OceanSide church of Christ

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Psalm 1

Victor M. Eskew


            The book of Psalms has been attributed namely to David since he contributed more to its pages than any other author, but others also wrote some of these hymns of praise.  “David is listed as the author of 73 psalms, Asaph of 12, and the sons of Korah of 11. Other psalms were written by Solomon, Heman the Ezrahite, Ethan the Ezrahite, and Moses (Psalm 90)” (https://www.gotquestions.org/Psalms-five-books.html).  Also, numerous psalms are anonymous.  This inspired book is the only book wherein man speaks to God.  In all of the other books, God speaks to man.  There are 150 psalms.  They are divided into five sections:  Psalms 1-41, Psalms 42-72; Psalms 73-89; Psalms 90-106, and Psalms 107-150.

            Psalm 1 sets the tone for all of the other books.  Throughout this marvelous work the godly are contrasted with the ungodly: the godly are at odds with the ungodly, and the godly are appealing to God because of the works of the ungodly.  There are two major contrasts between the godly and the ungodly in this psalm.  The first is found in Psalm 1:1-4.  The second is contained in Psalm 1:5-6.  We have entitled the first section:  “A Contrast of Conduct.”  We have labeled the second section:  “A Contrast of Conclusions.”

            In Psalm 1:1-3, the psalmist describes the conduct of the godly.  He mentions three things about his behavior.  First, he Shuns All Evil.  “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.”  The righteous man refuse to have fellowship with the ungodly, with sinners, and with the scornful.  He will not walk with them.  He will not stand with them.  He will not sit with them.  He knows their counsel is evil.  He realizes that their ways end in death.  He understands that their attitudes involve pride, arrogance, and opposition to God.  He understood Paul’s words found in I Corinthians 15:33 long before they were penned by inspiration.  “Be not deceived:  evil communications corrupt good manners.”

            Second, he Studies God’s Word.  “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”  His emotional state was that of “delight.”  The word “delight means:  “pleasure” and “desire.”  There was something for which the writer longed.  The fulfillment of this desire would bring him immense pleasure.  The entity that brought this joyful state to the psalmist was “the law of the Lord.”  The psalmist was well aware that God had revealed His will to man.  He also understood that it is a law, that is, a body of legal directives given by God to direct his steps.  Not only were his emotions ignited by the law of the Lord, but so were his energies.  Psalm 1:2 tells us that the psalmist meditated upon the Word of God.  The word “meditate” carries the definition “to chew the cud.”  A cow’s stomach is designed so it can burp up previously chewed grass and chew it again.  Our minds are designed to do this with information.  We can take a passage from the word of God and we can “chew on it” at any time during the day.  The righteous man does this endlessly, “day and night.”  The law of the Lord is always on his mind.  He thinks and rethinks and thinks again on God’s Word at various times morning, afternoon, and evening.

            Third, the righteous are Superfluous.  Superfluous is a word that means:  “to be plentiful, abundant, superabundant, and productive.”  Psalm 1:3 describes the righteous in this manner.  “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also doth not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”  When the Word of God is planted into the heart of a good and honest individual, it will produce.  In fact, it will produce abundantly.  Because the heart has been planted by the Fountain of Life, it never ceases to produce.  The righteous bear fruit all year long for the remainder of their lives on earth.

            The inspired writer of Psalm 1 contrasts the ungodly with the righteous with one line:  “The ungodly are not so.”  The ungodly do not shun evil.  The ungodly do not study the Word of God.  The ungodly are not superfluous.  David describes them with these words:  “…but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”  The chaff is the outer covering of the wheat.  It was good for nothing.  It was removed by casting the wheat into the air.  The wheat would fall to the ground and the chaff would be driven away by the wind.  The ungodly offer nothing positive from a spiritual standpoint.  Their lives are empty and without purpose

            Psalm 1:5-6 contains the second section of this psalm, “A Contrast in Conclusions.”  The words written by the inspired author are self-explanatory.  “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous:  but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”  The ungodly will appear in the judgment, but they will not stand.  They are not going to be able to maintain themselves before God.  They will not be able to justify their ungodly lives before the Judge Jesus Christ.  Thus, they will not be allowed to remain with the righteous.  There will be a great separation between the godly and the ungodly.  The righteous will go into a place known by God because He prepared it for them (John 14:1-3).  The ungodly, on the other hand, “shall perish.”  They will be issued into the depth of an eternal hell prepared for the devil and his angels.  There will be pain, agony, regret, and weeping and gnashing of teeth.

            As we said in the introduction, David sets the tone for the other psalms in this hymn.  When the Lord looks down from heaven, He sees two groups of people:  the righteous and the unrighteous.  They are separated from one another due to the kind of lives they live here.  Ultimately, they will be separated from one another eternally.  Dear reader, are you one of the righteous or one of the unrighteous?  Are you part of the godly or the ungodly?  Will you stand in the judgment?  Or, will you be one of those who will perish?