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;
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 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.
4 The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
What does it mean to be blessed? Does it mean fame, money, or a long life? No, the Psalmist in Psalm 1 points to the truly Blessed Man. He alone has eternal glory, eternal riches, and eternal life. It is in Him alone we are blessed. It is Him we must know to be blessed eternally.
Life Only in Christ
Who is He? Psalm 1:1 tells us that He is a man who does not walk in the advice or counsel of the ungodly, or the wicked. He does not stand or remain where sinners stand, nor does He sit or find rest where those who mock the truth or scoff at it. He rejects these works or attitudes of the wicked.
Our whole lives are made up of walking, standing, or sitting. This describes a man whose whole life is perfect in its rejection of evil and in its embrace of what is holy and good (Psalm 1:2-3). The Psalm starts off with what will often be on display by the godly man, which is the rejection of what is evil. We stand out when we openly reject evil. However, it must not simply be a rejection of what is bad but also an embrace and love for what is good and holy.
What is good? God’s character seen in his law. This man loves and delights in the law of His God, so He keeps it, perfectly. He produces good fruit out of this (Psalm 1:3).
Who can this describe? There are none good and all have sinned before God (Psalm 14:1). What hope do any of us have if this describes The Blessed Man? Only Christ, who is true man and true God, perfectly fits this description. Only by faith in Christ does this perfect record of law keeping becomes ours. In Christ we are viewed as if we lived His perfect life, His righteousness becomes ours by faith (Romans 1:17). In Christ alone we are blessed, but without Christ we are not.
Liable Without Christ
There is a big contrast in the middle of this Psalm with “not so the wicked…” in Psalm 1:4a. Most English translations write “The wicked are not so” but with this it can lose the sense of a great contrast in the middle of the Psalm. “Not so…” starts the verse to compare The Blessed Man with the ungodly. The wicked are being compared with Christ. These wicked men have a hatred for God’s law.
There is a vivid picture of the worthlessness of the wicked and what they do in Psalm 1:4b as it says, “But are like the chaff…”. Chaff is a waste product of the wheat harvest. It is removed by the wind as it has no weight compared with the good produce which the wind does not carry away. Good fruit remains as it has weight and substance to it. The word “wind” which drives the chaff away can also be translated “spirit” which points to God’s Spirit in judgement (Psalm 1:5) driving away the wicked.
It’s a picture that should make those trusting in their own works tremble before God. Without the perfect holy righteous record of The Blessed Man, Jesus Christ, we will face this same judgement along with all the wicked. Either Christ, The Blessed Man paid for our sins and kept the law perfectly for us, or we will face God’s holy and righteous wrath ourselves.
Liberty Only in Christ
Are you a believer in Christ? Yes? Then fear not! He knows you intimately and the Psalms ends with reassurance for the true believer in Christ (Psalm 1:6). God knows us better than we could ever realise, but this knowing is far deeper than that, as it is in terms of a relationship of knowing. The ungodly perish, but the one true and living God knows us in a deep intimate way. Our freedom from this judgement of the wicked is found only in this Blessed Man, the man Christ Jesus, and knowing Him!