Main point summary
Fortunate is the man who rejects fellowship with the wicked in favor of fellowship with God through his word. This man is like a tree thriving in the desert even during drought because it is next to a irrigation channel: he will succeed in all that he does. The wicked, however, are like chaff that the wind blows away and thus will perish at the judgement because the Lord doesn’t have a relationship with them.
Blessed is the man 1 who a walks not in b the counsel of the wicked,
Fortunate is the man who doesn’t adopt the ways of thinking of the wicked
nor stands in c the way of sinners,
and doesn’t hang out and join with the wicked
nor d sits in e the seat of f scoffers;
and doesn’t become one with those who mock God;
but his g delight is in the law 1 of the Lord ,
instead he takes pleasure in God’s word
and on his h law he meditates day and night.
and therefore is continually pondering it.
He is like i a tree planted
This blessed man is like a tree that was planted
by j streams of water
adjacent to an irrigation channel
that yields its fruit in its season,
and therefore bears fruit when it is time,
and its k leaf does not wither.
instead of withering due to drought.
l In all that he does, he prospers.
And just like a healthy a thriving tree, this man will succeed in all he does, resulting in blessing to others.
The wicked are not so,
On the other hand, the unrighteous are not at all like healthy tree.
but are like m chaff that the wind drives away.
but are fleeting like the husks and straw that are blown away by the wind during the threshing process.
Therefore the wicked n will not stand in the judgment,
Thus, the unrighteous will be blown away in the end-time judgment,
nor sinners in o the congregation of the righteous;
and sinners will not be part of the community of righteous people;
for the Lord p knows q the way of the righteous,
this is because while Yahweh has an intimate relationship relationship with the righteous and watches over them as they walk on the righteous path,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
but the path that the unrighteous walk on leads to destruction.
HT: Expositor’s Bible Commentary
Kidner (Tyndale OTC): “does not wither” refers to freedom from draught.
Fortunate is the man who rejects fellowship with the wicked in favor of fellowship with God through joyfully meditating on his word.
This man is like a tree thriving in the desert even during drought because it is next to a irrigation channel. This man will succeed in all that he does, blessing others.
The wicked are not like a thriving tree, but are like chaff that the wind blows away. Thus, the will be blown away at judgement because the Lord knows the righteous intimately, but not the wicked.
The blessed man
What he doesn’t do
Blessed is the man
who walks not
in the counsel
of the wicked,
in the way
in the seat
What he does do
but his delight is in the law
of the Lord,
on his law
and ... he meditates day
Comparison: like a tree
He is like a tree planted
that yields its fruit
in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does,
The wicked man
Comparison: like chaff
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff
that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand
in the judgment,
in the congregation
of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way
of the righteous,
but the way ... will perish.
of the wicked
Fellowship with wickedness
Fellowship with God (through his word)
MPS: Blessed is the man who, hating wickedness and loving God’s law, continually meditates on his law. This man does well in whatever he does, like a tree planted near a stream. The wicked are the opposite and will not survive God’s end-time judgement.
Why does he use the word “planted” rather than “growing”? In other words, this word seems to imply that someone did the planting.
What does it mean that he prospers? Does it mean that if I mediate on God’s word day and night I will succeed in my work, my relationships, etc?
Does the psalmist mention the wicked to give comfort to the righteous man, who is persecuted by the wicked?
The writer gives the present status of the blessed man (he prospers) while it gives the future status of the wicked man (he is condemned).
This person reflects on God’s word in his walking and standing and sitting (Expositor’s Bible commentary).
Head, heart, hands
1. Head How should I think differently about God/myself/others? (1) I should believe that it is profitable to forsake wickedness and devote myself to God’s word. It is not a waste of my life. There will be a reward. (2) I should also know that in order to be blessed I need to forsake wickedness. (3) I should believe that the Lord knows the righteous intimately; I have a relationship with him. (4) I should remember that even though the wicked may prosper in this life, they will ultimately face judgement. All will be made right at judgement. What doctrines are taught? What specific contributions to those doctrines does this passage make? This passage teaches that we are blessed when we love God’s word and meditate on it; the word of God is profitable. And, like in Proverbs, it teaches that living according to godly wisdom generally leads to prosperity. And At the same time, it teaches that the people of God should not engage in wickedness. This passage also teaches us about the judgment. It teaches that the wicked will ultimately be judged. Specifically, they will not survive the judgement because of their lack of relationship with God. On the other hand the righteous have an intimate relationship with God, which presumably will save them in the judgment. What other scripture texts add to the truths taught here? Are there texts that seem to contradict this truth? What is the deeper truth that both of these seemingly contrad ictory texts are founded upon? Regarding God’s word, God instructs Joshua to meditate on his word so that he can obey it and then prosper (Joshua 1:8). And Psalm 119 and Psalm 19 speak of how the author delights in God’s word. Proverbs speaks of how people who live by godly wisdom will prosper (e.g., Proverbs 1:33) and how people who live by wickedness will perish (e.g., Proverbs 1:19, 1:32). In contrast, the book of Ecclesiastes teaches that wisdom itself is not worth living for because both the wise and the foolish face the same fate (Ecclesiastes 2:12-17). But at the same time the book teaches that we should fear God (Eccl 5:1-7) and that those who fear God will do well (Eccl 8:1-10). So it seems that Ecclesiastes teaches the same thing as Psalm 1. Many passages in the Bible involve someone asking God why the wicked prosper (Psalm 73:4-12) while the righteous suffer (Ps 73:13-14). This is compatible with Psalm 1 which teaches that wicked will ultimately suffer (although they may prosper now). And this is the conclusion that the psalmist in Psalm 73 makes (Psalm 73:27). On the other hand, what about the fact that the righteous suffer? For example, Job suffers a lot. This seems to contradict the promise in Psalm 1 that the everything the righteous man does prospers. However, I think that Psalm 1 is a wisdom psalm that is in the same genre of the Proverbs. Thus, Psalm 1 makes a general promise that in general the righteous will prosper. But it is not a blanket promise that they will not suffer or have setbacks and failures. 2. Heart How shoul d I feel differently about God/myself/etc? I should feel comforted that I am on the right track when I am delighting in God’s word and meditating on it. I am blessed. I will prosper. What emotions are expressed in this passage? The righteous man is happy and blessed. He is at peace. There is fear about the wicked. We don’t want to end up as the wicked. What emotions does this passage lead/exhort me to feel? This passage should lead me to be happy and joyful that I am blessed. 3 . Hands What does this passage command me to do? What sins do I need to put off and repent of? What good works do I need to put on? I should not live the same lifestyle as the wicked or have close fellowship with them or join the wicked in mocking God. I should stop doing anything that involves wickedness. In my job as a professor I shouldn’t be like the world. In my role as homeowner I shouldn’t be like the world. Rather I should love God’s word and spend time reading it, studying it, and thinking about it. I should be putting it into practice in my life. How am I to obey? In what manner? I should obey joyfully. I should delight to meditate on God’s word. What motivations does this passage give for acting differently (negative or positive)? It motivates me to be righteous and meditate on God’s word so that I am blessed and so that I don’t end up like the wicked. What anchors does this passage offer that give me confidence in obeying these commands (truths about God, truths about man, gospel truths)? God knows the way of the righteous. That is why I will be blessed and not be judged like the wicked. If God knows me, then I will be protected and prosper. Because he is in control. His way is good and safe.