Even with all the commands found in the Bible that show us how we are to obey God and live out our faith, sometimes it’s hard to wrap our minds around all of those commands and put them into practice. And sometimes, we wonder if we’re even on the right path with God.
I want to walk through Psalm 1 in this episode and present some ways you can know if you are on the right path. We’ll see in this Psalm a vivid contrast between those who are following God and those who aren’t.
I shared in episode 169 earlier this year how we can thrive in our lives. I used Psalm 1 to show what a thriving life looks like. I’ll link it in the show notes so you can listen to it if you haven’t had a chance already.
Today, though, I want to go a little deeper into Psalm 1 to show you what it looks like to follow God and live a blessed life. I’m sharing this topic today because I am currently working on a paper for my Old Testament class in seminary that is due in a couple of weeks. I’ve chosen to show how there is a stark contrast between the path of the righteous and the path of the ungodly.
In writing this paper, I’m consulting various commentaries, peer-reviewed journal articles, and other writings from people who have studied this topic before. And while Psalm 1 is a very familiar Psalm to me, I’ve uncovered so much that I either didn’t notice before or had not made certain connections with what the Psalm is really saying.
I won’t go into great detail about what I’m writing concerning Psalm 1. But I do want to give you something to think about when you are wondering if you are on the right path or not when it comes to following God.
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
I want to concentrate our discussion on the first three verses. Verse one begins with the phrase, “Blessed is the man.” The Hebrew word for blessed in this verse can be translated as happy. Now happiness does not mean what we tend to think it means. It’s more than an emotion. Being happy or blessed means we are happy because of what God has done for us. Or more specifically for us, what Christ did on the cross. Happiness is not something that we are pursuing; running after things we think will make us happy. We are already happy because of what God has done for us.
So knowing that we are already happy or blessed if we are a believer, let’s look further at verse one and see what the blessed person does. A blessed person does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers. Notice the progression of these three things the blessed person does not show.
Walking implies going alongside someone. When you walk in the counsel of the wicked, you are still moving and can move away from what they say. When you stand in the way of sinners, it shows you’ve stopped and you are now listening to what they have to say. Then when you sit, you are deeply engaged and most likely highly influenced by the scoffers. Scholars believe that the wicked, sinners, and scoffers could be the same type of people. What’s important to note is where you are in relation to the wicked. Are you walking, standing, or sitting with them? Remember that verse one says that the blessed do not do these things. They do not follow the advice of these people, nor does their lifestyle influence them.
So let me ask, what in the world is influencing you today? Are you listening to the world and adopting a worldly lifestyle? I’m not trying to be legalistic here. But it’s so important to realize that as believers, we are called to be set apart from the world. So it’s just something to think about.
Verse 2 tells us what the blessed person does instead of engaging with the wicked. He delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on it day and night. Last week’s episode was about how important it is to read the Bible and read it a lot. I encourage you to click the link in the show notes and listen to it if you haven’t already.
Knowing God’s word is so vital to be able to know how we are to live our lives. Psalm 1:2 makes it clear that being on the right path with God means we are consistently reading and thinking about His Word.
Then verse 3 gives the benefits of being the blessed person on the right path with God. The blessed person is like a tree planted by streams of water that bear fruit. Its leaf does not wither. All that he does prospers.
This verse paints a picture of a tree that has deep roots. When a tree is planted by water, it has the nourishment it needs to survive and thrive. It also bears fruit because it is rooted in a place where it is nourished.
What does this mean for us? We can bear fruit for God’s kingdom when we are consistently in God’s Word, meditating on it, reading it, and living out what it says. We’re also refreshed and able to be a blessing to others.
So let’s put together what we’ve learned from these three verses. We can know we are on the right path with God when instead of walking with the world and listening to what it says we should do, we are reading the Bible, meditating on it, and putting what we’ve read into action. When we begin to see fruit, such as leading others to Christ, overcoming sin in our own lives, or being obedient to what God tells us to do, we’ll know we’re on the right path.
Does this mean we’ll never experience hardship despite our obedience? No! But it does mean we can still live the blessed life rooted in God’s Word.
Have you noticed a theme in what I’ve shared in this episode and in the last episode? We’ve got to be women who are in the Word to live out our faith in a way that honors and glorifies God. I pray you will be encouraged to pick up your Bible today and discover what God has to say to you.