Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in is season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”
The entire theme of the first psalm is the blessing and joy of the righteous and godly, juxtaposed with the curse and judgment of the ungodly. The purpose and desire of the psalmist is to show us and teach us the way to joy, the way to blessing, and the way to peace everlasting, which is not found in the things of this earth or the practices of the ungodly.
In our modern age and our modern culture we have a tendency to blur the lines when it comes to the godly and the ungodly. We find excuses for certain practices, certain vices, certain dare-we-say sins – yes, I know it’s not popular to call sin, sin anymore but here we are – not taking into account that for every act of rebellion, for every act of disobedience, there is a consequence.
As we begin to go beyond the surface layer of this first Psalm and dig a little deeper, we come to realize that this first Psalm, and as consequence the entire book of Psalms begins with a benediction.
Although most benedictions are spoken at the end of a religious service, we see the book of Psalms beginning with one.
‘Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.’
God’s first intent, God’s first desire was to bless man. When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden, it was to bless them, and give them all that they would ever need. God does not judge, nor does He punish because it brings Him pleasure, but because His justice demands it.
As we read this benediction, we can’t help but notice that it doesn’t say those who do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful, will be blessed at a later date, but that they are presently blessed.
If you are not walking in the counsel of the ungodly, and are instead walking in the counsel of the godly, you are already blessed for the counsel in which you are walking is righteous and true.
If you are not standing in the path of sinners and are instead standing in the path of the righteous you are already blessed for the path of righteousness leads to an eternity with Jesus.
If you are not sitting in the seat of the scornful and are instead sitting in the seat of the gracious you are already blessed because the love of God is shining through you.
When we know the godly from the ungodly, when we know the sinner from the saint, when we know the scornful from the humble and the meek, it means we possess discernment, and one cannot have a blessed life without discernment.
When we can rightly discern good from evil, and choose the way of good despising the way of evil, we are delighting in the Lord and are under the shadow of His wing.
We choose the company we keep. We choose the path we walk, we choose the things we say, we choose the actions we undertake, we choose the things we watch, we choose the things we listen to, and when our choices are in harmony with the word of God, when they are in harmony with the will of God, we are already blessed.
‘Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly!’
The man is not ignorant of the counsel of the ungodly, he doesn’t pretend as though said counsel does not exist, he knows it is there, he has heard it, and he chooses not to walk in it. We make conscious choices whether to follow after Christ, or after the words of men, whether to follow after the word of God, or the things men interpret the word of God to be.
We like to play games with the Bible; we like to play games with God, as though our eternity didn’t hang in the balance. I am often befuddled by the laisser-faire attitude so many professing Christians have toward sin, toward the counsel of the ungodly, or the things they talk themselves into doing because even though it presses right up against the line, it isn’t really crossing the line.
We want to know how close we can get to the fire before it burns us, but we will only know this when it starts to burn.
We must be wise enough to be content with knowing that fire burns, and not stick our hand in it to see if it’s true. Likewise, sin kills. The Bible says sin kills. Stay away from it and don’t try to disprove the Bible because you’re going to be on the losing side of this particular equation.
The Bible clearly tells us we are to flee the appearance of evil. You might not know its evil for sure, but if it even appears to be evil, it’s your duty to flee from it, to distance yourself, back away swiftly, and have nothing to do with it.
When we’ve started to dialogue with the devil, when we’ve decided to stand in the path of sinners and get their side of the story, we’ve already lost. There are certain things we as believers cannot make concessions with, and sin is one of those things.
We start out by walking, then standing, then getting comfortable enough to sit in the presence of sin, and when we get comfortable with sin, when our conscience no longer calls out for us to repent and to return to God, we have become the ungodly, those who no longer serve God, or submit to His authority.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.