Psalm 1 is a logical place to begin a journey through the psalms. Not only is it first on the list, but it also sets the tone for the whole of the Book of Psalms. Psalm 1 presents two snapshots of two persons, namely, the righteous and the wicked.
The righteous person is pictured as a tree planted by streams of water—so there’s a constant source of life. That life produces fruit and a never-withering leaf. It seems as though we’re talking about something like an evergreen tree.
The wicked person, however, is like chaff that the wind blows away. The good wheat, or produce, is left behind (not in the Kirk Cameron sense), while the useless portions are driven away once and for all. Jesus uses the same language to talk of this division (Matthew 3:12).
So with these two snapshots in mind, I want to briefly unpack the progression of phrases in verse 1. Each of these three ways of living is opposed to the blessed or righteous life. My hope in laying these out is that we would examine our lives to see if we’re knowingly or unknowingly living the wicked life.
1. Walk not in the counsel of the wicked.
Very simply, avoid taking advice from those who are hostile to the biblical will and ways of God. Rarely does one self-advertise as being anti-God. However, much of the self-help material and wisdom of the media-driven world is anti-God. Much of the preaching on television would actually fall into this category. So don’t be fooled; there is much wicked counsel disguised in Christian or spiritual garb. I don’t want to throw out the name Oprah, but…..Oprah, for example.
2. Nor stand in the way of sinners.
Matthew 7:13-14 speaks of the narrow gate that leads to the narrow way of living, which is actually the way of eternal life. Unfortunately, the way to destruction is broad, and many find it. The way of sinners is this broad, status quo-like, aimless way of living. The general course of your life is marked by sin in that you are not actively fighting against temptation.
3. Nor sit in the seat of scoffers.
At this point, you aren’t walking. You aren’t even standing. You’ve taken a seat and are now dwelling in wickedness. You are openly defying God, mocking the notion of righteousness, and likely belittling those who take God and the Bible seriously. Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins are two names synonymous with this phase of the progression.
Again, I do not write about these in judgment of those in one of these various phases. Rather, I write in hopes that should you self-identify in one of these phases, you would take a step towards healing and reconciliation with God the Father through Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit reveals just how far you’ve strayed from the narrow way.
God’s grace be with you today.