Psalm 1

The Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:07
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The book of Psalms was formed over a long period of time. Various groupings within the Psalter—such as the “Songs of Ascents” (Pss 120–134), the “psalms of the sons of Korah” (Pss 42–49; 84–85; 87–88), and the “prayers of David the son of Jesse” (72:20)—indicate that there were earlier collections before the book took its present shape. The titles and content of many psalms also hint at the long history of these songs, prayers, and poems. Some may date to the time of Moses (15th or 13th century BC; see Psa 90), many date to the united monarchy under David and Solomon (10th century BC), and some were written during the Babylonian exile or later (sixth century BC; see Psa 137). Psalms is Israel’s book of worship.

In its final shape, the book of Psalms is divided into five sections, the first four of which end in a similar doxology (see 41:13; 72:19; 89:52; 106:48). This first psalm, as an introduction to these “five books”—an echo of the five books of Torah or Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible)—encourages readers to allow these songs to guide them toward wisdom and worship

Psalm 1 is a wisdom psalm and the psalm gives us light into the two paths in which we are able to choose how we live our lives. These two paths differ greatly from one another. One path is easy to live and thus the more chosen path, while the other is difficult and the least chosen path.

The Rewards of Lawful Living

Here the psalmist is communicating that God’s blessings awaited those who will maintain a commitment to the commandants of Jehovah in the face of social pressure to be cynical and sinful.


The Hebrew word used here is ashre which describes a person who is privileged or happy. This is a common expression used to indicate someone who is fortunate or privileged.
The Greek equivalent is makarios and is found in Jesus’ beatitudes (Matt 5:3-11).
Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Blessed Life (Verses 1–3)

Blessed is the man who abstains from ungodly policy, iniquitous action, scornful use of things divine and holy

Though the phrase used here “walks not” is a strong negative and we could say it as “has never walked”.

does not walk in the advice of The three functions described here—counsel, way, and seat—emphasize that the righteous avoid thinking like, behaving like, and dealing with the wicked.

The three functions - counsel, way, and seat emphasize what three things that the righteous avoid?
The righteous avoid:
Thinking like the wicked
Behaving like the wicked
Dealing with the wicked


Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Blessed Life (Verses 1–3)

a merely negative goodness will not ensure us true blessedness, therefore the Psalmist proceeds to lay down the grand secret of blessedness in profound spiritual words. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord.”

Secret: Delight in the law of the Lord.
It is superior to the superficial theories of happiness that human moralists have proposed from time to time.
Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Blessed Life (Verses 1–3)

The secret of bliss is the right attitude of the soul to the truth of God.

Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Blessed Life (Verses 1–3)

“But his will is in the law of the Lord.”—Luther

The blessed person consults the will of God and is always longing for the path of God’s commandments. Thus the blessed person has a will that is submitted to the laws of God.
Their delight is in the law of the Lord.
Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Blessed Life (Verses 1–3)

“The law is more than a mere rule, after which the man is to frame his outward life.”—Perowne

The word delight here means “joy, wish, matter, business”


Meditation, even in evangelical circles, is often thought of in a manner not too far removed from what is practiced in Eastern religions, whereby practitioners empty their minds and enter a subjective realm of waiting on insight from the Spirit or spiritual world.

The Hebrew word used here, hagah, means “to murmur”, “read aloud”, “speak”, or “proclaim” and it has the connotation of pondering over something.
The blessed person rehearses the law of the Lord verbally whether it be in spoken privately in a low tone or murmur or publically spoken in similar fashion.
The usage of “day and night” is a figure of speech to indicate totality (i.e, throughout the day or regularly or daily). This is a habit of their life and not out of character for them.


Psalm 1:3 KJV 1900
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.
The illustration used here is a thirsty, healthy, and productive plant.
What does the river represent?
Divine truth/ Law of the Lord. In this case the frequent “drinking” ensures life, growth, and good results.
The blessed person is like a tree that is stable, well nourished, fruitful, and prosperous.

The Results of Unlawful Living

Psalm 1:1 KJV 1900
1 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.
“Standeth in the way of sinners”:
Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Programme of Evil (Psalm 1:1)

Here sinful thought has passed into conduct, action, life. We cannot hold unbelieving theories with impunity. Ideas rule men, ideas rule the world, and ideas fundamentally false, as are those of atheism, must soon work disaster, both in individual and national life.

“Sitteth in the seat of the scornful”:
Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Programme of Evil (Psalm 1:1)

They delight in the company of those who scoff at religion. This state, and it is soon reached, argues the most desperate wickedness.

Psalm 1:4 KJV 1900
4 The ungodly are not so: But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
The ungodly are not like the righteous. The righteous are a prosperous tree that is well nourished and producing fruit that remains.
The imagery here is that the ungodly are chaff, the husks and stalks of wheat blown away by the wind as grain is winnowed.
The ungodly are fragile and temporary.

The Exhortation

The psalmist concludes with with an encouragment that the LORD “knows” or “watches over” the righteous.
The idea here is that the LORD not only has a deep knowledge but that He cares and protects His people.
The way of the wicked refers to their ultimate destruction and the frustration of their hopes and plans.
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