The First Book of the Psalms
Psalms 1 – 41
Psalms 1 – 41
The First Book of the Psalms (1 – 41). From a prophetic standpoint, the first book of the Psalms focuses on the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week, and gives us the expressions and sentiments of the Jewish remnant as they pass through the “beginning of sorrows”, and it continues on into the Millennium. The first book gives us the broadest timespan of prophetic events. The first book of Psalms corresponds with the first book of the Pentateuch, Genesis; i.e. the book of beginnings, wherein God’s dealings begin with His people. Read more…
The Path of the Righteous and of the Wicked
The Path of the Righteous and of the Wicked
Psalm 1. The first two Psalms give us an introduction to the two great subjects of the Psalms; (1) the remnant and (2) the Messiah. Here in Psalm 1 we have the character of the faithful remnant (the “righteous”) in contrast with the character of the apostate nation of Israel, “the counsel of the wicked”. In the beginning of the prophetic week, the unbelieving Jews and the believing ones will be together in the land. Separation, enjoyment of the scriptures, and fruitfulness will mark the difference. In the end, those who chose the path of righteousness are the happy ones, and the wicked will come into judgment. W. Kelly remarked that this Psalm is broken into two sections: vv.1-3 and vv.4-6.
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, and standeth not in the way of sinners, and sitteth not in the seat of scorners;
v.1 The separation of the righteous. The first thing that characterizes the righteous man is that he is “blessed” or happy. The ultimate example of this is Christ Himself, the true Nazarite, and the “blessed” or happy Man. If we want to be happy, we must be characterized by the same things that we have here. First is separation from the wicked. We have three things: walking, standing, and sitting. There is a progression in this, that of gradually becoming more comfortable in sin. Peter is an example of a believer who failed in this. He “went in” to the hall of Caiaphas (Mat 26:58), and at first “stood at the door without” but soon found himself standing “with them”, warming himself (John 18:16, 18), and finally “Peter sat down among them” (Luke 22:55). Could Peter be happy in those circumstances? No. “And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). We must refrain from going on with the wicked. Prophetically, this describes the character of the faithful remnant as those who keep themselves separate from the apostate nation of Israel. But as a moral principle, it applies to all times.
2 But his delight is in Jehovah’s law, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
v.2 The occupation of the righteous. It is not enough to separate from the wicked, negatively (v.1). We must also have an occupation to fill our hearts and minds, positively (v.2). So. the next thing we see is that the faithful enjoy the Word of God. Instead of being occupied with what the world is interested in, the righteous “delight” in “Jehovah’s law”. To delight in the Word of God is to rejoice every opportunity we have to read it, and practice it. But there is more; “and in his law doth he meditate day and night”. Meditation is just as important as reading. When we meditate on something we’ve read, we consider it, mull it over in our minds and hearts, and allow it affect our conscience.
3 And he is as a tree planted by brooks of water, which giveth its fruit in its season, and whose leaf fadeth not; and all that he doeth prospereth.
v.3 The prosperity of the righteous. The results then of choosing to walk separate from evil and to occupy oneself with the Word of God is seen. The righteous one is compared to a “tree planted by brooks of water”. It is a symbol of peace, stability, and fruitfulness. Such a tree has a permanent source of refreshment, similar to “a fruitful bough by a well” (Gen. 49:22). If we draw our refreshment from the Word of God, we will be like a tree that “giveth its fruit in its season”. Leaves do not prematurely fade is a tree is well supplied with water. Leaves speak of our outward profession (Matt. 21:19), and also of the sheltering effect we can have toward our brethren. Our usefulness will only be sustained if we walk according to the Word of God. we are not firmly “rooted and grounded” (Eph. 3:17) by the “water of the word” (Eph. 5:26) our usefulness will eventually deteriorate. The Lord will reward the faithful with prosperity. In the Old Testament, faithfulness to God would often result in material prosperity. A nice example of this is Joseph; “The chief of the tower-house looked not to anything under his hand, because Jehovah was with him; and what he did, Jehovah made it prosper” (Gen. 39:23). But in Christianity, our blessings are spiritual and heavenly. We are not to look for material prosperity here, but we can expect spiritual prosperity; more and more of a conformance to Christ; “he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal. 6:8). But in the Millennial kingdom, the righteous will materially prosper!
4 The wicked are not so; but are as the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
vv.4-5 The character of the wicked. The wicked are compared to chaff (almost dust), which is blown about by the wind. It pictures total instability. The men of this world are carried about by their circumstances. They have no real anchor for the soul, and so they are easily moved and manipulated. Satan will use this in the tribulation to move men according to his sinister purpose. In the end, when God brings everyone before the bar of His righteous judgment, “the wicked shall not stand in the judgment”. The righteous choose to stand not in the “way of sinners” in this life, but the wicked, though they may in horror realize the folly of their mistake, are barred from standing in “the assembly of the righteous” for all eternity!
6 For Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish.
v.6 The end of the wicked. The wicked, like the tares among the wheat, can carry on for a time. But the end of the path of the wicked is outer darkness; “the way of the wicked shall perish”. Notice the way the path of the righteous is described; “Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous”. It is a path that the Lord Himself knows; it is a path suited to His pleasure, and with which He can have communion. The faithful enter into His mind!