1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
(Psalm 1:1-6 NIV)
As we look at the first psalm, we see a preamble, a pattern for many other psalms – a contrast between the righteous and the wicked.
Verse 1 begins with a beatitude, a blessing on the person who pursues God’s righteousness in God’s way. And what is the way to pursue righteousness? The psalmist gives us three negatives and two positives:
The righteous person does not (v. 1):
- walk in step with the wicked
- stand in the way that sinners take
- sit in the company of mockers
Rather, the righteous person does (v. 2):
- delight in the law of the Lord
- meditate on God’s law day and night
Notice that our path of life is a choice – where and how we spend our time. We can walk, stand, and sit with those who oppose the Lord and His ways, or we can delight in the Lord and focus our thoughts and actions on Him.
Verse 3 paints the picture of the person who focuses their life on the Lord. The psalmist uses a fruit tree to convey the blessings of the life focused on the Lord. The water represents the life source for the tree, just as delighting and meditating on the Lord is the life source to the follower of God. The tree is not just for show; it also yields fruit to bless others at the appointed time (in its season).
Notice also the security of the tree. It is firmly planted – its roots run deep. No storm can uproot the tree, not can any harm come and cause it to wither and lose its leaves. So is our security in the Lord – whatever we do for His glory will prosper. There may be storms of life, but the goodness of God will prevail and protect us.
Verses 4 – 5 contrast back to the wicked described in verse 1. The psalmist says that they are not like the tree – they are more like the chaff that the wind blows away. The wicked have no substance, no weight or rooting to anchor them against the strength of the Lord.
Verse 6 concludes with the final contrast of this psalm – God’s knowledge of, provision for, and protection over the righteous ones who delight themselves in Him and obey Him.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine, but it’s true – God knows His followers and watches over them! The God the universe, with all its billions of people, and all of His creation – has time for you and me! That is both humbling and deeply peace-giving.
May you delight yourself in the Lord today, focusing your thoughts and actions on Him.
And may you experience His Presence as you go about your day with Him.