Delight in God’s Word (Psalm 1:1-2)
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; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. —Psalm 1:1-2
Psalm 1 and 2 combine to provide the introduction to the book of Psalms, Israel’s book of prayers and praises to Yahweh. Psalm 1 begins with what will give us blessedness or overflowing happiness—delighting in God’s Word: “his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). And as Psalm 2 ends, it tells us who will give us overflowing happiness—His Son: “Kiss the Son…Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12).
With this context in mind, let’s focus now on our passage. Psalm 1 contrasts the righteous man who is blessed and the wicked man who is miserable. Every Christian must acknowledge that he is a sinner and is incapable of the righteousness that God requires in His law. Christ Jesus, who never sinned, has taken our sin on Himself and clothed us in His righteousness. “For our sake he [God] made him [Christ Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And this gift of righteousness will find expression and bear fruit in our lives, as we learn the Bible and walk in the Spirit.
In the first verse of Psalm 1, we are told what the “blessed man” will not do—
He will not walk in the counsel of the wicked. He will not turn to an unbeliever for counsel or go along with them in their deceptive and empty philosophies.
He will not stand in the way of sinners. From God’s Word, the righteous man has learned about the temptation of the path of sinners and flees from it.
He will not sit in the seat of scoffers. Our world is full of scoffers. The person in the seat of a scoffer is one settled on his unbelief. He mocks God, as well as God’s people, and spurns the Bible. The righteous man believes God and knows His Word is true.
Charles Spurgeon writes in The Treasury of David on Psalm 1:1:
When men are living in sin they go from bad to worse. At first they merely walk in the counsel of the careless and ungodly, who forget God—the evil is rather practical than habitual—but after that, they become habituated to evil, and they stand in the way of open sinners who willfully violate God’s commandments; and if let alone, they go one step further, and become themselves pestilent teachers and tempters of others, and thus they sit in the seat of the scornful. They have taken their degree in vice, and as true Doctors of Damnation they are installed and are looked up to by others as Masters of Belial. But the blessed man, to whom all the blessings of God belong, can hold no communion with such characters as these. He keeps himself pure…puts away evil things…comes out from among the wicked…bearing the reproach of Christ.
What keeps him away from the counsel of the wicked, the path of sinners, the seat of scoffers? The law of Yahweh. The “blessed” man delights in God’s law and meditates on it day and night. The Word of God is never out of his thoughts. When he lies down to sleep and when he awakens in the morning, all the time and in everything, this man is secure in God’s Word. He doesn’t just know God’s Word, but he loves it, delights in it, finds his joy in it. His footsteps are ordered by the pure, clear sound of God’s wisdom ringing like a bell in his heart. God’s Word equips him to recognize the sins of the wicked and empowers him to walk away for the greater joy of belonging to God.
We are living in uncertain times, yes, but what a gift God has given us in His Word! Let’s delight in it, enjoy it, daily feast on this heavenly bread, and be transformed by it to live in the happy understanding of His righteous will for us. Over the next few weeks we will be memorizing Psalm 1. Will you join us at Fighter Verses and begin this week to fight the good fight of faith by memorizing Psalm 1:1-2? We are praying for you.
The quote from Charles Spurgeon suggests a downward spiral of sin in verse 1. What are the three things the blessed man will not do? Do you see a progression in these?
Think about a time when you especially “delighted” in God’s Word. What was the circumstance? Which of God’s commands addressed the situation and helped you make a godly choice?
Read Psalm 1 and 2 this week. Make two columns on a sheet of paper (or in your Fighter Verses Journal) and list the contrasts of the righteous and the wicked you find there. Pray, asking God to give you a teachable heart and joy in your Bible study.