trees don’t usually grow away from the river because they need lots of water to grow. The blessed one is like one of these trees planted by the river. The law of the Lord is like the water from the river. The blessed one soaks up the law of God and it causes him to be fruitful. His leaf does not wither because the law of God gives him all that is needed to sustain him. God’s law in his life causes him to prosper in whatever he applies himself to. Jesus gave a similar analogy in Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”
“The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.” The ungodly are those who do not follow God’s law. Instead, they follow the ways of the world. 1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” The ways of the world are contrary to the law of God. The ungodly who follow the ways of the world are like chaff. After a harvest, when the kernels of grain have been beaten out of the stalk, chaff is the light, unwanted material that was around the grain. In some places, they take a shovel full of grain and toss the grain into the air. The relatively heavy kernels fall to the ground, but the light chaff is blown away by the wind. The ungodly will eventually be blown away by the winds of life because they do not have their roots in the law of God. Jesus gave a similar analog in Matthew 7:26-27 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” In the judgement, the ungodly will be condemned. Sinners will not remain with the congregation of those who seek to please God.
“For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” A similar instruction is given in Psalms 34:15-16 “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.”
In summary, Psalm 1 teaches us the benefits of avoiding the ways of those who are displeasing to God. Instead, it teaches us that God blesses those who delight in His law, who meditate on His law, and who follow His ways. I encourage you to read the Bible frequently and apply God’s principles in your life that you may be blessed.