Psalms 1
How the Godly got there.

The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.

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!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And itsleaf does not wither;
Andin whatever he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lordknows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

Statistically, I hear that women are more likely to ask for directions when they sense they are lost than men are.  In fact, I came across several sites on the internet that said it was a fact.  It’s the subject of comedians probably because we know all suspect that it’s true.  One site, appropriately titled “Why Men don’t ask for Directions” offers a few reasons.  Ladies, this is for your benefit, so that you can better understand that guy in your life.  First, “It is important to understand that men are NEVER “lost.” Second, “the act of stopping the car, and rolling down the window, makes him (and you) more vulnerable.”  Third, “the moment he asks a gas station attendant or someone on the street, for directions, he has put his life and yours in the hands of a stranger.”  Point is about all this, is men are not prone to ask for directions.  That’s why men love maps.  Well guys, today I have a map.  It’s a map to somewhere that you want to go but sometimes forget that’s where you’re heading.  And ladies, you already are better equipped than we are with asking directions, so this will be easier for you than for us.  It is a map on finding godliness.  It’s not a map with a little voice that tells you when to turn left or right, God already gave you one of those.  He’s called the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit instructs you but this map is going to give you the general rules of the road, how to get there from here – the “there” is being more godly and the “here” is where we all walk right now, today – no matter what stage of grwth you might be at.

What I want to talk about this morning is about the directions God gives us in His Word on how to avoid getting on the wrong path to getting messed up in life, how to avoid getting lost in the first place.  Of course the Bible addresses this and some of the wisdom that speaks directly to this is in Psalm One.  Psalm 1 is about compromise and making small, seemingly insignificant choices or decisions that lead a person to feel as though they are thirsty in a dry and weary land.  In this case, Psalm One begins with the good example, so we will too.

Did you ever stop to think how those people you consider godly got there?  I mean, what does it take to get a person to a point in their life where others consider them godly.  What are the things in their life that have given that person what most would call a happy and blessed life?  Psalms One provides counsel about how the godly become godly. It is important to remember that there is no godliness for anyone who isn’t in Christ.  You might say, wait a minute, Bob.  That sounds kind of intolerant.  This is what the Bible teaches and I would be a false teacher if I implied that you could achieve godliness without knowing Christ.  If a person wants to pursue godliness, they will begin by following Jesus Christ.  There is no other place to begin.  “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12

But beginning the Christian life and living the Christian life are two different things.  A person can begin well with Jesus, but fail to understand that God demands some personal involvement in our walk with Him.  The people who are godly didn’t get there by accident.  They have purposed in their lives and hearts to make good and positive choices.  They have decided they will refuse to compromise.  Compromise happens when our behavior fails to reflect our priorities.  We’re going to look at some areas where the godly refuse to compromise and if you find that you have compromised, hopefully there will be a map to show you how to get back on the proper road.  What are those compromises that the godly refuse to allow?  The answer is found in our text today.

The first things that the Psalms tells us are that the godly person has made decisions about their life that restricts them from certain things.  They have chosen not to compromise in areas that would diminish their commitment.  What are the things that can influence our commitment?  Let’s look at the passage.

  1. Walking in the counsel of the wicked1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. The godly man has made choices about who he will walk with, but what does “walk” mean?  Have you ever had someone ask you to go for a walk and talk?  The implication is a casual discussion as you go along a path with another person.  I think ladies you are better at this than men are.  It seems to me that almost any time the family gets together, a few of the women are going for a walk and we know that means that they are going to discuss something in private.  But in this case, it is not a literal walk, but a leisurely stroll in the counsel of the wicked.  What kind of counsel does the wicked give?  They give counsel that is devoid of any concern for God and His values and His glory.  The wicked are ignorant of the things of God.  To walk in the counsel of the wicked is the same thing as taking advice from those who are in rebellion to God.  They will rarely give counsel that would offer a believer any moral direction because they don’t think spiritually.  Of course that doesn’t mean that we never listen to non-believers about all things, but the moral decisions of life should not be made based upon the counsel of those who hate God.
    1. The problem is that we sometimes go to the ungodly because we don’t want godly advice and remarkably, that is just what we get – ungodly advice.
  2. Standing in the way of sinnersNor stand in thepath of sinners.  Now the association with those who hate God has developed to a different stage.  Prior to this, a person was just checking with his non-believing friends to see if they would provide reinforcement for something they knew God would not approve of.  That was walking in the counsel of the wicked.  Now, instead of following advice of the wicked, they have begun to take a stand with sinners.  This is the case where a person has begun to be more and more frequent with those who are in rebellion to God.  Not for the purpose of sharing the love of Christ with them, but rather with the intention of joining their ranks.  This is a transition from asking them what to do, to joining in their folly.  You see, in this instance, the path of sinners has an identification of the choices he makes are in direct contrast to God’s instruction.  God has instructed us how to live and the sinner believes that God is wrong.  And now, the Psalm is telling us that we are blessed if we avoid this habit of standing with sinners in their path.  And what is the destination of that path for sinners?  We know where they are headed if they don’t humble themselves to God, but not all will.
  3. Sitting in the seat of ScoffersNor sit in the seat of scoffers.  At this point, the person no longer is considered an outsider; he has a permanent place among those who mock God.  A scoffer is one who continually makes light of that which is sacred.  They have no respect for God and his commandments and don’t respond to godly instruction.  That is sad enough, but imagine the person who has become comfortable around such people.  We talked last week about the things that God hates and at this point, I believe you can say a person who sits with the scoffers has become comfortable with the things that God hates.  The bible instructs us to love the name of God but instead the person shown here is completely at home with people who mock God.  That is not good and is it any wonder that we are blessed when we avoid these people.

It is important to realize that we are not talking about our efforts to reach a non-believing generation.  We are addressing the blessing provided to a person who makes wise choices in their friendships and associates.  God doesn’t want us to be removed from the world, but He also doesn’t want us to love the world and the values of the world.  This first verse in Psalms is all about protecting our hearts from compromising because of bad influences.  If you find that the worldly people you hang out with are pulling you more towards them than you are pulling them towards God, then you need to reconsider what you will do to find this blessing from God.

Now David moves on to the positive side.  He has told us what he doesn’t do; now he tells us what he does do. The verse begins with “but” which means we are about to show a contrast. In verse one, we looks at what the godly man doesn’t do, now we look at what the godly man does.  In contrast to making poor choices, the godly person makes good choices.  What are those good choices mentioned here?

  1. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, – what does it take for someone to find delight in the law?  Think about that for just a moment, when was the last time you were driving down the road and said to yourself: “I rejoice that the speed limit is only 25 mph in this area.  I love slowing down and getting a good look at the wildlife in this area.”  As I was thinking about this, there seems to be two times that I can understand rejoicing in the law.
    1. When it helps me – God’s Law is guidance to you and me.  It helps me to find blessings and offers me the ability to see things from God’s perspective.  God’s Law helps us to know what is right and what is not right.  It is a blessing to us when we walk in obedience to God’s Law.  You see, God’s Law has a lot to offer.  Just the other day my wife went into Wal-Mart and was looking at some storage solutions.  The cost was either $30 for one or $20 for another.  She decided not today but then as she was thinking about it, she found one that someone had picked up but decided not to purchase, and they just dropped it off somewhere other than where they picked it.  Judi was thinking about going back anyway so she picked it and checked out.  When the final bill was low, she looked at the ticket and noticed they only charged her $6.50 – remembering another story I told her, she decided she wouldn’t feel right so she returned to point out the error.  Wal-Mart checked and said, yeah that’s not the right price but since that’s what we charged you, it’s yours but we’ll fix the rest.  Now, because she was making an effort to obey God, she both gets the good price and she has peace about it.  Otherwise, she would have felt like she had cheated Wal-Mart and ultimately cheated God by dishonoring His name.
    2. When it protects mewhen I am protected by the Law.  When we need the men in blue and they show up, we are relieved because we know that we are protected.  Not only are there promises of blessings when we walk according to God’s direction, but there is also promises of protection.  God become our protector when we walk in obedience to His Word. Does it mean that bad things never happen to believers?  Of course it doesn’t.  Life shows us that we live in a fallen world where difficult things happen but we know that God fights with us and for us against all things.  BTW – the things of highest value are never in danger.  Remember He holds your salvation in His hands.
    3. However, when do people not like the Law? – When we are being disobedient or are caught. How do you feel about our public servants with a badge when you are ticketed for doing 45 in a 25 mph zone?  At that point in time, you have no delight in the Law; in fact you ask yourself how come those guys are not out there catching the real bad guys?  We can’t delight in the Law while we’re breaking it.
    4. This delight in the Law of the Lord is not normal the normal man doesn’t like the Law of the Lord.  They find it hard and intolerant.  It takes a special relationship with the Lord to love His law and even then it is sometimes a battle.  We read things in the Bible and we don’t always want to obey because God’s instruction appears to stand in the way of something we want.  But if God’s Word instructs us about the way to walk, we should learn that it is best for belivers if we listen and follow His instruction.
  2. And in His law he meditates day and night. Meditate – the basic word means to murmur or mutter.  To talk to one’s self – in this case about God’s instruction.  It is the picture of someone applying God’s Word to their daily life in very practical and instructive ways, much like Judi did at Wal-Mart.  I was outside of Denny’s the other day and there was a glass bottle in the parking lot.  I thought someone should pick that up before somebody drives over it and blows a tire out.  Then I thought about the verse in James – to him who knows what should be done, but does it not, to him it is sin.  So still a little concerned that someone I know might see me walking the beer bottle over to the garbage, I decided to pick it up and throw it away.  This is letting the Word change your normal reaction to life.   This is meditating on God’s Law, letting it get to you.

So what does the Righteous person get for his attention to God’s Word?  I’m glad you asked, because God thought that was important enough to include in Psalm 1, but you can find teachings about this all over the Bible.

The results for the godly­ – when you read this the first thing that jumps out at you is that the righteous will be something not do something.  We become like a tree, but sometimes I think we look more like a part of the tree, commonly referred to as nuts.  But that’s just my personal observation.

Planted – firm is the image here and planted next to some pretty valuable real estate.  You know, the plants that are planted next to the river are the last to feel the effects a dry season.  Often times, in times of drought, there is still water that runs beneath the river bed that waters the plants next to the river.  Eventually, even the driest of seasons will impact the tree next the river – but let’s be clear about this, the one next to the river is the last to be impacted by a drought.  Do they feel a drought that impacts the entire land?  Of course they do.  Do they wither in the drought?   They do not according to this passage.  They are firm.

Fruitful – They are productive when they should be, in their season.  Do you wonder why life isn’t what you wanted it to be right now – do you think that God doesn’t know your seasons as well as He knows the seasons of the fruit trees?  Of course not.  God knows everything about you and He knows that there are seasons we are fruitful and there are seasons when we are regrouping our strength for the next opportunity.  Trees weren’t made to be fruitful all year; they deserve rest as do humans.  I am surprised how many times we have to tell people who are too tired to continue at their former pace to slow down and find your rest in grace. I could name names here but I won’t.  If you need a rest, don’t make the elders tell you to back off. By the way, there are some who have had their rest and need to get back to being fruitful.   Unfortunately, often we have a hard time evaluating ourselves.

Unwithered – again, this doesn’t mean they aren’t touched by difficulty because we know they are.  There will be no hardship that can cause God’s chosen to wither, although I will admit I have felt my share of the heat and felt like I might wither  Maybe if you were to ask me, I would have said, I’m done.  I’ve withered.  I’ve dried up.  But remember that God sees us how we really are.  You might think your strength is all gone but God knows you better than you know yourself.  For me, after awhile God reached into my own troubles and revealed that He still had plans for me.

Let me read you something that I recently read that was written by C.S. Lewis in The Problem with Pain.

If the first and lowest operation of pain shatters the illusion that all is well, the second shatters the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad in itself, is our own and enough for us. Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We ‘have all we want’ is a terrible saying when ‘all’ does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St Augustine says somewhere, ‘God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full—there’s nowhere for Him to put it.’ Or as a friend of mine said, ‘We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.’ Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as he leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call ‘our own life’ remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible source of false happiness?

Prosperous – Now some people might like you to think that God is telling you and me that we’re going to win the lottery.  It would be nice if it was that easy but that is not what the intent of this word is.  The idea behind this word is that we would produce the fruit and fulfill the goals that God has made us to do.  Remember Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  God made you and me to do things that bring Him glory and pleasure, so when we are prosperous we are fulfilling the intent of God during our time on this planet.

Just noticed how long this is going, need to come to the end.  Finally, the ungodly.  The Results for the Ungodly

Like chaff – balance the image of chaff against the picture of the strong tree.  The chaff lives in continual dryness.  It is already withered.  Withered defines the existence of chaff and withered defines the existence of someone who does not know Christ.

Will not stand in the judgment – When a believer stands before God for judgment, they will stand based on what Jesus Christ has done for them, not because they were good or evil on this planet.  The wicked must stand on their own which is just like saying they will not stand.  It is not possible for a sinner to stand in the presence of God’s judgment.  They cannot stand before God and they will not.  It is God who judges man, not other men.  This is one of the great differences between those who know Christ as their Savior and those who do not.  All the moral living, and doing the right thing, and even recycling your garbage will not open up heaven to a person if they don’t know Christ as their Savior.

(Will not stand) in the assembly of the righteous – finally, they will not stand in the assembly of the righteous.  They will not be permitted to enter into the rest that God has created for those who love Him and have accepted His gift of salvation in Christ.   God never demanded perfection from broken sinners but He does demand that you accept His free offer of redemption in His only Son.  When I watch golfer on TV, I wonder if I can do that.  When I watch baseball player, I wonder what it would be like to play sports at that level.  When I watch football, I am thankful I never played too much football.  I break too easily.  But when I watch the godly, I want to be like them.  I want to have that kind of peace through the storms of my life.  Well, here’s the map.  Here’s your guide and my guide.  But don’t try to live it unless you know Christ because honestly, you’ll give up.  You might even feel like giving up even if you do know Christ, but God’s got you.  He’s got you all the way home.

How the godly do godly.

They don’t

Walk in the counsel of the wicked

Stand in the way of sinners

Sit in the seat of Scoffers

They do

Delight in the Law of the Lord

Meditates in His Law day and night

The results for the godly





The Results for the Ungodly

Like chaff

Will not stand in the judgment

(Will not stand) in the assembly of the righteous


Add a Comment