Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalms 1:1-6)
What kind of person is blessed by the Lord? God’s blessing, you know, is the opposite of His curse. Ever since the Fall in Eden, man has been under the curse. And justly so. Death. Pain. The creation itself fighting against us with its thorns and diseases, stinging insects and biting serpents. Even the oceans and the atmosphere we breathe can turn on us. Things have gone very, very wrong.
But then here is “the man” who is pronounced blessed by his Creator. Who is this man? I suggest to you that most fundamentally in the Psalmist’s inspired words here, this man he speaks of is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus did not walk in the counsel of the wicked. He did not stand around in the way of sinners so as to travel Broadway with them. He did not sit with those who scoffed His Father and the Holy Law. Instead, He delighted in that pure and righteous Word. Indeed, He was that Word incarnate. His roots went deep. He bore fruit and even though it looked like He was finished, in fact, in everything He did and came to do, He prospered.
And that is why WE who are in Him by faith are also pronounced blessed by God.
Consider now this blessed person. The Christian. The man or woman who has been made perfectly righteous (“justified” is the word) before God. Look at him. He also, like Christ:
- Does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. That is, he does not order His life and thinking with the advice and philosophy of the children of the devil.
- Does not stand in the way of sinners. He doesn’t set his feet in paths of wickedness.
- Does not sit in the seat of scoffers. He does not sit down with the wicked and laugh along with them as they scoff at and mock God’s Word.
- Delights in the Word of God and gives Himself to serious, ongoing contemplation of that Word.
As a result, this blessed man prospers. He lives. His roots go down deep. He bears good fruit even in times when the leaves of other trees are withering.
Not so the wicked. It is very hot and dry here where I live in the summers. Sometimes unusually so. If you drive through the Willamette Valley farmlands in such heat waves, you see fields and fields of stubble. The wheat and oats and grass seed have been harvested. The good seed has been taken to the warehouses awaiting sale. And the chaff? Gone. Blown away. Some decades ago before all the smoke became a problem, it would have been consumed in an instant when the farmers set the stubble fields alight and a huge, roaring flame rushed together in the middle of the field and in one great climaxing inferno turned all that was left to ash. The judgment you see. The wicked will not stand. Chaff in fire.
Now, here is my closing thesis. The Psalmist is telling us something else about the man who is blessed by God, and it is this:
The righteous man is able to identify and discern who the wicked are. He does not walk with them. He does not stand with them. He does not sit with them. He does not permit them to be in the congregation of the Lord’s people. And he is able to do this because he gives himself in faith to the Word of God. Day and night he meditates on that Word. And he believes it. It is his life.
This is still further evidence then from God’s own Word that the wicked, specifically the wicked who claim to be righteous, the wicked who claim to be Christians and who come to our churches and sit in the pews and scoff and mock the Lord without fear through their hypocrisy (the “Christian” abuser is of course a prime example), are not permitted to be among us.
Make no mistake. Psalm 1 says that the company we willfully choose to keep identifies who we really are.