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. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 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. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish (Psalm 1: 1-6)
Commonly known as “The Preface Psalm”, Psalm 1 is an appropriate introduction to the book of Psalms. It is “a powerful persuasive to the diligent reading and serious study of the whole book and of the rest of the Holy Scripture, taken from that blessedness which attends upon the study and practice thereof” (Matthew Poole).
o The key to true happiness
Psalm 1 has been aptly called, “The Road Map to Happiness”. Though the psalm is full of profound truth, its message is simple. The key to true happiness is a life that is governed by God’s Word. The theme of this psalm is the permanent prosperity and blessedness of the righteous, and the ultimate doom of the wicked.
This first psalm makes it clear that there are only two ways – the way of the godly that leads to eternal life, and the way of the ungodly that leads to eternal damnation. King David, “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13: 22) and the author of this precious psalm, had discovered this blessed truth. In a few well-chosen words, he sketched two sharply contrasting portraits. The first two verses introduce us to the godly man who is blessed by God because of his delight in God’s Word. Two harvest images are used in verses 3 and 4. While the godly man is like a fruitful and flourishing tree (v 3), the ungodly man is like chaff which is easily blown away by the wind (v 4). Verses 5 and 6 tell us the final verdict on both the godly and the ungodly and their eternal destinies.
“This is a psalm of instruction concerning good and evil, setting before us life and death, the blessing and the curse that we may take the right way which leads to happiness and avoid that which will certainly end in our misery and ruin. The different character and condition of godly people and wicked people, those that serve God and those that serve Him not, is here plainly stated in a few words; so that every man, if he will be faithful to himself, may here see his own face and then read his own doom” (Matthew Henry).
o Two destinies
In His conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded His hearers about the two destinies: “Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth into life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7: 13-14).
The Lord spoke further about the time when He, as Judge, would separate the sheep (believers) on His right from the goats (non-believers) on His left (Matt 25). His sheep would receive “life eternal”, whilst the goats would “go away into everlasting punishment” (v 46).
Psalm 1 speaks of the same “two ways”. We find ourselves in either one of the two categories – the way of the godly that leads to eternal life, or the way of the ungodly that leads to everlasting damnation. Only two ways! Which way are we taking? The road we take will determine our eternal destiny. May we spend time to consider this all-important issue of the eternal state of our souls. (… to be continued)