2004-12-19 - The Righteous vs The Wicked
Psalm 1, Part 4
Let us not fall in a trap, for too often Christians want to be identified by what they dont do. The same can be said of members of cults. We must be identified by how we do act. Looking at the righteous in contrast to the unrighteous, he goes to the Lord for direction. It is Gods word which is the source of both his joy and direction. It is examining Gods word that is the focus of his seeking.
The righteous delights in Gods word. Think about this. Here we have an Old Testament saint who enjoys Gods word and finds pleasure in being obedient. I wonder how often we find joy in the opportunity to spend time in the word and putting it into practice. Maybe the reason he enjoys Gods word is because it is the focus on his life. It is a constant part of his walk. We are told he meditates on it day and night. This is Biblical meditation, not meditation as it has become today. Another translation of the word might be ponder. The verb ponder (yehgeh) does, indeed, mean moan, hum, utter, speak, muse, but all meanings involve the same process. For the man is pictured as reading over texts of this law to himself. 4
It is by focusing on Gods word, with the intent of making it living within one's life, that we can live in the manner which God intends. The Psalmist uses the tree planted by water to illustrate the believer who is watered by Gods word. He is not affected by, but rather prospers under, all circumstances. Prosper should not be taken to mean materially, but in carrying out the will of the Lord. Once again the principle is: Life comes from God and nowhere else.
The Wicked: In contrast to the healthy tree, which represents the one who is immersed in the water of the Word of God, we have the wicked who is described as being like chaff. The point is that they have nothing of value to offer, and that they will be swept away. From our perspective, understanding how God values the wicked, why would we want to involve ourselves in their advice, lifestyle or attitude towards God?
The psalmist makes it clear that when the unrighteous appear before God at the judgment, they will have nothing to say in their own defense. They wont be able to stand.
They shall stand there to be judged, but not to be acquitted. Fear shall lay hold upon them there; they shall not stand their ground; they shall flee away; they shall not stand in their own defense; for they shall blush and be covered with eternal contempt. 5
And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyones name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
Here the Psalmist points out the criteria for being in the presence of the Lord. The sinner cant be there, because it is the assembly of the righteous. It is only the righteous who can stand before God, and He is defines what meets the requirement for righteousness.
4 Leupold, H. C., Exposition Of Psalms, Baker Book House, 1974,
To be continued.
Comments or Questions?