The Willow Tree: Psalm 1 (Pt 2)

A Study of Psalm 1: (Part 2: Preface)  Go to Part One

Psalm one is significant for a couple of reasons. First, this psalm serves as an introduction to the book of Psalms.  The entire Psalter served as the hymnbook of God’s people, and provided them instruction on how to worship Him.  Psalm 1 provides the first hint of that instruction.  It reveals that God must be worshiped according to His word and in light of eternity.[1] Second, this psalm vividly portrays two contrasting ways to live: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked.  This will be the primary focus of our study.  Psalm 1 uses several images to distinguish between the steadfast life of the righteous and the coming peril of the wicked.  Their ways of life are nearly as divergent as their destinies.  Those who are faithful in this life will be preserved, but those who are unfaithful will ultimately perish.  Those who walk with God now will live with Him for eternity, but expulsion and eternal torment await those who waste their present lives living for themselves in contempt for God.


As we look more closely at our text, we will see a stunning portrait of two different people: the righteous and the wicked.  The righteous person is blessed by God, whereas the wicked one is not.  The righteous person is described as blessed, because his life is characterized by faithfulness.  He is both disciplined and devoted.  He is disciplined in his thinking, his behavior, and in the company he keeps; and he delights in the things of God and is devoted to them.  His discipline is stated negatively in terms of what he avoids, and his devotion is stated positively in terms of what he pursues and takes pleasure in.  God blesses this faithful man.

Psalm 1:1-6“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. 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. 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; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

*This is the second of several posts over Psalm one that will be forthcoming.


[1] Interestingly, Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridias confidently quipped in the thrilling blockbuster Gladiator (2000), “What we do in this life echoes in eternity.”  Even the Hollywood depiction of pagan Rome recognized that what happens in this life carries consequences for eternity.  Although their understanding of eternity does not line up with a biblical understanding.

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