1 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; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. -Psalm 1:1 (NKJV)
Matthew Henry: This is a psalm of instruction concerning good and evil, setting before us life and death, the blessing and the curse, that we may take the right way which leads to happiness and avoid that which will certainly end in our misery and ruin. The different character and condition of godly people and wicked people, those that serve God and those that serve him not, is here plainly stated in a few words; so that every man, if he will be faithful to himself, may here see his own face and then read his own doom. That division of the children of men into saints and sinners, righteous and unrighteous, the children of God and the children of the wicked one, as it is ancient, ever since the struggle began between sin and grace, the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, so it is lasting, and will survive all other divisions and subdivisions of men into high and low, rich and poor, bond and free; for by this men's everlasting state will be determined, and the distinction will last as long as heaven and hell.
My comments: In these days there is much talk of a supposed universal spiritual connection between every person on this earth. Many so-called Christian leaders teach that it doesn't matter what religion or faith you belong to, as long as you have faith. Others say it doesn't even matter whether or not one has any faith because in the end we are all on a spiritual journey that unites us with God regardless. Yet that kind of thinking is in stark contrast to the clear teaching of God's Word. As this Psalm clearly points out, God divides the human race into two categories, the righteous and the ungodly. Jesus declared that on Judgment Day He will separate the sheep from the goats. Christ will welcome into His kingdom only His righteous ones, while the rest of the world (the unrighteous), will be cast into the eternal lake of fire(Matt.25:31-46; Rev.20:11-15). The only way by which anyone can become part of the righteous is by repenting of their wicked ways and placing their trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Jesus emphatically declares in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." The determining factor will be what we did with Christ and His command to repent and believe the gospel.
Matthew Henry: "1. A godly man, that he may avoid the evil, utterly renounces the companionship of evil-doers, and will not be led by them (v. 1)... He sees evil-doers round about him; the world is full of them; they walk on every side. They are here described by three characters, ungodly, sinners, and scornful. See by what steps men arrive at the height of impiety... They are ungodly first, casting off the fear of God and living in the neglect of their duty to him: but they rest not there. When the services of religion are laid aside, they come to be sinners, that is, they break out into open rebellion against God and engage in the service of sin and Satan. Omissions make way for commissions, and by these the heart is so hardened that at length they come to be scorners, that is, they openly defy all that is sacred, scoff at religion, and make a jest of sin. Thus is the way of iniquity down-hill; the bad grow worse, sinners themselves become tempters to others and advocates for Baal... These the good man sees with a sad heart; they are a constant vexation to his righteous soul. But, (2.) He shuns them wherever he sees them. He does not do as they do; and, that he may not, he does not converse familiarly with them. [1.] He does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly... He does not take his measures from their principles, nor act according to the advice which they give and take.... [2.] He stands not in the way of sinners; he avoids doing as they do; their way shall not be his way...he will not associate with them, nor choose them for his companions. He does not stand in their way, to be picked up by them (Prov. 7:8), but keeps as far from them as from a place or person infected with the plague, for fear of the contagion, Prov. 4:14, 15. He that would be kept from harm must keep out of harm's way."
My comments: I can almost hear someone object and say, "What about the fact that Jesus was the friend of sinners and hung out with them?(as we read in scriptures such as Matt. 11:19 and Luke 15:1-2)." To that objection I would reply that, while Jesus hung out with lost sinners, He did so with the express purpose of reaching out to them with the gospel message, not just to hang out and have fun. The main thing that He was determined to do while on earth, before going to the cross, was to proclaim the gospel message of repentance and faith (Matt. 4:17,23; Mark 1:14-15). And likewise that should be our aim in befriending the lost, to share the gospel with them. I would also point out that while our Lord spent time with the lost, He did not participate in any sinful behavior or try to act just like them in order to reach them. In that sense Jesus was separate from sinners (Hebrews 7:26). So if we are born again believers in Christ, we should be careful when it comes to getting too close to those who live in rebellion against God. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us, "Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." And 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 warns, "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." 17 Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty."
Matthew Henry: "2. A godly man, that he may do that which is good and cleave to it, submits to the guidance of the word of God and makes that familiar to him, v. 2. This is that which keeps him out of the way of the ungodly and fortifies him against their temptations... We need not court the fellowship of sinners, either for pleasure or for improvement, while we have fellowship with the word of God and with God himself in and by his word... We may judge of our spiritual state by asking, "What is the law of God to us? What account do we make of it? What place has it in us?'' See here, (1.) The entire affection which a good man has for the law of God: His delight is in it. He delights in it, though it be a law, a yoke, because it is the law of God, which is holy, just, and good... All who are well pleased that there is a God must be well pleased that there is a Bible, a revelation of God, of his will, and of the only way to happiness in him. (2.) The intimate acquaintance which a good man keeps up with the word of God: In that law doth he meditate day and night; and by this it appears that his delight is in it, for what we love we love to think of, Ps. 119:97. To meditate in God's word is to discourse with ourselves concerning the great things contained in it, with a close application of mind, a fixedness of thought, till we be suitably affected with those things and experience the savor and power of them in our hearts. This we must do day and night; we must have a constant habitual regard to the word of God as the rule of our actions and the spring of our comforts, and we must have it in our thoughts, accordingly, upon every occasion that occurs, whether night or day. No time is amiss for meditating on the word of God, nor is any time unseasonable for those visits. We must not only set ourselves to meditate on God's word morning and evening, at the entrance of the day and of the night, but these thoughts should be interwoven with the business and converse of every day and with the repose and slumbers of every night..."
My Comments: Over the years as a Christian, a challenge for me has been to read God's Word every single day without fail. As a younger believer, I used to think it's not really that necessary to read the Bible daily. But the Lord showed me the deceitfulness of that kind of thinking. The enemy loves it when Christians don't read their Bibles daily or pray daily, because he knows that we become spiritually weaker and weaker the more we neglect those two things. The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God is a huge threat the the devil's kingdom, so it's no surprise that he would try to distract us from getting more and more acquainted with it. Listening to sermons or reading books about the Bible will not do (as much as those things are good in aiding us). We must primarily get into the Word itself and learn and apply it more and more if we are to grow strong in our faith. So the challenge for us all is, are we making time daily to read God's Word? Or are we making excuses for not doing so? As God admonishes here, blessed are we if we meditate on His Word day and night.
Matthew Henry: "II. An assurance given of the godly man's happiness, with which we should encourage ourselves to answer the character of such. 1. In general, he is blessed, Ps. 5:1. God blesses him, and that blessing will make him happy. Blessednesses are to him, blessings of all kinds, of the upper and nether springs, enough to make him completely happy; none of the ingredients of happiness shall be wanting to him. When the psalmist undertakes to describe a blessed man, he describes a good man; for, after all, those only are happy, truly happy, that are holy, truly holy; and we are more concerned to know the way to blessedness than to know wherein that blessedness will consist. Nay, goodness and holiness are not only the way to happiness (Rev. 22:14) but happiness itself; supposing there were not another life after this, yet that man is a happy man that keeps in the way of his duty."
My comments: Indeed, we can rest assured that God will keep His promise of blessing us if we take Him at His Word and do as He says. If we put Him and His Word first, above all else, He will give us His peace which surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7) and a joy inexpressible and full of glory (1 Pet.1:8), both in this life and in the next. Let us press on to intimately know our King more and more, for He is worthy to be sought after by us and to receive our utmost affections and devotion!