In our daily Bible reading plan, we are beginning the book of Psalm today. And in this first Psalm, we are going to find nine results of the righteous person. But before we dig into those, let me give you just a small introduction into this book that is the longest book in the Bible.
Brief overview of the book of Psalm
About half of the psalms were written by King David, but all of the psalms served as the songbook of God’s people and it takes the basic themes of Old Testament theology and turns the into song. Within the book we find the following five tenets of theology:
- Monotheism – There is only one God
- Creation and fall of man that brought sin into the world
- Election and covenant – God chose a people for himself and bound himself to them by his covenant to save his people and through them to bring light to the world that is infected with the darkness of sin
- Covenant membership – In the introduction to the book of Psalm, the ESV Bible explains this covenant membership. “In his covenant, God offers grace to his people, forgiveness of their sins, the shaping of their lives to reflect his own glory, and to be a light to the Gentiles. Each member of God’s people is responsible to believe God’s promises and to grow in obeying his commands. Those who do this enjoy the full benefits of God’s love and find delight in knowing him. The well-being of God’s people as a whole affects the well0being of each member. Each one shares the joys and sorrow of the others. When believes suffer, they should not seek revenge, but should pray. They can be confident that God will make all things right in his own time.
- Eschatology – The story of God’s people leads to a future in which all the people of the world will come to know the Lord.
Types of songs found in the book of Psalm
Within the book of Psalm, the songs can be broken into some basic categories that include laments, hymns of praise, hymns of thanksgiving, hymns celebrating God’s law, wisdom psalms, songs of confidence, royal psalms, historical psalms, and prophetic hymns.
In the standard Hebrew text, the book of Psalms is divided into five books: Book 1 is Psalms 1-41, Book 2 is Psalm 42-72, Book 3 is Psalms 73-89, Book 4 is Psalm 90-106, and book 5 is Psalm 107-150.
Psalm 1 serves as the introduction to the rest of the book. The theme of Psalm 1 is on worship and those who worship God genuinely must embrace his Law (which in the days of David, was the Torah – Genesis through Deuteronomy and for us today, the Bible in its entirety).
David’s description of the righteous person
In Psalm 1:1-3, David describes a righteous person. David says this person is “blessed” or truly happy because God showers him with favor. This righteous person, is a model for us to follow to know how to be a righteous person. David begins by saying what this righteous person is not, then contrast it with what he is like. From these verses we find 9 results of a righteous person.
David tells us the difference between walking in the counsel of the ungodly versus walking in the way of the righteous. How do I know which pathway I’m walking on? Am I walking in the counsel of the ungodly, or am I walking in the way of the righteous? To discover the path we are on, we can ask ourselves several questions. Then check our answers by asking the same questions to the Holy Spirit.
- What are my desires?
- What are my priorities?
- Are my priorities godly things, or ungodly things?
- What are my appetites?
- What do I really enjoy?
- How do I spend my money?
- What is the inclination of my heart?
- What is the bent of my heart?
- How do I use my time?
- What do I gravitate toward?
- What captures my attention and my affections?
If I choose to build my life around eternal, godly priorities, I will cultivate a heart that desires to know God more and to love Him more. I will find joy in serving Him and in obeying Him. But if I am spending my time frittering away my life with things that don’t really matter, even if they are not evil in and of themselves, they’re helping me to love the world more and its system. As you answered these questions, on which path did you find yourself?
A Righteous person does not:
Result #1: A righteous person does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.
The word “counsel” means “to purpose, plan, a way of thinking.” It refers to an attitude, a state of mind, or a viewpoint which determines the decisions a person makes. So if we walk in the counsel of the wicked, we can become influenced by their way of thinking and their worldly view points. A righteous person does not walk in their counsel, because the wicked does not know or respect the ways of God and therefore it is impossible for them to give Godly counsel.
Who are the wicked?
When the Bible talks about the wicked, its not talking about those who take every possible opportunity to do something mean, vile and nasty. It is not talking about a caricature of someone who goes around popping little kids balloons, kicking cats, and double parking their car, although a wicked person may in fact do some of those things. The wicked aren’t just those who are guilty of sin, because all of us are touched any sin.
The wicked describes those people who are on a different path altogether. They’re not reading the map, instead they’ve tossed the map aside, and went out on their own. They are autonomous, people who create their own moral code. They are those who do what is right in their own eyes. Like it says in Job 21:13, the wicked say to God, “Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways.”
The wicked are those who choose their own path. They determine by their own judgment what is right and what is wrong and refuse to be guided by the wisdom of God. They are defined by a disregard for God’s revealed wisdom. Instead they’ve struck out on their own and drawn their own map for what’s right and wrong.
Psalm 1 paints a clear picture of where that path leads. Scripture consistently state that there is only one path to an abundant life, and that is a life lived in obedience to the will of God. So, when a person leaves that path, they will leave the true way to life.
Who are the people who influence us with the counsel of the wicked?
These can be friends, spouses, family members, co-workers, teachers, fellow students, celebrities, public figures—people. And that’s why the Scripture warns us so often about the kind of company that we keep, about the friends that we choose, about the people that we choose to spend a lot of time with. The Bible has much to say about who we hang out with.
Proverbs 1:15: “My son, [the father says to his son] do not walk [in the way with sinners]; hold back your foot from their paths.” Be careful who you walk with.
Proverbs 4:14: “Do not enter the path of the wicked, do not walk in the way of the evil.” Avoid it. Do not go on it. Turn away from it and pass on. Don’t walk with those who are on that pathway.
Proverbs 13:20: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Choose your friends carefully.
First Corinthians 15:33 gives us the same idea: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'”
The friends that you choose can determines to some extent the way that you live.
So who are your traveling companions in life? Who are you being influenced by? Who are your heroes? And who do you admire? Who do you follow on Twitter? What crowd do you hang out with at school?
And here’s an even more important question:
- Do the people that you gravitate toward, whether they’re famous people that you don’t know personally or the people that you build into your life and your closest friendships, do the people that you gravitate toward, do they love Jesus?
- Are they pursuing Him? Or are their hearts more inclined toward the world?
- Do they have a heart for the things of God? Or are they bent toward that which ungodly, that which is without worship?
So, we have a host of people around us—family members, parents, siblings, people in church, friends—all of these people are dispensing counsel to us. They might not call it counsel. They might not hang out a shingle and say, “I’m a counselor.” But they’re giving counsel to us.
The fact is, we’re going to be surrounded by counsel, but we can choose who we surround ourselves with, who we spend the most time with, who are our closest and most influential friends.
What counsel does the wicked give?
The ungodly will give counsel that has no absolutes, consequences or limits. It says you can have it all now. Ungodly counsel chooses to laugh at sin and scoff at virtue. It has temporal values. It sets one race higher than another, creating division and hatred. Through ungodly counsel, we establish a distorted world view of life that includes worldly definitions of physical beauty, body image, marriage, divorce, and gender. The counsel of the ungodly breeds an entitlement mindset that focuses only on my selfish rights. In today’s vernacular it looks like: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!” or “You can look, just don’t touch!”
The simple truth is that if we walk in the counsel of the wicked long enough, picking up their advice, perspectives, values, and worldview, we begin to sink to the next level: standing in the way of sinners.
Result #2: A righteous person does not stand in the way of sinners
The phrases “stands in the path of sinners” means doing what sinners do, or standing where sinners stand. We stand in the way of sinners when we do what he does. When we adopt his lifestyle, his habits, his patterns of conduct and they become our lifestyle, habits, and conduct. To stand for sin, is to defend it, to determine to go to it. Walking may be careless, but to make a stand shows intention. Standing is rationalizing and explaining away our sin and failing to fight it and flee from it.
Result #3: A righteous person does not sit in the seat of scoffers
A scoffer is one who is scornful. They are arrogant and think of themselves better than others and treat them accordingly. He has a heart full of pride which numbs the scoffer to the shame they should feel when they mistreat or make fun of others. Proverbs 14:9 says that fools scorn and mock at sin. Proverbs 21:24 tells us that the scoffer is proud and haughty. In proverbs 9:7, we find he is incorrigible and past the point of being correctable. Proverbs 13:1 says the scoffer hates any rebuke. In Proverbs 14:6, wisdom and knowledge easily elude him.
Those who sit in the seat of scoffers are those who not only participates in sin and godlessness, but will sneer at those who do not. They will boast in their sin. Sin is deceitful and ensnaring. It can distort our thinking and intrigue our interest. We walk by it a few times, then stand to get a better look, and before we know it, we have grown comfortable, settled into sin—and it becomes our boast. We identify with it and it comes to define us. At this point, someone has said, a person receives his master’s in worthlessness and his doctorate in damnation.
The righteous person is not the type of person who likes to sit around and criticize or make fun of people. They don’t mock God, at sin, or anything else in that regard. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law, he meditates day and night. In other words, he/she meditates and speaks aloud the word of God continually. They are careful that they don’t wrongly criticize, belittle, or make fun of the less fortunate.
A Righteous Person Does:
Result #4: The righteous person delights in the law of the Lord
Delighting in the law of the Lord is to cherish His Word – the Bible. In Psalm 119, it says, “O, how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day. How sweet are thy words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:97, 103) The righteous and the wicked are separated by what they delight in—the revelation of God or the way of the world.
Is it a delight that you look forward to, can’t wait to pick up the Bible and spend time reading it and allowing God to speak to you through His Word? Or is daily Bible reading more of a chore that you do because it’s the “Christian thing” to do and you want to check off the box for today’s reading? The same psalmist who said “How sweet are thy words to my taste” (119:103), said earlier, “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (119:18). He prayed, because to have holy taste buds on the tongue of the heart is a gift of God. No man naturally hungers for and delights in God’s wisdom.
If you are not delighting in God’s Word, how can you come to do so? 1) pray for new taste buds on the tongue of your heart; 2) meditate on the staggering promises of God to his people; 3) see it at God’s personal letter to you to guide you through life and lead you to know him more.
Result #5: The righteous person meditates day and night on God’s law
When we truly delight in God’s Word, the natural outcome is to meditate on it. To meditate means to stop, pause, and ponder. Discuss the Scriptures with others and the Lord. Ask yourself questions: What does this passage mean? How does this apply to me now? This will lead us to digger deeper into God’s Word and study it with a hunger to know more.
Studying involves understanding the historical background, or context, of a particular book; and frequently, looking at the original languages. Could you tell someone the theme of Romans? Do you know its primary emphasis? Who was the author, and what was his primary point?
Another way to meditate day and night on God’s Word is to memorize it. David said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). It isn’t enough to read God’s Word. We must delight in it, study it, and hide it in our hearts. But, then, we must also live it out. We want to be doers of the word, not hearers only (James 1:22).
Result 6: The righteous person person is like a tree planted by a river of water.
When a tree is planted near water, its roots go deep into the ground providing nutrients and water to make a healthy tree. Jesus said in John 4:14, “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.” In Revelation 22:1, John wrote, “Then the angel showed me the river of water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” As Christians, we drink from the river of life every time we study God’s Word and apply it to our lives so that our roots become firmly planted in the truths of God’s Word.
Result 7: This righteous person brings forth fruit.
There are two kinds of fruit that the Christian should be producing. The first is the fruit that Holy Spirit produces within the believer. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We should be cultivating and growing these fruits as we grow in our relationship with God and He works in our lives to transform us into His image.
The second kind of fruit a Christian should be producing is making disciples. Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples. (Matthew 28:19-20) The lost people in the world who are dying without Jesus are waiting for someone to tell them about Jesus. If that someone is you and you choose not to tell them, they could spend eternity in hell. Who can you tell about Jesus today?
Result 8: The righteous person’s leaf does not whither.
Our leaves of faith can be whithered in two ways. First, when difficult times come in life and we begin to question our faith or God and we fail to trust Him. Second, our leaves of faith become whithered when we lose our zeal for God and our eagerness to serve Him. But if we are firmly planted by the river of life, the leaves of our faith will not whither because we are deeply rooted into Jesus. In John 15:5, Jesus says that He is the vine and we (Christians) are the branches. The vine is what delivers life-giving nutrients and water to the branches. If we remove ourselves from the vine, then we will whither away. But if we remain in Him, we will produce much fruit.
Jesus said He is the vine and we are the branches. The vine is what delivers life-given nutrients and water to the branches. If we remove ourselves from the vine, we will whither away. But if we remain in Him, we will produce much fruit. — click to tweet
Result 9: The righteous person will prosper in whatever He does.
This does not mean that we will be rich, wealthy, or famous. It means that if we are well grafted to the vine and being fed and nurtured by the vine, then we will know what His will is and as we are obedient to God and allow Him to do His work in His time, we can’t help but be prosperous in God’s intended will for us. In Isaiah 46:10 God says, “My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.”
When we are well grafted to the vine and being fed and nurtured by the vine, we will know His will. When we are obedient to His will, we can’t help but be prosperous in God’s plan for us because His plan will take place and He will do His will (Is 46:10). — click to tweet
In order to be the righteous person that the psalmist described, we must be drinking from the living water of Christ, producing fruit, grafted into the vine so we do not whither, and then we will prosper as we live obediently to God’s Word and God’s plan for our lives. We do this as we meditate day and night on God’s Word and spend time praying. We do this through worshiping with a community of believers in our local church and being actively involved in a small group Bible study. This is how our spiritual roots grow deep and how we grow spiritually.
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