Psalm one shows us a clear distinction between the way of the righteous and the end of those who are ungodly. The meaning of Psalm 1 can be found in the opening verse which paints a clear image of the power of choices and the results of those choices.
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” Psalm 1:1 KJV
Two types of men are revealed in Psalm 1 and the verses show you how their stories eventually turn out. The man in the introductory verse is blessed because he chooses righteousness, godliness, and the ways of God. The later verses show us the actions, decisions, and eventual fruits that come to bear in his life as a result of the choices he made.
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However, another man is revealed to us in Psalm 1:4
“The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.” Psalm 1:4 NKJV
The Amplified translation describes this man as one who lives in disobedience to God’s law. Psalm 1 opens us up to the wonderful truth of the benefits of choosing a godly life rooted in God. Also, it tells us why a life lived in disobedience to God’s laws always ends in sorrow and destruction.
What is the Message in Psalm 1
Psalm 1 also referred to as the preface Psalms lays the foundation for the entire book of Psalms in the bible. It is interesting to note how Psalm 1 begins by showing us a stark contrast between the righteous and unrighteous, the godly and ungodly, the children of God, and the children of the wicked one.
The desire of King David who wrote Psalm 1 may have been to show us the choices and paths that lead to blessedness, and also the end of a man who chooses ungodliness and wickedness. Also, this Psalm highlights the power of making good choices and the fruitfulness that comes with godly living and a life lived for God.
Psalm 1 consists of two parts. Psalm 1:1-3 tells us about the choices, character, and blessings that rest on the man that chooses the path of righteousness. Psalm 1:4-6 opens our eyes to see the personality of the ungodly, his actions, and his eventual end.
The Godly Vs The Ungodly
“ Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers). Psalm 1:1 Amplified
The man identified in verse 1 is a man whose entire focus is on God. He is that man who has chosen the path of righteousness and has committed to living God’s way. He refuses to be influenced by the culture and mindset of the world around him.
In the world today, there are many believers who have allowed the world’s system to infiltrate their thinking and lifestyle. Many have compromised their faith in a bid to belong and match the standards of men.
But, the man in Psalm 1:1 had made up his mind never to walk or stand in the path of sinners. His values and principles were laid down. He would never be associated with evildoers or swayed by the words of those who plot and do evil. And he will not in any way make himself subject to the counsel or advice that comes from a man whose ways are not God’s ways.
5 Things We Can Learn From Psalm 1:1
- He refuses to walk in the counsel of the unrighteous or follow the advice of the ungodly and wicked. (His choices are guarded and he chooses who he receives counsel from.)
- He avoids the pathway of sinners. (The road where sinners walk – their lifestyle, cravings, and depravity)
- He chooses never to be found seated with the scornful. ( those who look down on others and show contempt towards the things of God and his kingdom.
- He is called ‘Blessed’. Blessings connote fruitfulness, increase, productivity and prosperity. The blessings of God are evident in the life of this man who had chosen the path of righteousness.
- His life and future is secure in God’s love and faithfulness. Psalm 1:6 NLT “For the LORD watches over the path of the godly.”
Another unique thing that distinguishes this man is how he is hooked on God and his word. The Psalmist talks about a man who takes out time during the day and night season to meditate and reflect on the word of God.
Psalm 1:2 says this:
“ But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
He takes great pleasure in spending time with the word of God. To know God is to know his word. And every moment spent with God through his word always draws us nearer to God. God’s nature, personality and character will eventually rub off on us and we become more like him.
“But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.” Psalm 1: 4-5 NLT
The Description of the Ungodly
The bible describes the ungodly man as wicked. Some other words used are sinners, unrighteous and evil. And Psalm 1:4 lets us know how different the ungodly are from the righteous. The ungodly man is the exact opposite of the righteous both in character and condition. He is led by the counsel of the wicked, he stands in the way of sinners and seats comfortably with the scornful. This man has no delight in the law and ways of God and his life brings forth fruit of wickedness.
God’s word describes the ungodly and wicked as worthless chaff that will be driven away and scattered by the wind. The wicked have no worth before God, they lack substance and are easily driven by every wind of evil and temptation. He will also have no place or part in the blessings that rest upon the life of a man who is godly. In the end, this man perishes for lack of wisdom. Because he chooses a life contrary to God’s way of living, the path he chooses to walk leads him to ruin and destruction.
Psalm 1 Life Application
What lessons can we learn as we read Psalm 1 and how can we apply those lessons in our daily life? The meaning of Psalm 1 clearly shows us two ways of life. One that leads to happiness, peace, and fruitfulness. While the other way leads to calamity, ruin, and death.
Godliness is the major attribute of the man spoken about in Psalm 1. And we know that walking as one who is godly means living a life that is God-centered. Here are 3 different lessons we can draw from Psalm and how we can apply them to our lives today.
Choose God’s Pathway
Psalm 1 teaches us about the power of choices and the result that follows each man’s choice. One man chose godliness and the other man chose an evil and wicked way of living.
Every single day of our life will leave us with choices. You either choose good or bad, kindness or wickedness, forgiveness or anger, love or hatred. Whichever way, you will always make choices as you journey through life – good or bad! Deuteronomy 30: 19 says this:
“ I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”
More so, the free gift of salvation has been given in Christ Jesus, but until you make that choice to accept Jesus into your heart and declare it with your mouth – you will not be saved.
What choices will you be making in your life today to live a life that pleases God? How can you reflect the nature and character of God in your life through the choices you make daily?
Build Intimacy With God by Spending Time With His Word
One major attribute of the man revealed in Psalm 1 is his desire for intimacy with God. God is revealed to us through his word and the more we spend time in His word, the more we get to know him.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2 NKJV
This man did not just desire to know God more, his delight was in God’s law and the revelation that comes with it. He also spent time meditating on the word of God day and night.
To meditate means to think deeply about something, to ponder, to mutter, to reflect, to fix your mind on the word of God. When you can spend time meditating on the word of God, only then can you be intimate with the deep truths and great things hidden in the word of God.
Here are a few tips to help you.
- Write down verses of scripture and block out a few minutes in your day just to reflect and think on the word.
- Journal about what you are studying in the bible. Whether it’s a character study or topic study, journal about what you are learning and what God is showing you.
- Pray scriptures. This is one good way to build your faith and experience the power of God’s word.
3. Trust God through the Season of Life
As believers, we are tempted to only trust God in the good seasons of life. When challenges come, we are quick to question God and waver in our faith. Psalm 1:3 says this man “brings forth its fruit in its season”.
When that season came, he was fruitful and flourished in every area of his life. Will you still trust God in seasons of difficulty and pain? We must learn to wait on God, his timing, and trust him through every season of life.
Concluding Thoughts on the Meaning of Psalm 1
Psalm 1 also gives us insight into the heart of the writer who shares with us his thoughts and deep reflections about life, choices, people and his relationship with God.
His first words ‘ Blessed is the man who……’ helps us see that a man’s blessings and fruitfulness is tied to the choices he makes in life. What choices are you making in your life every single day? Are you choosing the pathway of life or death?
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Meet the Author:
Hi, I am Ufuoma! I am a Jesus-loving mum, wife to an amazing man, and mom to two children. I live in Lagos, Nigeria and currently work alongside my husband in his dental practice. I blog at One Inspired Mum where I share God-inspired articles on faith, hope, spirituality, and encouragement to help build, inspire and support moms in their motherhood journey. I love learning from people’s stories and getting lost in the words of a good book. Facebook | Instagram