Psalm 1 (ESV)
1Blessed is the man[a]
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2but his delight is in the law[b] of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3He 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. 4The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
- Psalm 1:1 The singular Hebrew word for man (ish) is used here to portray a representative example of a godly person;
- Psalm 1:2 Or instruction
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 Lord knows those that are his by name, but we must know them by their character; for that is agreeable to a state of probation, that we may study to answer to the character, which is indeed both the command of the law which we are bound in duty to obey and the condition of the promise which we are bound in interest to fulfil.
1. A godly man, that he may avoid the evil, utterly renounces the companionship of evil-doers, and will not be led by them
Departing from evil is that in which wisdom begins.
He sees evil-doers round about him; the world is full of them; they walk on every side. They are ungodly first, casting off the fear of God and living in the neglect of their duty to him: but they rest not there. When the services of religion are laid aside, they come to be sinners, that is, they break out into open rebellion against God and engage in the service of sin and Satan. Omissions make way for commissions, and by these the heart is so hardened that at length they come to be scorners, that is, they openly defy all that is sacred, scoff at religion, and make a jest of sin. Thus is the way of iniquity down-hill; the bad grow worse, sinners themselves become tempters to others
He shuns them wherever he sees them. He does not do as they do; and, that he may not, he does not converse familiarly with them.
He does not take his measures from their principles.
He avoids (as much as may be) being where they are. That he may not imitate them, he will not associate with them, nor choose them for his companions.
2. A godly man, that he may do that which is good and cleave to it, submits to the guidance of the word of God and makes that familiar to him.
We need not court the fellowship of sinners, either for pleasure or for improvement, while we have fellowship with the word of God and with God himself in and by his word
To meditate in God’s word is to discourse with ourselves concerning the great things contained in it, with a close application of mind, a fixedness of thought, till we be suitably affected with those things and experience the savour and power of them in our hearts.
We must have a constant habitual regard to the word of God as the rule of our actions and the spring of our comforts, and we must have it in our thoughts, accordingly, upon every occasion that occurs, whether night or day.
3. When the psalmist undertakes to describe a blessed man, he describes a good man; for, after all, those only are happy, truly happy, that are holy, truly holy;
The more we converse with the word of God the better furnished we are for every good word and work.
It is expected from those who enjoy the mercies of grace that, both in the temper of their minds and in the tenour of their lives, they comply with the intentions of that grace, and then they bring forth fruit.
The very lightest of the chaff, the dust which the owner of the floor desires to have driven away, as not capable of being put to any use.
God must have all the glory of the prosperity and happiness of the righteous. Sinners must bear all the blame of their own destruction.
Matthew Henry, Commentary of the Bible, Psalm I, highlights.