Psalm 1May 16, 2021
New International Version
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do 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 leads to destruction.
Notes from Point 1
Notes from Point 2
Notes from Point 3
Placed first in this “Book of Praises” is not a call to praise, as one might expect, but a call to righteousness. Since devotion must always precede true praise, here is where the psalmist begins. These verses reveal two paths (righteousness and wickedness) and where those paths lead (happiness and destruction). The righteous traveler completely avoids even the slightest detour from the proper path. Though sin might appear harmless—just listening to the “advice of the wicked” (NJB)—the righteous person knows where this path leads: to a sinful character (counsel of the wicked) and a cynical, anti-God attitude (seat of mockers [Ps. 1:1]).
Instead of being preoccupied with sin, the righteous person is preoccupied with God’s Law. The word law used in 1:2—torah—can describe the Law revealed to Israel on Sinai (see 1 Kings 2:3) or, more broadly, all of God’s words to His people, of which the Law of Moses is the chief and defining component (Isaiah 1:10).
It is probably this broader meaning that the psalmist has in mind here: The righteous person is delighted with God’s Word. Valued like a precious jewel, the Word is jealously guarded and continually contemplated. Day and night the righteous one meditates upon it, examining its every facet and relishing each insight it gives into God’s character.1