Prove All Things
Statement of Faith
What's New

Psalm 1 ­ The Lawful and the Lawless

I. The lawful man (1-3)

A. His conduct (1)
B. His character (2)
C. His reward (3)

II. The lawless man (4-6)

A. His character (4)
B. His conduct (5)
C. His reward (6)

1 Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

ungodly = lawless

The world is ultimately divided into two groups: the lawful (the one instructed in the way of the law) and the lawless (the one not instructed in the way of the law, here translated “ungodly”). Those of each group choose the way which suits them. The way of error follows a certain progression: first walking in or giving credence to the counsel of the unprincipled – the lawless; then standing or associating with those who habitually miss the goal – the sinners; and finally sitting in the very seat of and joining with those who ridicule the wisdom and counsel of God’s Word – the scornful. The lawful do not associate with the lawless in such a way as to progressively become one of them. We must have contact with men in the world, but not in a way which brings us into their worldly ways. As the lawful progress through a world populated by the lawless, they find a separate path. The first step of error is to walk in a path without law or principle. May the Lord grant to us the ability to discern the true nature of the path before us.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

The law of the Lord is His word, for everything the Lord says stands as a pattern for us to obey and follow. Not everything which we meditate upon do we delight in; but the inverse is true: what we delight in, we will meditate upon. If we do not delight, then we will not meditate. In this way we can roughly measure out spirituality: how much do we meditate upon the Lord’s word? Day and night? The Spirit does not operate apart from His Word, and if we are not filled with His Word, how then can we be filled with His Spirit? There is no possibility of spiritual life, growth, or fruit without meditation on the Lord’s Word. None.

3 And he shall be like a tree
planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

If we constantly take in and absorb the Lord’s Word, we will grow like a tree planted by a river taking constantly of its nourishment so that it will never wither nor fail to bear fruit in its season. Apart from the nourishment of the Spirit, which comes only through the Word, we cannot bear fruit. May the Lord grant that more and bigger and healthier and more fruitful trees would fill His Kingdom. This can come only by means of meditation upon His Word. The Word without meditation is like tasting without swallowing.

4 The ungodly are not so:
but are like the chaff
which the wind driveth away.

The lawless are not any of these things – they cannot be, because they do not absorb the spiritual nourishment of the Lord’s Word. Such blessed nourishment comes only from following the right path, and that path can only be known through meditating upon the Lord’s Word. The lawless who do not meditate upon the Lord’s Word may prosper outwardly for a time, but spiritually they will dry up and blow away, producing no genuine fruit.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

Lawful judgment of any kind is always from the Lord. The lawless cannot stand and be acquitted before the Lord’s judgment because they have not known and loved the Lord’s Word. Those who do not first walk in the counsel of God’s Word will be forced by their own character to flee. Though they may pretend for a time to gather and be seated with the righteous, they will finally go out from among them for they never truly and spiritually had any part with them. The Word of God initially or eventually divides the lawless from the lawful.

6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous:
but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

What makes the difference between these two groups? The Lord knows – that is, He regards with approving interest and graciously bestows His loving mercy upon – His chosen vessels of mercy, pulling them out of darkness and ignorance and placing them on the good path enlightened by His Word, while others are justly left to follow their own dark, ignorant, and perishing ways.

This psalm stands at the head of all of the psalms as a signpost which points out the broad way leading to destruction and the narrow path leading to life.

Comments are closed.