Online Bible Commentary
Blessed is the Man
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (NIV)
The Hebrew title for the book of Psalms is “Tehilliym” which means “Praises”. The English title comes from the Greek word “Psalmoi” which means “music of stringed instruments” or “pious music”. The Psalms are Hebrew lyric poetry. There are 150 Psalms.
David wrote most of the Psalms, with seventy-three directly attributed to him and two others attributed to him through New Testament writings. Twelve Psalms were attributed to Asaph, ten to the sons of Korah, two to Solomon, and one each to Moses, Ethan, Heman, and Ezra. Forty-nine Psalms are anonymous, but many of those were likely written by David. For example, in the first book of Psalms 1-41 all but a handful are directly attributable to David. Since David is the only writer in this book, it is likely he also wrote the handful of anonymous Psalms found therein. The Psalms were written over a period of time between 1400-400 B.C. Most were written over the three hundred year period between 1000-700 B.C.
The Psalms are divided into five books: Psalms 1-41; Psalms 42-72; Psalms 73-89; Psalms 90-106; and Psalms 107-150. Each of the five books ends with a doxology. This passage, Psalm one is an appropriate introduction for the entire Book of Psalms. It depicts the difference between good and evil.
Verse one can best be translated as “We are blessed when we do not live our lives according to the advice of the wicked, or hang around with sinners, or live with scoffers.” The wicked, sinners, and scoffers are all the same type of people. They are people living sinful lifestyles and scoffing at God. It is the wrong crowd to hang with. They will lead us down a path in life where we do not want to be. Nothing good can come of that lifestyle. God has something better, much better.
What is better is to follow God, not sinful men. We are blessed when we “delight in” (v. 2a), or desire, the word of God, the Bible. When we spend time reading the Bible, we are blessed. When we start reading on a regular basis the Holy Spirit grabs us and gives us the desire to “meditate day and night” (v. 2b) on the Bible. We find that we can not put it down. He gives us a thirst, and everything else becomes secondary to the word of God.
We become like “a tree planted by streams of water” (v. 3a). We have a never ending source of nourishment and refreshment from God. In time, our “fruit” (v. 3b) blooms. We become more Christlike and display the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control in our lives. We are not subject to the ups and downs in our spiritual life, our “leaf does not wither” (v. 3b). Instead we “prosper” (v. 3c), we win at life.
The Psalmist then contrasts the lives of those who are blessed with the lives of the “wicked” (v. 4a), those who are living in sinful lifestyles. They are easily blown here and there, according to the direction of the winds of life (v. 4b). They have no stability in their lives. They have no foundation for life and are, therefore, subject to every fad or new thing that comes along. They have no moral authority in their lives and therefore they follow in the path of sinners.
Since they have rejected Christ as their Lord and Savior and have embraced a sinful lifestyle they will not have a leg to stand on before God (v. 5a). They will not be counted in the company of the righteous, and therefore will not go to Heaven (vv. 5b-6). Those who are “wicked” would rather keep their sin, than have the Savior. They doom themselves to eternity in Hell.
The Christian has already made his choice. He has chosen the Savior over sin. He will be blessed and will live the good life. He will face trials in life like everyone else but because of his solid foundation in God, he will always find a way out. And when he perseveres to the end he will receive His glory, and a “well done my good and faithful servant” from his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.