Psalm 1:1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.

The first two verses describe the character of a righteous man. God’s favor rested on him because he does not follow the thinking or conduct of the wicked, nor does he allow himself to be identified with scoffers. The word translated “seat” refers to a dwelling place or a situation of being in the company of others. This man does not “hang out” with those who mock the words of God by rejecting His words. This man finds delight in the law of the LORD and, in fact, meditates frequently on the words of God. The word translated “meditate” refers to deep contemplation, the kind that would be given to the most significant issues.

The writer describes in a bit more detail the results of living as this man lived. The image of a tree is used. Strong and vibrant trees need two things, in particular: deep roots and water. Deep roots make the tree stable and plenty of water allows it to be productive. This tree yields fruit season by season, and it remains healthy. The next phrase indicates that this description is a metaphor: “And in whatever he does, he prospers.” Because he is grounded in the law of God, this man will be stable, productive, and able to withstand the pressures of life.

Turning his attention to the wicked man, the writer declares: “the wicked are not so.” At no significant point does the wicked man resemble the righteous man; that is because they are grounded in opposite points of view. Therefore, their thinking and behavior will not be compatible; their judgments and loyalties will be in conflict; and their goals and expectations will be at odds. While the righteous man is pictured as a strong, stable, and fruitful tree, the wicked man is pictured as chaff, which is the dry casings that surround seeds of cereal grain, that is blown away by the wind. As the seed matures, the chaff is discarded because it lacks any real substance and is carried off by the wind.

This Psalm concludes with the inevitable fates of the wicked man and the righteous man. The wicked man will not be able to avoid judgment. The wicked man is forever separated from the righteous. The nature of each man’s destiny reflects each man’s character. The life of the righteous man is known by the LORD and pleases Him. The way of the wicked man, however, does not please the LORD, and so he will perish. This short Psalm encapsulates the experiences and destinies of the two kinds of people that exist in this world: those who walk by faith and obedience before God, and those who reject that course of life.

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