who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
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.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will 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 wicked will perish.
This psalm could be seen as introducing key concerns of the whole Bible, since it describes the two fundamental classes of mankind—sinners and righteous. It also addresses concepts ultimately revealed in the perfectly blessed man, Jesus Christ, who stands at the crossroads of two ways (Ps.1:1; Matt. 7:13). He is anticipated in the first word of this psalm because “blessing” in Scripture references the redemptive presence of God. That presence was perfectly realized when Mary was called “blessed . . . among women,” because Jesus, “God with us,” had finally been conceived in her (Luke 1:42).
The “righteous” man is blessed when he consciously lives in the presence of the Word, which we, on this side of the cross, know would become flesh and would cause his “law” to be written on our hearts for our instruction (Ps. 1:2; John 20:31; 1 Cor. 10:11). Thus the believer’s life is blessed by the presence and care of Christ, bearing eternally significant fruit by being grafted into the “tree of life” (Ps. 1:3; Rev. 2:7; 22:2).
On the other hand, those who follow the broad way that “leads to destruction” become hollow persons whose lives count for nothing beyond the grave, and who perish at the judgment day (Ps. 1:5; Matt. 25:41–46). But even in the Old Testament context of this psalm, what separates the righteous from the wicked is not ultimately good works but the grace of the Lord, who “knows” the righteous (Ps. 1:6; Matt. 7:23).
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible.