Jeremy Thornton

“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. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 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.” (Psalm 1:1–3 KJV)    

How is a Christians supposed to conduct themselves? Is there any passage that can answer this question for us? The obvious answer to this question is, “Yes.” The Bible has been given to us for instruction in righteousness in order that we may be perfectly, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Bible is given to us that we may have all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Knowing we have all things written for us, how are we to conduct ourselves in a manner that will be pleasing to God? May we look at the things written in Scripture that were given to us for our learning (Rom. 15:4).

In order to understand how we are to conduct ourselves, let us notice Psalm 1 and notice what is said about the godly, the ungodly, and God. The comparison between the godly and the ungodly in Psalm 1 begins by noticing the character of the godly (Psalm 1:1-3). First of all, the godly person is the one who is considered “blessed.” It is no coincidence that the first word of this great book is the word “blessed.” Many times, this word “blessed” is defined as “a state of happiness” and that is indeed true of the one blessed by God, but, perhaps, a better definition of this word may be “one that is approved of/by God.” The godly person is one that is in a state of happiness, as they are one that is approved of God.

Why is the godly blessed? They are blessed because of the things they do not do. They do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly but are those that walk in the light (1 John 1:7ff), walk in love (Eph. 5:2), and run the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1). The godly person does not walk according to the ways of the ungodly but walks in the paths of righteousness. The godly man is one that does not stand in the way of the sinners.

There is a noticeable digression that is taking place as we have gone to an action (walking) but now are in a fixed position (standing) in the ways of wickedness. The godly person is the one that does not stand in the way of sinners and does not want to be associated with this way of life, doing their best to stay away from it. The blessed person is one that puts on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:13ff), and stands being steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58). The godly person is also one that does not sit in the seat of the scornful. The godly person is one that has not nested in the seat of the scornful, becoming comfortable with committing sinful acts.

As we notice what the godly person does not do, now notice what the godly does. The godly delights in the Law of the Lord. What better delight can a person have than the Law of the Lord? The delight of the godly is seen in their meditation and the duration of the meditation, as we read “meditates in it day and night.” The godly person will be like a tree that is planted by the waters. The godly will bring forth fruit, they will not wither, and what they do will prosper. 

   Now notice the ungodly (Psalm 1:4-5). Not much is said about the ungodly in comparison to the godly. By mention of the things the godly person does implies the ungodly do the opposite. The ungodly do walk in the counsel of the ungodly, they do stand in the way of the sinners, and they do sit in the seat of the scornful. The ungodly have observed the digression discussed in the first verse and have been made comfortable living the life of sin.

There is nothing good that can be said about the ungodly and are said to be like the chaff that is driven by the wind. The chaff is the worthless part of the stalk, which is left when the grain is stripped away. After taking the valuable parts that contain substance, there is only the useless chaff that remains. The ungodly are those that have completely removed themselves from God and will not be able to stand in the judgment, nor in the congregation of the righteous. Simply stated, the ungodly person is the one that lives as if there is no God and ignore the commands found within His Word.

After noticing the godly and the ungodly, now notice God (Psalm 1:6). As the godly person may feel outnumbered, and may feel at times that evil has triumphed, the godly can take pleasure in the fact that God knows their ways. God knows the ways of all people, but the way of the godly man is one that is blessed and approved by God. God approves of the choices, the conduct, and the character of the righteous. God does not know the way of the ungodly, that is to say that He does not approve of their ways, which is a way that will lead to destruction (Matt. 7:13). The godly person can have hope because God knows their ways. God knows the things a godly person is doing because it is the way He has commanded from His Word. The godly person can take comfort in knowing that someday they will be separated from the ungodly and will be able to enjoy eternity in the purest habitation available.

In comparison to the two types of people in this psalm, which best describes you? Are you doing the things the blessed man does, delighting in the Law of the Lord and meditating on it? Are you planted like a tree by the waters, being fruitful as a godly person, or are you like the chaff that will blow away? Will you be known by the Lord, having Him approve of your ways, or will you be told to depart?


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