Psalm 1:1 – What Blessedness is Not – Part 1 –

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The Psalmist begins his Psalm by defining “blessedness” in the negative in three ways:

1) Blessedness will follow the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked (ungodly).
2) Blessedness will follow the man who does not stand in the way of sinners.
3) Blessedness will follow the man who does not sit in the seat of scoffers (the scornful).

Let’s now turn to consider the first two definitions of blessedness in the negative (opposite).





1) Blessedness will follow the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.

Walk

To walk here is, of course, a figurative way of saying a “manner of life.”4 It is what differentiates a person from another. Let’s see some Bible verses that show us how this is used:

“O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart” (Psalm 15: 1, 2, NASB). Once more, we see the usage of Hebrew parallelism. The same verse expands the idea by explaining it in different ways. It speaks of the same thing (righteousness) in three different ways. We see that those who walk with integrity will abide in the tent of God and dwell on His holy hill (notice the usage of parallelism again).

“My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me.” And please notice that the following verse does exactly what Psalm 1 does, a contrast between the righteous and the wicked by their manner of life which is determined by what guides their lives (i.e. the counsel of the wicked or the law of the LORD), “He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me.” And, just as the concluding verses of Psalm 1, “Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land, so as to cut off from the city of the LORD all those who do iniquity” (Psalm 101: 6-8, NASB).

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1, KJV).

NOTE: Since it is clear that no man shall be justified before God by works, and since we must consider the whole of Scripture, we are not to conclude that we will merit an audience before God because of what we do, but because of what Christ has done in our behalf. This will, in turn, lead us to walk in righteousness, in the works that “God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB).

The word “walk,” then, is used to describe the foundation on which men live, the manner of their living, what differentiates them from another person. Some walk in godliness, some in ungodliness.

Counsel


“Behold, their prosperity is not in their hand; the counsel of the wicked [ungodly] is far from me” (Job 21:16).

No human being lives without following doctrines, laws, or decrees. Here we must understand “counsel” as advice or doctrine. The Psalmist makes a strict difference between their counsel and the law of God. The Psalmist is speaking directly against the pride of man, who seeks to rule himself by his own laws, decrees, and doctrines. Here the Psalmist is contrasting the counsel of the wicked with the counsel of the LORD. Blessedness follows those who do not walk in the law of the wicked, but in the law of the LORD. the reason why Job can boldly proclaim his separation from the counsel of the wicked is because there is no godliness in it, because it is folly and carries with it the wrath of God (Psalm 1: 4,5,6).

Luther comments on this point, “this is the destruction of the ungodly — their being prudent in their own eyes and in their own esteem, and clothing their errors in the garb of prudence and of the right way” (Kindle Locations 666-668). 3

The wicked are in open rebellion against God by following their own counsel rather than the law of the LORD. That is the Psalmist’s point in this verse. He warns against these wolves who come often in sheep’s clothing appearing to desire to help the sheep, but are, in reality, ravenous wolves who seek to devour and destroy and lead the godly astray.

2) Blessedness will follow the man who does not stand in the way of sinners.




Stand


Strong’s Lexicon provided by BlueLetterBible.org defines “stand (‘amad) as, “to tarry, delay, remain, continue, abide, endure, persist, be steadfast.”5 It carries with it both a passive as well as an active idea: a person comes to a rest on a specific foundation (passive) and stands on this foundation (persists, endures, abides – this is the active idea of this word). By this we understand that the Psalmist is not only speaking of walking after the counsel of the wicked, but also of standing in the way of sinners. I take this in the meaning of standing for something. The Psalmist warns against standing in such a way because there is no blessedness in it. This is the way of sinners, one which your feet must not even touch, much less stand upon. It carries the idea of obstinacy and stubbornness, as Luther comments, “The term “stood” describes their obstinacy, stiff-necked-ness, wherein they harden themselves and make their excuses in words of malice, having become incorrigible in their ungodliness, which they consider to be godliness. For, ‘to stand,’ in the figurative manner of scripture expression, signifies to be firm and fixed” (Kindle Location 688-690). 3




Way 


The outward expression of the inward counsel of the wicked (ungodly). See the section on the word “Walk” above.





In our next entry we will look at the third and final aspect of what blessedness is not. Stay tuned!

The Reformation Study Bible. Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 2005. Print.
“genre”. Oxford Dictionaries. April 2010. Oxford Dictionaries. April 2010. Oxford University Press. 12 November 2011 <http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/genre?region=us&gt;.


3  Luther, Martin, 1483-1546; Lenker, John Nicholas, 1858-1929. Luther’s commentary on the first twenty-two Psalms : based on Dr. Henry Cole’s translation from the original Latin (Kindle Locations 647-651). Sunbury, Pa. : Lutheran’s in All Lands Co..


Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for halak (Strong’s 1980)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 12 Nov 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
Strongs=H1980&t=KJV >


Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for `amad (Strong’s 5975)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 12 Nov 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?

Strongs=H5975&t=KJV >

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