The Timeless Truths of Psalms 1:1-3: Sit, Walk, Stand or Delight

Psalm 1:1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wickednor stand in the path of sinnersnor sit in the seat of scoffers! (NASB: Lockman)

English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and has not stood in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the seat of evil men.

Amplified: BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. (Amplified Bible – Lockman)

KJV: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

NET: How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of scoffers! (NET Bible)

NJB: How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not take a stand in the path that sinners tread, nor a seat in company with cynics, (NJB)

Young’s Literal: O the happiness of that one, who Hath not walked in the counsel of the wicked. And in the way of sinners hath not stood, And in the seat of scorners hath not sat;


Blessing (bless, blessed) is a common theme in the Psalms (108 times in 98 verses – with approximately 47 referring to blessing the LORD and about 57 God blessing men, with the remainder difficult to classify – as an aside this makes for an interesting study, especially to see who it is that God blesses and how this blessing is manifested. See all uses in “Wisdom” Literature – Job, Psalms, Proverbs)…

Donne – How abundantly is that word Blessed multiplied in the Book of Psalms! The book seems to be made out of that word, and the foundation raised upon that Word, for it is the first word of the book. But in all the book there is not one Woe.

Play this beautiful song…then, enabled by the Holy Spirit, put the blessed truth of Psalm 1 into practice…you will never regret it beloved!

  • Planted By the Waters

    Note: In this song the words “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD…” are from the parallel passage in Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” (HALLELUJAH!)

Let us take a moment to scan over some of the uses of bless, blessed and blessing in the Psalms as we prepare to study key to the blessed life in Christ…

Ps 2:12 Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge (put their trust) in Him!

Have we a share in this blessedness? Do we trust in him? Our faith may be slender as a spider’s thread; but if it be real, we are in our measure blessed. The more we trust, the more fully shall we know this blessedness. We may therefore close the Psalm with the prayer of the apostles: — “Lord, increase our faith.” (Spurgeon)

Psalm 5:12 For it is Thou who dost bless the righteous man, O LORD, Thou dost surround him with favor as with a shield.

This is a promise of infinite length, of unbounded breadth, and of unutterable preciousness. (Spurgeon)

Psalm 24:5 (Context for who “he” is) He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. So that the saints need salvation; they receive righteousness, and the blessing is a boon from God their Saviour. They do not ascend the hill of the Lord as givers but as receivers, and they do not wear their own merits, but a righteousness which they have received. Holy living ensures a blessing as its reward from the thrice Holy God, but it is itself a blessing of the New Covenant and a delightful fruit of the Spirit. God first gives us good works, and then rewards us for them. Grace is not obscured by God’s demand for holiness, but is highly exalted as we see it decking the saint with jewels, and clothing him in fair white linen; all this sumptuous array being a free gift of mercy. (Spurgeon)

Ps 32:1 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! 2 How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!

Blessed. Like the Sermon on the Mount (see notes Matthew 5:1ff), this Psalm begins with beatitudes. This is the second Psalm of benediction. The first Psalm (see notes Psalm 1) describes the result of holy blessedness, the thirty-second details the cause of it. The first pictures the tree in full growth, this depicts it in its first planting and watering. He who in the first Psalm is a reader of God’s book, is here a suppliant at God’s throne accepted and heard.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven. He is now blessed and ever shall be. Be he ever so poor, or sick, or sorrowful, he is blessed in very deed. Pardoning mercy is of all things in the world most to be prized, for it is the only and sure way to happiness. To hear from God’s own Spirit the words, “absolvo te” is joy unspeakable. Blessedness is not in this case ascribed to the man who has been a diligent law keeper, for then it would never come to us, but rather to a lawbreaker, who by grace most rich and free has been forgiven. Self righteous Pharisees have no portion in this blessedness. Over the returning prodigal, the word of welcome is here pronounced, and the music and dancing begin.

A full, instantaneous, irreversible pardon of transgression turns the poor sinner’s hell into heaven, and makes the heir of wrath a partaker in blessing. The word rendered forgiven is in the original taken off or taken away, as a burden is lifted or a barrier removed. What a lift is here! It cost our Saviour a sweat of blood to bear our load, yea, it cost Him His life to bear it quite away. Samson carried the gates of Gaza, but what was that to the weight which Jesus bore on our behalf?

Whose sin is covered. Covered by God, as the ark was covered by the mercyseat, as Noah was covered from the flood, as the Egyptians were covered by the depths of the sea. What a cover must that be which hides away forever from the sight of the all seeing God all the filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit! He who has once seen sin in its horrible deformity, will appreciate the happiness of seeing it no more for ever. Christ’s atonement is the propitiation, the covering, the making an end of sin; where this is seen and trusted in, the soul knows itself to be now accepted in the Beloved, and therefore enjoys a conscious blessedness which is the antepast (a foretaste) of heaven. It is clear from the text that a man may know that he is pardoned: where would be the blessedness of an unknown forgiveness? Clearly it is a matter of knowledge, for it is the ground of comfort.

Verse 2. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity. The word blessed is in the plural, oh, the blessednesses! the double joys, the bundles of happiness, the mountains of delight! Note the three words so often used to denote our disobedience: transgression, sin, and iniquity, are the three headed dog at the gates of hell, but our glorious Lord has silenced his barkings for ever against his own believing ones. The trinity of sin is overcome by the Trinity of heaven. Non imputation is of the very essence of pardon: the believer sins, but his sin is not reckoned, not accounted to him. Certain divines froth at the mouth with rage against imputed righteousness, be it ours to see our sin not imputed, and to us may there be as Paul words it, “Righteousness imputed without works.” He is blessed indeed who has a substitute to stand for him to whose account all his debts may be set down. And in whose spirit there is no guile. He who is pardoned, has in every case been taught to deal honestly with himself, his sin, and his God. Forgiveness is no sham, and the peace which it brings is not caused by playing tricks with conscience. Self deception and hypocrisy bring no blessedness, they may drug the soul into hell with pleasant dreams, but into the heaven of true peace they cannot conduct their victim. Free from guilt, free from guile. Those who are justified from fault are sanctified from falsehood. A liar is not a forgiven soul. Treachery, double dealing, chicanery, dissimulation, are lineaments of the devil’s children, but he who is washed from sin is truthful, honest, simple, and childlike. There can be no blessedness to tricksters with their plans, and tricks, and shuffling, and pretending: they are too much afraid of discovery to be at ease; their house is built on the volcano’s brink, and eternal destruction must be their portion. Observe the three words to describe sin, and the three words to represent pardon, weigh them well, and note their meaning. (Spurgeon)

Ps 34:8 O taste (imperative = not a suggestion but a command) and see (another imperative) that the LORD is good. How blessed is the man who takes refuge (places his trust) in Him!

O taste and see. Make a trial, an inward, experimental trial of the goodness of God. You cannot see except by tasting for yourself; but if you taste you shall see, for this, like Jonathan’s honey, enlightens the eyes. That the Lord is good. You can only know this really and personally by experience. There is the banquet with its oxen and fatlings; its fat things full of marrow, and wine on the lees well refined; but their sweetness will be all unknown to you except you make the blessings of grace your own, by a living, inward, vital participation in them.

Blessed is the man that trusts in Him. Faith is the soul’s taste; they who test the Lord by their confidence always find Him good, and they become themselves blessed. The second clause of the verse, is the argument in support of the exhortation contained in the first sentence. (Spurgeon)

Ps 40:4 How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

Blessed. This is an exclamation similar to that of the first Psalm, “Oh, the happiness of the man.” God’s blessings are emphatic, “I wot ( know) that he whom Thou blesses is blessed,” indeed and in very truth. Is that man that maketh the Lord his trust. Faith obtains promises. A simple single eyed confidence in God is the sure mark of blessedness. A man may be as poor as Lazarus, as hated as Mordecai, as sick as Hezekiah, as lonely as Elijah, but while his hand of faith can keep its hold on God, none of his outward afflictions can prevent his being numbered among the blessed; but the wealthiest and most prosperous man who has no faith is accursed, be he who he may. (Spurgeon)

Ps 84:12 O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in Thee!

Here is the key of the Psalm. The worship is that of faith, and the blessedness is peculiar to believers. No formal worshipper can enter into this secret. A man must know the Lord by the life of real faith, or he can have no true rejoicing in the Lord’s worship, his house, his Son, or his ways. Dear reader, how fares it with thy soul? (Spurgeon)

What is the blessing associated with or “effected” by in this Psalm? Trust (cp Jer 17:78). Faith. Believing (see word study on verb pisteuo). For example, do you really believe God has granted you “everything (how much? Greek word pas = all without exception!) necessary for life (zoe = not just breathing, but life abundant which is Jesus’ desire for us, Jn 10:10) and godliness through (preposition “dia” = the conduit through which “life and godliness” flow, so to speak) the true knowledge of Him (thus the vital importance of daily “eating” His pure, unadulterated Word of Truth and Life – 1Pe 2:2noteMt 4:4Dt 8:2316Php 2:16note) who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2Pe 1:3note)? Remember that trusting is not a passive mindset, but a reflects an active, volitional, submissive change in our thinking, which results in a change in our doing. If you truly believe, you will behave according to how, what and Who you believe. A disconnect in this dynamic is the essence of Pharisaical hypocrisy. Do not be deceived, beloved brethren (Jas 1:22noteJas 1:25note; see related discussion re the NT phrase the obedience of faith)

Ps 94:12 Blessed is the man (Hebrew = geber = Hebrew root commonly associated with warfare and has to do with the strength and vitality of the successful warrior; relates to the male at the height of his powers) whom You chasten, O LORD, and whom You teach out of Your law;

Blessed is the man whom Thou chastens, O LORD. The psalmist’s mind is growing quiet. He no longer complains to God or argues with men, but tunes his harp to softer melodies, for his faith perceives that with the most afflicted believer all is well. Though he may not feel blessed while smarting under the rod of chastisement, yet blessed he is; he is precious in God’s sight, or the Lord would not take the trouble to correct him, and right happy will the results of his correction be (see notes Hebrews 12:567891011). The psalmist calls the chastened one a “man” in the best sense, using the Hebrew word which implies strength. He is a man, indeed, who is under the teaching and training of the Lord. (Spurgeon)

Ps 106:3 How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice righteousness at all times!

Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. Multiplied are the blessings which must descend upon the whole company of the keepers of the way of justice, and especially upon that one rare man who at all times follows that which is right. Holiness is happinessThe way of right is the way of peace. Yet men leave this road, and prefer the paths of the destroyer. Hence the story which follows is in sad contrast with the happiness here depicted, because the way of Israel was not that of judgment and righteousness, but that of folly and iniquity. The Psalmist, while contemplating the perfections of God, was impressed with the feeling that the servants of such a being must be happy, and when he looked around and saw how the tribes of old prospered when they obeyed, and suffered when they sinned, he was still more fully assured of the truth of his conclusion. O could we but be free of sin we should be rid of sorrow! We would not only be just, but “keep judgment”; we would not be content with occasionally acting rightly, but would “do justice at all times.” (Spurgeon)

Ps 112:1 Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments.

Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord. According to the last verse of Psalm 111, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; this man, therefore, has begun to be wise, and wisdom has brought him present happiness, and secured him eternal felicity. Jehovah is so great that He is to be feared and had in reverence of all them that are round about Him, and He is at the same time so infinitely good that the fear is sweetened into filial love, and becomes a delightful emotion, by no means engendering bondage. There is a slavish fear which is accursed; but that godly fear which leads to delight in the service of God is infinitely blessed. Jehovah is to be praised both for inspiring men with godly fear and for the blessedness which they enjoy in consequence thereof. We ought to bless God for blessing any man, and especially for setting the seal of his approbation upon the godly. His favour towards the God fearing displays His character and encourages gracious feelings in others, therefore let Him be praised.

That delighteth greatly in His commandments. The man not only studies the divine precepts and endeavours to observe them, but rejoices to do so:

Holiness is his happiness,
Devotion is his delight,
Truth is his treasure

He rejoices in the precepts of godliness, yea, and delights greatly in them. We have known hypocrites rejoice in the doctrines, but never in the commandments. Ungodly men may in some measure obey the commandments out of fear, but only a gracious man will observe them with delight.

Cheerful obedience
is the only acceptable obedience

He who obeys reluctantly is disobedient at heart, but he who takes pleasure in the command is truly loyal. If through divine grace we find ourselves described in these two sentences, let us give all the praise to God, for He hath wrought all our works in us, and the dispositions out of which they spring. Let self righteous men praise themselves, but he who has been made righteous by grace renders all the praise to the Lord.

Ps 119:1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD.

Blessed. The psalmist is so enraptured with the Word of God that he regards it as the highest ideal of blessedness to be conformed to it. He has gazed on the beauties of the perfect law, and, as if this verse were the sum and outcome of all his emotions, he exclaims,

Blessed is the man whose life is the practical transcript of the will of God.

True religion is not cold and dry; it has its exclamations and raptures. We not only judge the keeping of God’s law to be a wise and proper thing, but we are warmly enamored of its holiness, and cry out in adoring wonder, “Blessed are the undefiled!”—meaning thereby that we eagerly desire to become such ourselves, and wish for no greater happiness than to be perfectly holy.

This first verse is not only a preface to the whole psalm, but it may also be regarded as the text upon which the rest is a discourse. It is similar to the benediction of Psalm 1, which is set in the forefront of the entire book: there is a likeness between this Psalm 119 and the Psalter, and this is one point of it, that it begins with a benediction. In this, too, we see some foreshadowings of the Son of David, who began His great sermon as David (Ed: the author of Ps 119 is not stated but could be David. Some think Ezra the Scribe) began His great psalm. When we cannot bestow blessings, we can show the way of obtaining them, and even if we do not yet possess them ourselves, it may be profitable to contemplate them, that our desires may be excited, and our souls moved to seek after them.

As David thus begins his psalm, so should young men begin their lives, so should new converts commence their life of faith, so should all Christians begin every day. Holiness is happiness, and it is our wisdom first to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Mankind began with being blessed in innocence, and if our fallen race is ever to be blessed again, it must find it where it lost it at the beginning, in conformity to the command of the Lord.

Ps 119:2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies. What! A second blessing? Yes, they are doubly blessed whose outward life is supported by an inward zeal for God’s glory. In the first verse we had an undefiled way, and it was taken for granted that the purity in the way was not mere surface work, but was attended by the inward truth and life which comes of divine grace. Here that which was implied is expressed.

Blessedness is ascribed to those who treasure up the testimonies of the Lord: in which is implied that they search the Scriptures, that they come to an understanding of them, that they love them, and then that they continue in the practice of them.

We must first get a thing before we can keep it. In order to keep it well we must get a firm grip of it: we cannot keep in the heart that which we have not heartily embraced by the affections.

God’s word is His witness or testimony to grand and important truths which concern Himself and our relation to Him: this we should desire to know; knowing it, we should believe it; believing it, we should love it; and loving it, we should hold it fast against all comers.

There is a doctrinal keeping of the word when we are ready to die for its defence, and a practical keeping of it when we actually live under its power.

Revealed truth is precious as diamonds, and should be kept or treasured up in the memory and in the heart as jewels in a casket, or as the law was kept in the ark; this however is not enough, for it is meant for practical use, and therefore it must be kept or followed, as men keep to a path, or to a line of business.

If we keep God’s testimonies
They will keep us

They will keep us right in opinion, comfortable in spirit, holy in conversation, and hopeful in expectation. If they were ever worth having, and no thoughtful person will question that, then they are worth keeping; their designed effect does not come through a temporary seizure of them, but by a persevering keeping of them: “in keeping of them there is great reward.”

We are bound to keep with all care the word of God, because it is his testimonies. He gave them to us, but they are still his own. We are to keep them as a watchman guards his master’s house, as a steward husbands his lord’s goods, as a shepherd keeps his employer’s flock. We shall have to give an account, for we are put in trust with the gospel, and woe to us if we be found unfaithful. We cannot fight a good fight, nor finish our course, unless we keep the faith. To this end the Lord must keep us: only those who are kept by the power of God unto salvation will ever be able to keep his testimonies. What a blessedness is therefore evidenced and testified by a careful belief in God’s word, and a continual obedience thereunto. God has blessed them, is blessing them, and will bless them for ever. That blessedness which David saw in others he realized for himself, for in Psalms 119:168 he says, “I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies,” and in Ps 119:54-56 he traces his joyful songs and happy memories to this same keeping of the law, and he confesses, “This I had because I kept thy precepts.” Doctrines which we teach to others we should experience for ourselves.

And that seek him with the whole heart. Those who keep the Lord’s testimonies are sure to seek after Himself. If His word is precious we may be sure that He Himself is still more so. Personal dealing with a personal God is the longing of all those who have allowed the word of the Lord to have its full effect upon them. If we once really know the power of the gospel we must seek the God of the gospel.

“O that I knew where I might find HIM,”
will be our wholehearted cry.

See the growth which these sentences indicate: first, in the way, then walking in it, then finding and keeping the treasure of truth, and to crown all, seeking after the Lord of the way Himself. Note also that the further a soul advances in grace the more spiritual and divine are its longings: an outward walk does not content the gracious soul, nor even the treasured testimonies; it reaches out in due time after God Himself, and when it in a measure finds Him, still yearns for more of Him, and seeks Him still.

Seeking after God signifies a desire to commune with Him more closely, to follow Him more fully, to enter into more perfect union with His mind and will, to promote His glory, and to realize completely all that He is to holy hearts. The blessed man has God already, and for this reason he seeks him. This may seem a contradiction: it is only a paradox.

God is not truly sought by the cold researches of the brain:
We must seek him with the heart

Love reveals itself to love: God manifests His heart to the heart of His people. It is in vain that we endeavour to comprehend Him by reason; we must apprehend Him by affection. But the heart must not be divided with many objects if the Lord is to be sought by us (see Matthew 6:24note; cp one thing I do – see Philippians 3:13note). God is one, and we shall not know Him till our heart is one. A broken heart need not be distressed at this, for no heart is so whole in its seeking after God as a heart which is broken, whereof every fragment sighs and cries after the great Father’s face. It is the divided heart which the doctrine of the text censures, and strange to say, in scriptural phraseology,

a heart may be divided and not brokenand it may be broken but not dividedand yet again it may be broken and be whole, and it never can be whole until it is broken.

When our whole heart seeks the holy God in Christ Jesus it has come to Him of Whom it is written, “as many as touched Him were made perfectly whole.”

That which the Psalmist admires in this verse he claims in the tenth, where he says, “With my whole heart have I sought thee.” It is well when admiration of a virtue leads to the attainment of it. Those who do not believe in the blessedness of seeking the Lord will not be likely to arouse their hearts to the pursuit, but he who calls another blessed because of the grace which he sees in him is on the way to gaining the same grace for himself.

If those who seek the Lord are blessed, what shall be said of those who actually dwell with Him and know that He is theirs?

“To those who fall, how kind thou art!
How good to those who seek!
But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show:
The love of Jesus — what it is,
None but His loved ones know.”

Ps 146:5 How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help. Heaped up is his happiness. He has happiness indeed: the true and the real delight is with him. The God of Jacob is the God of the covenant, the God of wrestling prayer, the God of the tried believer; he is the only living and true God. The God of Jacob is Jehovah, who appeared unto Moses, and led the tribes of Jacob out of Egypt, and through the wilderness. Those are happy who trust him, for they shall never be ashamed or confounded. The Lord never dies, neither do his thoughts perish: his purpose of mercy, like himself, endures throughout all generations. Hallelujah!

Whose hope is in the LORD his God. He is happy in help for the present and in hope for the future, who has placed all his confidence in Jehovah, who is his God by a covenant of salt (See Trumbull’s Covenant of Salt). Happy is he when others are despairing! Happiest shall he be in that very hour when others are discovering the depths of agony. We have here a statement which we have personally tried and proved: resting in the Lord, we know a happiness which is beyond description, beyond comparison, beyond conception. O how blessed a thing it is to know that God is our present help, and our eternal hope. Full assurance is more than heaven in the bud, the flower has begun to open. We would not exchange with Caesar; his sceptre is a bauble, but our bliss is true treasure.

In each of the two titles here given, namely, “the God of Jacob”, and “Jehovah his God”, there is a peculiar sweetness. Either one of them has a fountain of joy in it; but the first will not cheer us without the second. Unless Jehovah be his God no man can find confidence in the fact that he was Jacob’s God. But when by faith we know the Lord to be ours, then we are “rich to all the intents of bliss.”


How blessed – This phrase appears 23x in 22v in the Psalms – This makes an interesting devotional or Sunday School study – What does God say about “how blessed”? – see Ps 1:12:1232:1234:840:441:165:484:451289:15106:3112:1119:12127:5128:1137:89144:15146:5. (And for “extra credit see the remainder of the 31v that use the phrase “how blessed” 2Ki 10:82Chr 9:7Pr 3:1320:728:14Isa 30:1832:2056:2Da 12:12)


Lk 11:28 (Jesus said) Blessed (makarios) are those who hear the word of God, and observe it.

Jn 13:17 (Jesus said) If you know these things, you are blessed (makarios) if you do them.

James 1:22 (note) Prove (present imperative = as your lifestyle or regular practice) yourselves doers (poietes) of the word, and not merely hearers (akroates – like those who audit a course for non-credit!) who delude (paralogizomai = literally to reason alongside; present tense = continually in a state of spiritual delusion) themselves

1 Samuel 15:22 (Samuel to disobedient King Saul from whom the “blessing” would be removed) Has the LORD as much delight (same Hebrew word chephets as in Psalm 1:2) in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)

At the outset note that the promise of blessing in Psalm 1 is not for the one who simply reads these beautiful words but who hides and heeds the words in his or her heart. As Jesus’ Words emphasize in Luke 11:28 obedience is the key to blessing in both the Old and New Testament. God desires to bless His children because they are as it were, His trophies of redemption, His re-creations in Christ, and as such He desires the lost world to see His glory through believing, obedient children. So as you read and meditate on this great psalm, ask God to open your heart to receive the Word implanted which is able to save your soul, not just the first time but every day as His Spirit takes the Word and sets us progressively more and more apart from the world and unto God. As we read and ponder these precious words let us have tender, even trembling hearts, that we might begin to experience, not just life, which all believers have in Christ, but even abundant life in Christ, the life which is blessed, blessed.

Observe in Psalm 1 we encounter two men, two ways and two destinies. This contrast is especially dramatic when one observes words penned at the beginning (blessed) and the end (perish)! Take your choice!

In verse 1 we observe the practice of the godly man, in verse 2 the passion and in verse 3 his “permanence”. This beatitude psalm describes the “be attitude” man, the one who is spiritually satisfied regardless of the circumstances!

You may have read in Spurgeon’s comments above on the blessed state in Psalm 32:1-2 (Spurgeon on v1Verse 2) where he notes that there is an association with the blessednesses in Psalm 1. And indeed there is for Psalm 32 speaks of blessings which are a result of God’s forgiveness of sins. It is on such a firm foundation of God’s imputation (reckoning, placing on one’s account) of confessing sinners as forgiven sinners (who are saints!), that makes possible the accomplishment the obedience and practical righteousness called for in Psalm 1, especially Psalm 1:1. Forgiven people are blessed people and are in the position (in Christ) to experience even greater blessednesses from our gracious, giving Lord! Amazing grace indeed that not only does He save us but that His desire is then to even blessed us over and above the blessing of salvation!

Psalm 1 contrasts the two life styles set out in the wisdom literature and reminds the readers of the choices of life or death, of blessing or curse (cf. Deut 30:11-20).

Steele (1674) speaks of the value of the different components of the OT wisdom literature noting that…

He that would be wise, let him read the Proverbs
He that would be holy, let him read the Psalms.

Spurgeon offer this overview of Psalm 1…

This Psalm may be regarded as the preface psalm, having in it a notification of the contents of the entire Book. It is the psalmists’ desire to teach us the way to blessedness, and to warn us of the sure destruction of sinners. This, then, is the matter of the first Psalm, which may be looked upon, in some respects, as the text upon which the whole of the Psalms make up a divine sermon. This Psalm consists of two parts: in the first (Psalms 1:1-3) David (Ed: the author is actually not stated) sets out wherein the felicity and blessedness of a godly man consist, what his exercises are, and what blessings he shall receive from the Lord. In the second part (Psalms 1:4-6) he contrasts the state and character of the ungodly, reveals the future, and describes, in telling language, his ultimate doom.

Warren Wiersbe rightly states that…

Two of the most popular words in the Christian vocabulary are bless and blessing. God wants to bless His people. He wants them to be recipients and channels of blessing. God blesses us to make us a blessing to others, but He has given us certain conditions for receiving blessings.


Blessed (0835) (‘esher/’eser related to the verb ‘ashar = to go or be straight, to go on, to advance, to be right) and always refers to people but never to God. Vine writes that “Basically, this word connotes the state of “prosperity” or “happiness” that comes when a superior bestows his favor (blessing) on one. In most passages, the one bestowing favor is God Himself = Dt. 33:29. The state that the blessed one enjoys does not always appear to be “happy” = (Job 5:17-18). Eliphaz was not describing Job’s condition as a happy one; it was “blessed,” however, inasmuch as God was concerned about him. Because it was a blessed state and the outcome would be good, Job was expected to laugh at his adversity (Job 5:22). God is not always the one who makes one “blessed.” = 1Ki 10:8.”

Esher speaks of the inner contentment in the life of the man or woman who is right or “straight” with God. The man who practices righteousness will be a blessed man. ‘Esher describes “a person’s state of bliss (Ed: Webster = complete happiness. yjr highest degree of happiness; especially heavenly joys)” (Baker)

In Psalm 1:1, the Hebrew literally reads “blessed, blessed”, the Hebraic way of indicating superfluity, a truth that we might attempt to translate as “blessednesses”. The word blessed (‘esher) conveys a deep sense of well-being.

‘Esher – 42 OT uses (See notes above for more exposition of some of the Psalms that use ‘esher) – Deut. 33:291 Ki. 10:82 Chr. 9:7Job 5:17Ps. 1:12:1232:1f33:1234:840:441:165:484:4f1289:1594:12106:3112:1119:1f127:5128:1f137:8f144:15146:5Pr. 3:138:323414:2116:2020:728:1429:18Eccl. 10:17Isa. 30:1832:2056:2Dan. 12:12NAS Usage: blessed(41), happy(4).

One person has written “The word happy is a good rendition of blessed (‘esher), provided one keeps in mind that the condition of “bliss” is not merely a feeling. Even when the righteous do not feel happy, they are still considered “blessed” from God’s perspective. He bestows this gift on them. Neither negative feelings nor adverse conditions can take his blessing away.”

A number of the translations render ‘esher with the English word “happy“, but I prefer the word blessed. In modern use happy speaks more of a feeling. And in general feelings depend on our circumstances or on what happens! I’m happy if what happens is good. I’m not happy if what happens is bad. However that is not the promise of Psalm 1, which speaks more of one’s state or condition rather than one’s feeling. To be sure, the blessed person can certainly feel happy. The distinction is that when the blessed person of Psalm 1 encounters adverse circumstances, he or she still experiences a state or condition of blessedness. In other words, as the Psalmist promises, the blessed man of Psalm 1 will be like a tree firmly planted, sturdy, and steady and not like a tumble weed tossed about by every wind of circumstance. It is as if the blessed person has an inner strength, a supernatural source of strength, a state of blessedness regardless of the circumstances that one encounters.

As Spurgeon so eloquently expresses blessed in the plural “Oh, the blessednesses! The double joys, the bundles of happiness, the mountains of delight!”

John Piper adds that the Hebrew word ‘esher “means happy in the rich, full sense of happiness rooted in moral and mental and physical well being.”

The other Hebrew word for bless is the verb barak which is the verb used of man blessing God and of God blessing man. In contrast, the verb ‘ashar used only of God blessing man. Thus it is fitting that in Psalm 1:1, the noun chosen is ‘esher, speaking of the blessing from the Most High God to mankind.

In the Septuagint (Lxx), the Greek word for blessed is makarios (see word study) and can be summed up as describing the man who is fully satisfied (especially in the spiritual sense), independent of or regardless of circumstances. And so even though the winds and waves of affliction, testing and trial come against the “blessed man” (or “blessed woman”), fortified by the grace from Jehovah, he remains strongstedfast and satisfied in the Lord. The blessed man knows that he is safe in “the Ark” of Jehovah, the One Who declares I Am… I Am anything and everything you will ever need (not want but need! cp Php 4:19Ps 23:1Ps 84:11Mt 6:33Lk 12:303132Ro 8:322Co 9:8He 13:56 2Sa 22:7 Da 3:286:22 Ps116:4– ; Ps 120:1)

Adam Clarke – The word ashrey, which we translate blessed, is properly in the plural form, blessednesses; or may be considered as an exclamation produced by contemplating the state of the man who has taken God for his portion; O the blessedness of the man! And the word haish, is emphatic: THAT man; that one among a thousand who lives for the accomplishment of the end for which God created him. 1. God made man for happiness. 2. Every man feels a desire to be happy. 3. All human beings abhor misery. 4. Happiness is the grand object of pursuit among all men. 5. But so perverted is the human heart, that it seeks happiness where it cannot be found; and in things which are naturally and morally unfit to communicate it. 6. The true way of obtaining it is here laid down.

In context, the psalmist expands the meaning of blessed in Psalm 1, explaining in picture language that the blessed man is like a tree by water, a striking image in an arid land where water is sparse and greatly valued. And thus planted by the precious water (and not a stagnant pool but a stream of flowing water!). And too the blessing is pictured as like a tree that is fruitful in season with an unwithering leaf. And such a one prospers in all he does. He is blessed indeed! And finally the psalmist goes on to explain the greatest blessing of all, the blessing of being known by Jehovah and the privilege of standing in the assembly of the righteous of all the ages. The blessed man is stabilized in the storms by these truths regarding his present and his future.

Martin Luther comments that “”blessed” is a plural noun, ashrey (blessednesses), that is, all blessednesses are the portion of that man who has not gone away, etc.; as though it were said, “All things are well with that man who,” etc. Why do you hold any dispute? Why draw vain conclusions? If a man has found that pearl of great price, to love the law of God and to be separate from the ungodly, all blessednesses belong to that man; but, if he does not find this jewel, he will seek for all blessednesses but will never find one!”



Those that trust in Him are blessed; and I would observe, first, that they are really blessed. It is no fiction, no imaginary blessing; it is a real blessedness which belongs to those who trust in God: a blessedness that will stand the test of consideration, the test of life, and the trial of death; a blessedness into which we cannot plunge too deeply, for none of it is a dream, but all a reality. Again, those that trust in Him have not only a real blessedness, but they oftentimes have a conscious blessedness. They know what it is to be blest in their troubles, for they are in their trials comforted, and they are blest in their joys, for their joys are sanctified. They are blest and they know it, they sing about it and they rejoice in it. It is their joy to know that God’s blessing is come to them not in word only but in very deed. They are blessed men and blessed women.

“They would not change their blest estate
For all the world calls good and great.”

Then, further, they are not only really blessed, and consciously blessed, but they are increasingly blessed. Their blessedness grows. They do not go downhill, as the wicked do, from bright hope to black despair. They do not diminish in their delights, the river deepens as they wade into it. They are blessed when the first ray of heavenly light streams on their eyeballs; they are blessed when their eyes are opened wider still, to see more of the love of Christ; they are blessed the more their experience widens, and their knowledge deepens, and their love increases. They are blessed in the hour of death, and, best of all, their blessedness increases to eternal blessedness,—the perfection of the saints at the right hand of God. “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

John Trapp – The psalmist saith more to the point about true happiness in this short Psalm than any one of the philosophers, or all of them put together; they did but beat the bush, God hath here put the bird into our hand.

Richard Baker – Where the word blessed is hung out as a sign, we may be sure that we shall find a godly man within.

Ray Pritchard – In biblical terms to be blessed means to be rightly related to God so that your life is fulfilled and you experience deep personal satisfaction. It’s important to know that this sort of happiness is not related to our circumstances. And it doesn’t come simply by seeking for it. You find happiness not by seeking it but by doing certain things (and not doing other things). The blessing comes as a side benefit of the choices we make. A wise man said that happiness is like a cat. Seek it and it will run from you. But go about your business steadily day by day and soon it comes and curls up at your feet. How true. The most miserable people on New Year’s Eve are those who seek happiness by hopping from one party to another and from one bar to another. True happiness and lasting contentment simply cannot be found that way. (Psalm 1: Trees Planted by the Water)


God delights to bless His children, but we must be “blessable.” We must have discernment (discerning good and evil) which works itself out in avoiding the steps that lead to sin — considering sin (walking), contemplating sin (standing), comfortable in sin (sitting). Watch your first step if you want to be blessed!

Spurgeon calls us to observe “how this Book of Psalms opens with a benediction, even as did the famous Sermon of our Lord upon the Mount! (see notes beginning with Matthew 5:3) The word translated blessed is a very expressive one. The original word is plural, and it is a controverted matter whether it is an adjective or a substantive. Hence we may learn the multiplicity of the blessings which shall rest upon the man whom God hath justified, and the perfection and greatness of the blessedness he shall enjoy. We might read it, “Oh, the blessednesses!” and we may well regard it (as Ainsworth does) as a joyful acclamation of the gracious man’s felicity. May the like benediction rest on us!

And so this “Beatitude Psalm” opens with a blessing for the reader who heeds the truths therein, but closes with a “curse” (perish) for those who fail to heed these truths. Please do not misunderstand. All men in both the Old and New Testaments are saved by grace through faith in the Messiah, so the psalmist is not teaching salvation by works. But he is teaching blessing by obedience. In other words to hear and not to heed is to deceive one’s self and to miss God’s blessing. James warned his readers “prove (present imperative) yourselves doers (poietes) of the word, and not merely hearers who delude (see paralogizomai) themselves. (James 1:22note)

The Greek word for hearers in James 1:22 is akroates which was used to describe one who sat passively and listened to a singer or speaker. This is a description applicable to one who audits a college course, but not for credit, with the result that little effort (usually) is expended on the course material. Such hearers or auditors of college courses are not held accountable for what they hear, which is where the analogy breaks down, for all who read Psalm 1 will be held accountable for the profound, eternal truths it lays out in straightforward fashion.

John MacArthur – Tragically, most churches have many “auditors,” members who willingly expose themselves to the teaching and preaching of the Word but have no desire for that knowledge to alter their day-by-day lives. They take advantage of the privilege of hearing God’s Word but have no desire for obeying it. When followed consistently, that attitude gives evidence that they are not Christians at all, but only pretenders. Such people, who are merely hearers and not also doers, think they belong to God, when, in reality, they do not. Proclaiming and interpreting God’s Word are never ends in themselves but are means to an end, namely, the genuine acceptance of divine truth for what it is and the faithful application of it.

Alexander Maclaren – Its theme, the blessedness of keeping the law, is enforced by the juxtaposition of two sharply contrasted pictures, one in bright light, another in deep shadow, and each heightening the other. Ebal and Gerizim face one another.

Wiersbe emphasizes that “First, we must be separated from the world (Ps 1:1). The world is anything that separates us from God or causes us to disobey Him. Separation is not isolation but contact without contamination. Sin is usually a gradual process. Notice the gradual decline of the sinner in verse 1. He (Ed: Describes Peter – and note what resulted = denial of Jesus – Lk 22:56-58. Sin is valuing anything as more glorious than Jesus!) is walking (Mark 14:54), standing (John 18:18) and then sitting (Luke 22:55). Becoming worldly is progressive; it happens by degrees (Ed: Illustration = frog in the kettle, slowly increasing the cooking temperature!). We make friends with the world; we become spotted by the world (contrast James 1:27); we love the world (1Jn 2:15-17James 4:4), become conformed to it (Ro 12:2) and end up condemned with it. Lot is an example of someone who became worldly. He looked toward Sodom, pitched his tent toward Sodom, lived there, lost everything and ended in sin (Ed: But he was a believer so he was not condemned (Ro 8:1) but he surely did suffer loss of reward (1Cor 3:10-15). When we seek earthly rewards, we often forfeit heavenly, eternal rewards! Mt 6:19-21 Be careful how you walk! Eph 5:15, cp 2Peter 2:6-9).

Lot was righteous and thus saved but he missed the blessing of Psalm 1 because he failed to be separated and instead “assimilated” with the world! Dear believer, could it be that we are missing the blessing of Psalm 1 because we are not willing to separate from the world and/or the passing pleasures of sin?


A. The Successful believer is separated in his walk of life.

1. He doesn’t Believe like the wicked – (Ill. He doesn’t listen to their counsel and invitations to evil) His hearing is turned a little higher!

2. He doesn’t Behave like the wicked – 2 Cor. 5:17 – (Ill. The old man has been put forever away!)

3. He doesn’t Belong with the wicked – 2 Cor. 6:17 0 (Ill. He feels out of place when surrounded by the devil’s crowd.

B. Ill. The downward progress – Walk, Stand, Sit. (Ill. This is the path Lot took – Gen. 19. It eventually led to his total downfall!)

C. The successful believer realizes that there is a vast difference between himself and the world he was saved out of, and he lives accordingly! (Sermons and Outlines)


Does not walk (01980)(halak) is a common OT verb (1340 verses) which literally denotes physical locomotion meaning to go (426x), going (30x), goes (22x), walk (142x), act (5x), came (13x), come (82x), depart(14x), departed (55x), went (309x), flow(6x), led (14x), march (4)x, travel (3x). The basic idea of halak is that of movement of something – flowing of a river = Ge. 2:14, descending flood = Ge 8:3, crawling beasts = Lev 11:27, slithering snake = Lev 11:42, blowing wind = Eccl 1:6, tossing sea = Jonah 1:13.

Halak is often used (as in Psalm 1:1) as a metaphor to picture one’s behavior or conduct. How one walks (eg, walking in sins 2Ki 13:11, follow the example – 2Chr 17:3) is how one lives his or her life (1Sa 8:3Dt 28:9).

Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. (give me an undivided heart is the idea, cp Mt 6:24James 1:6-7) (Ps 86:11)

The first use of halak is actually to describe the motion of a river (Ge 2:14), but the second use describes God walking in the Garden after Sin came into the world (Ge 3:8). The third use describes the curse to the Serpent (Satan) = “on your belly you will go (halak) and dust you will eat all the days of your life.” (Ge 3:14). In the next use (Ge 5:22) we see halak with its metaphorical meaning (as it is used here in Psalm 1), where is speaks of one’s conduct. For example, the phrase walking with or before God speaks of a close relationship to God (e.g., this positive use describes such men as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, David, all of whom were pleasing to God and all of whom experienced the blessednesses of Jehovah. Cp Ge 5:22246:917:124:4048:15, Ps, 26:3, 56:13, 116:9 )

Vine – God is said to “walk” or “go in three senses. First, there are certain cases where He assumed some kind of physical form. For example, Adam and Eve heard the sound of God “walking” to and fro in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:8). He “walks” on the clouds (Ps. 104:3) or in the heavens (Job 22:14); these are probably anthropomorphisms (God is spoken of as if He had bodily parts). Even more often God is said to accompany His people (Ex. 33:14), to go to redeem (deliver) them from Egypt (2Sa 7:23), and to come to save them (Ps. 80:2). The idea of God’s “going” (“walking”) before His people in the pillars of fire and cloud (Ex. 13:21) leads to the idea that His people must “walk” behind Him (Dt. 13:5). Quite often the people are said to have “walked” or to be warned against “walking behind” foreign gods (Dt. 4:3). Thus, the rather concrete idea of following God through the wilderness moves to “walking behind” Him spiritually. Some scholars suggest that “walking behind” pagan gods (or even the true God) arose from the pagan worship where the god was carried before the people as they entered the sanctuary. Men may also “walk…after the imagination of their evil heart,” or act stubbornly (Jer. 3:17). The pious followed or practiced God’s commands; they “walked” in righteousness (Isa. 33:15), in humility (Mic. 6:8), and in integrity (Ps. 15:2). They also “walk with God” (Ge 5:22), and they live in His presence, and “walk before” Him (Gen. 17:1), in the sense of living responsibly before Him. (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)

In Hebrew the verb walk is in qal perfect where perfect depicts one’s walk or conduct as a whole, without necessarily any reflection on the duration of that conduct. The perfect can also speak of behavior that was started in the past and has continued into the present or which is started in the present and continues into the future. The point is “Don’t take the first step into the seductive cesspool of the world’s wisdom”! James paints a striking contrast between the world’s counsel (wisdom) and godly counsel (wisdom)…

This wisdom (worldly) is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:15-18)

To be a blessed person means that on one hand we do not do something and the other hand we do something. And so these wise words teach us how little by little we can step out of the place of blessedness and into the place of misery and cursing with devastating consequences. This first step begins when we begin to listen to and agree with the worldview of the wicked. Are believers at risk? Indeed, they are at great risk of taking this first misstep.

Solomon in the so called wisdom literature repeatedly warns against wrong associations…

Pr 1:15 My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path,

Pr 4:14-15 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it. Turn away from it and pass on. (Read that verse again – count the admonitions! Those of us who are older know full well why such repeated warnings are necessary!)

Pr 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Dwight Edwards gives the following suggestions to help us chose our traveling companions in our life journey…

Is this person’s goal in life holiness or just happiness? Are they living for the things that will count for eternity, or for the decaying delicacies of this fading world? How serious is this person’s commitment to the cause of Christ? Many believers give mental assent to the goal of Christ-likeness, but relatively few pursue it with a burning passion. The purpose of true fellowship is to “stimulate (lit. “create a fever for”) one another to love and good works” (see Hebrews 10:24noteHeb 10:24note); not to huddle around worldly topics with other believers, under the guise of “Christian fellowship.” One of the most moving illustrations of godly companionship is found in the relationship cultivated between David and Jonathan. Perhaps the best summation of their relationship is found in 1Samuel 23:16, “So Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods, and strengthened his hand in God.” Who do we have to help us “strengthen our hand in God”? To whom do we do the same? (2 Timothy Call to Completion)


First note God’s assessment of Lot in 2 Peter…

He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds) (See notes 2 Peter 2:72:8)

What’s the “key word” in these passages? Clearly it is the word righteous. Peter is emphasizing that Lot was an authentic believer, one who genuinely believed in the Messiah (as much as was revealed of His Person and work at the time). Had Peter not recorded this truth we would have all seriously questioned his salvation (and thus the repetition of the description righteous). As an aside one of the best OT passages (one used by Paul also in Romans 4:3,9) that explains how Lot was saved is the description of Uncle Abraham’s salvation, Moses recording that…

Then (see when or what “then” refers to by reading the preceding context –Genesis 15:12345) he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it (imputed it – placed it on his “spiritual” bank account) to him as righteousness. (Ge 15:6)

With this background read Moses’ description of Lot in Genesis 13, keeping in mind the conditions of Psalm 1:1 which are to be fulfilled in order to experience blessing from the LORD…

And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere — this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah — like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan; and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled (Hebrew = yashab = to sit, a word that emphasizes a thoroughly settled state or condition. Lot had settled down in Sodom) in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. (Ge 13:10-12)

Ge 13:10 – Lot Looks

Ge 13:11 – Lot Chooses

Ge 13:12 – Lot Sits

Lot looked toward Sodom, then choose to go to Sodom, and finally settled in Sodom. Notice the parallel with Psalm 1:1 where the blessed man is careful about where he walksstands, or sits. Needless to say Lot was the example to be avoided, the epitome of the righteous man who fails to enjoy the blessing of the Lord. In fact far from being blessed, Lot ended greatly vexed (2Pe 2:7note) and tormented (see 2 Peter 2:8note). Look out! Yes, as Jesus said “Remember Lot’s wife” (Lu 17:32 – her disobedience was a reflection of her unbelief), but also remember Lot’s choice! Lot choose to enter Sodom, and eventually enough of Sodom entered him that he even found it difficult to depart from the wicked…sinners…scoffers so that the angels had to physically extract him from Sodom! Lot though a genuine believer (righteous) was hardly a blessed man! Sadly there is a lot of Lot in a lot of believers today for they like Lot are choosing to walk in the counsel of the wicked (Sodom) when they could be basking in blessing upon blessing from Jehovah, the great I Am (I Am whatever you need, not whatever you want).

Does not walk – Does not go along with.

Pr 1:10 “If sinners entice you, do not give in to them.”

Ps 119:115 Depart from me, evildoers, that I may observe the commandments of my God.

Counsel of the wicked – (Ps 64:2Ge 49:62Ch 22:3Job 10:321:16Lk 23:51)

Counsel (06098) (esah) means counsel (52x), advice (11x), viewpoint or way of thinking, as when one thinks about a course of action (often including consultation with an advisor). It is a state of mind that affects the decisions that we make. Esah speaks of God’s counsel (the best but not always followed) in Ps 73:24106:13107:11119:24Pr 1:25308:14

Counsel is advice; opinion, or instruction, given upon request or otherwise, for directing the judgment or conduct of another; opinion given upon deliberation or consultation. It is the act of telling someone what they should do based on a plan or scheme (2Sa 15:34)

Advice is an opinion recommended, or offered, as worthy to be followed.

Psalm 1:1 instructs us to not listen to their advice especially in the moral/ethical realm, telling you how you should conduct your life. The first way to avoid evil is to refuse to be influenced by the ungodly.

WHO influences you? Are you letting the world’s way of thinking influence you?

NAS Usage: advice(11), consultation(2), counsel (52), counselor*(1), counselors*(1), counsels(1), designs(1), plan(8), plans(2), purpose(6), scheme(1), schemes(1), strategy(1).

Esah – 85v –

Dt 32:28Jdg 20:72Sa 15:313416:202317:714231Kgs 1:1212:813f2Kgs 18:201Chr 12:192Chr 10:813f22:525:16Ezra 4:510:38Neh 4:15Job 5:1310:312:1318:721:1622:1829:2138:242:3Ps 1:113:214:620:433:10f73:24106:1343107:11119:24Pr 1:25308:1412:1519:20f20:51821:3027:9Isa 5:198:1011:214:2616:319:3111725:128:2929:1530:136:540:1344:2646:10f47:13Jer 18:182319:732:1949:7203050:45Ezek 7:2611:2Hos 10:6Mic 4:12Zech 6:13

Wicked (07563)(rasha’) is an adjective meaning unrighteous, unjust, an evil person, wrong wicked, guilty (legally not innocent of a violation of the law – Ex 23:1Ps 109:7), in the wrong, criminal, transgressor. Rasha‘ often describes unbelievers, who hate God and are habitually hostile toward Him. The wicked/ungodly conduct their lives as if God does not exist and with no regard for Him. Rasha‘ describes someone as evil with a focus on their being guilty or in the wrong (2Sa 4:11). Rasha‘ is the opposite of righteous (06662).

Rasha‘ is found 249 times translated evil(1), evil man(1), evil men(1), guilty(3), man(1), offender(1), ungodly(1), wicked(228), wicked man(21), wicked men(2), wicked one(1), wicked ones(3).

The majority of the uses of Rasha‘ occur in the Psalms (4x in Psalm 1) and Proverbs (see below), which would make an interesting study, which would give you a “descriptive” definition of one who is wicked or what characterizes their behavior (this would help us avoid such people!)

Vine writes that “Rasha‘ generally connotes a turbulence and restlessness (cf. Isa. 57:21) or something disjointed or ill-regulated. Thus Robert B. Girdlestone suggests that it refers to the tossing and confusion in which the wicked live, and to the perpetual agitation they came to others.”

The Greek translates rasha‘ in Psalm 1:1 with asebes which means ungodly (765) (asebes from a = w/o + sébomai = worship, venerate) and describes one who expresses a lack of interest in the things of God and a behavior and lifestyle consistent with such an irreverent attitude. Click in depth study of the related word ungodliness (asebeia). Ungodly pertains to violating norms for a proper relation to deity, and in short means irreverent (lacking proper respect of God) or impious.

Rasha’ – 249v –

Ge 18:2325Ex 2:139:2723:17Nu 16:2635:31Dt 25:1f1Sa 2:924:132Sa 4:111Kgs 8:322Chr 6:2319:2Job 3:178:229:222410:311:2015:2016:1118:520:52921:716f2822:1824:627:71334:182636:61738:131540:12Psalm 1:14563:77:99:516f10:2ff131511:25f12:817:91326:528:331:1732:1034:2136:11137:10121416f20f283234f384039:150:1655:358:31068:271:473:31275:481082:2491:892:794:31397:10101:8104:35106:18109:26f112:10119:536195110119155129:4139:19140:48141:10145:20146:9147:6Pr 2:223:25334:14195:229:710:36f11162024f27f303211:57f10f18233112:5ff1012212613:59172514:11193215:68f28f16:417:152318:3519:2820:2621:47101218272924:15f19f2425:52628:1412152829:27121627Eccl 3:177:158:1013f9:2Isa 3:115:2311:413:1114:526:1048:2253:955:757:20fJer 5:2612:123:1925:3130:23Ezek 3:18f7:2113:2218:20f23f2721:3f252933:8f11f14f19Dan 12:10Mic 6:10Hab 1:4133:13Zeph 1:3Mal 3:184:3

Guzik – The righteous man knows where to find completely godly counsel: Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. (Psalm 119:24) (See Spurgeon’s note) God’s Word is always the best counselor, and godly counselors will always bring the truth of God’s Word to help someone who wants counseling.

William Heslop – “Walketh, standeth, sitteth,” reveals a growth in evil just as “ungodly, sinners, and scornful,” shows a fearful downward trend.

From thinking like the world we begin to act like the world.

The righteous (by grace through faith as was Abraham in Genesis 15:6) are to be in the world but not of the world. This subtle but critical distinction can be illustrated by considering a submarine which functions in the water but not of the water. If it is on the ground (out of the water) it is of no purpose and it is unable to fulfill its purpose. But when it is in the water it must be insulated (not isolated) from the water. If the water gets into the submarine then there is cause for alarm and emergency. The godly man who seeks God’s blessing must first be sure that his life choices are such that while not isolated from the world, he remains insulated from its seductive, destructive, evil influences, beginning with its evil counsel or advice.

Gill – “not to walk” herein is not to hearken to their counsel, to give into it, agree with it, pursue it, and act according to it; and happy is the man, who, though he may fall in the way of it, and may have bad counsel given him by ungodly men, yet does not consent to it, take it, and act upon it.

Pastor Steven Cole offers five guidelines for discerning the counsel of the wicked versus the wisdom of God…

(1) The counsel of the wicked denies the sufficiency of Scripture for dealing with the problems of the soul. The Bible claims to be adequate to equip the believer for every good work (see 2Ti 3:16note2Ti 3:17note) and to produce in us true happiness by dealing with the problems of the soul (Psalm 1). It provides answers for problems of guilt, anxiety, depression, anger, bitterness, and relational conflicts. “Christian” psychology brings the world’s wisdom to bear on these problems, thus implying that the Bible is not sufficient and often stating “solutions” opposed to what the Bible prescribes.

(2) The counsel of the wicked exalts the pride of man and takes away from the glory of God. The Bible humbles the pride of man and exalts the glory of God (Isaiah 42:81Cor 1:31). The world’s wisdom builds the self and minimizes the need for absolute trust in God, whether for salvation or for daily living.

(3) The counsel of the wicked denies or minimizes the need for the cross of Christ by asserting either the basic goodness of man or by downplaying the extent and impact of the fall. The Bible teaches that we are all utterly wicked and self-seeking. None of us could or would seek God if left to ourselves (see notes Romans 3:10-18). The cross humbles human pride and wisdom and exalts Christ alone (1Cor 1:18192021222324252627282930312:12345).

(4) The counsel of the wicked denies God’s moral absolutes and substitutes relative human “goodness.” God is absolutely righteous and His standards of holiness as revealed in His Word are absolute (see 1Peter 1:16note). Worldly wisdom rationalizes away God’s absolutes as being too “idealistic” or “harsh” and substitutes some human standard, such as “love.” In other words, human wisdom makes a god in its own likeness, rather than submitting to the true God.

(5) The counsel of the wicked focuses on pleasing self rather than on pleasing God and others. The world’s wisdom does not promote self-denial and love for God and others as of first importance (Mark 8:3412:293031). Often the world’s wisdom provides “help” for a person (relief from the symptoms of his problem) without leading him to confess sin, depend on God, and live in obedience to God. The world’s wisdom counsels you to live first of all for yourself. In “Christian” form, it tells you that if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love God and others. (Psalm 1 How To Live Happily Ever After )

From Grace Gems

BEWARE OF THE COMPANY OF THE UNGODLY. Of course, I would not dissuade you from necessary dealings with the ungodly, nor from helping them, and certainly not from endeavoring to draw them to God when you have opportunity. It is the unnecessary fellowship with the ungodly from which I would dissuade you. Chiefly to be avoided are the profane, the swearer, the drunkard, and the enemies of godliness. But they are not the only ones who will prove harmful companions to us. Too frequent fellowship with people whose conversation is empty, will also divert our thoughts from heaven. We need all the help we can get in living the heavenly life on earth.

A stone is as fit to rise and fly in the air, as our hearts are by nature to move towards heaven. You need not hinder the rocks from flying up to the sky. It is sufficient that you do not help them. Just as surely, if our spirits have not great assistance, they may easily be kept from soaring upwards even without great hindrances.

Consider this in the choice of your company. What help will it be to your spiritual life to hear about the weather or the latest news? This is the conversation of earthlings. How will it help to raise your heart to God, to hear about an excellent book, or an able minister, or of some petty controversy? This is mainly the best conversation you are likely to hear from the formal, dead-hearted church member. Can you have your hearts in heaven while among your roaring companions in a bar, or when you work with those whose common language is profanity, filthiness, foolishness, and dirty jokes? No, the plain fact is, fellowship will be a part of our happiness in heaven; and it is now either a help or hindrance in living a heavenly life on earth. (Grace Gems)


Paul gives believers a similar warning in the NT…

Do not be deceived (present imperative + negative = command to stop being led astray): “Bad company corrupts (Note that use of the Present tense = continually! The verb phtheiro means to cause good morals to “decay,” to “waste away”) good morals.” (1 Cor 15:33)

Comment: Stop believing their falsehoods such as “you only go around once, grab all the gusto you can get!!!” – lies such as this will lead to rottenness in one’s life.

Stand (05975in the path (01870)- This means to avoid being in the places where sinners congregate to do their thing. If you are serious about keeping yourself morally/ethically pure and holy, don’t put yourself in a path that will surely bring temptation.

Sinners (02400) (chatta’/hatta’) is an archery term which meant “to fall short, miss the mark.” (cp Judges 20:16note).The mark is the will and plan of God as revealed in Scripture. Sin is the transgression of His will as He has revealed it. Sin is whatever misses the will of God for man doctrinally or morally. We are all sinners. We all miss the mark, and none of us are perfect nor will we ever be perfect in this life. This is why Christ had to die for our sin so we might have His righteousness.

David Guzik – Sinners have a path where they stand, and the righteous man knows he does not belong on that pathPath speaks of a way, a road, a direction, and the righteous man is not traveling in the same direction as sinners. The righteous man is not afraid to take a less-traveled road, because he knows it leads to blessing, happiness, and eternal life. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” (see Matthew 7:13note) The righteous can have the confidence of Psalm 16:11: You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (See Spurgeon’s note). God has a path, and it is a good road to take.

Steven Cole – The path of sinners refers to their way of life or behavior. To stand in the path of sinners means involvement with sinners in their sinful behavior. The word “sinners” comes from a Hebrew word meaning to miss the mark. It refers to deviating from the standard of God as revealed in His Word… If we run with worldly people in their godless way of life, we will be wrongly influenced by them. That is why a new Christian needs to cut off close relationships with many former friends: They will draw you back into the old way of life. You may not think so, but, “Do not be deceived”! On the other hand, we are not supposed to cut ourselves off completely from sinners (unless they make claim of being Christians). Otherwise, you would have to go out of the world (1Cor. 5:91011). Rather, your objective changes. Whereas before you associated with sinners as one of them to join in their evil deeds, now you associate with them as a sinner saved by grace to seek to bring them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. (Psalm 1- How To Live Happily Ever After)

Observe the progression in which patterns are forming and becoming entrenched. In other words we begin the downgrade by listening to the world’s wisdom especially in the moral/ethical sphere (“It’s okay to sleep together if you are engaged and soon to be married.” = “counsel of the wicked”!). And from listening to their counsel we begin to think like the world and soon we act like the world, because what a man believes will always determine how he behaves. Sin’s natural direction spiritually speaking is a sequential, seductive, downward drag. Words like regression, deterioration, degeneration, destruction come to mind. The writer of Hebrews warned that we should…

encourage (present imperative = command to make this your habit – Why? we are in continual need for we are bombarded by discouraging circumstances and news of this fallen world) one another (which implies [1] we need each other and [2] we need to be in contact, i.e., fellowship daily! No “lone ranger” Christians if you want to stay encouraged and be an encourager!) day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness (see study of apate) of sin. (see note Hebrews 3:13) (Sin is deceitful [Latin = decipio = to take aside, to ensnare] – cunning, stealthy, misleading, untruthful, beguiling, cheating, counterfeit, deceptive, dishonest, disingenuous, ensnaring, trickish, duplicitous, illusory, deliberately causing one to believe something that is not true, deliberately misrepresentative) See Related Discussion: The Deceitfulness of Sin

So the effect of sin is to bring about a gradual “build up of plaque” (using a medical analogy) producing spiritual “arteriosclerosis” or hardening of one’s heart and this can happen to believers, especially to those believers who think “That could never happen to me!” (“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed [present imperative = command for continual vigilance against pride for we are continually vulnerable to its subtle nature] lest he fall.” 1Cor 10:12) As an aside, an instructive “warning” study are several of the Biblical examples of overconfidence – Haman in Esther 3-5, Sennacherib and the angel of the Lord in Isaiah 37:363738; Peter in Luke 22:3334545556575859606162, the churches at Sardis, Laodicea — Revelation 3:13:23:33:17 see notes Revelation 3:13:23:33:17.


Sit (03427) (yashab) has sense of to sit, dwell, remain, abide and emphasizes a thoroughly settled state or condition. One has settled down and is comfortable and content with the world with its patterns. In the present context this verb pictures the idea of becoming comfortable with sin and of progression from casual influence of ungodly people to collusion with them in their scorn.

In Numbers we see an instructive use of yashab, Moses recording the tragic story of Israel…

While Israel remained (yashab) at Shittim (the last stop before Israel crossed the Jordan) the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab.2 For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.3 So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel. (Numbers 25:1-3)

Comment: Sit (Yashab) here in Numbers 25 is not the same word as ‘camp‘ which is what they should have been doing! See Nu 35:19 where camped (chanah) means to pitch a tent, which is quiet a different action than from abiding or tarrying in the seat of scoffers (Idol worshipers in this case) and they forfeited the blessednesses of Jehovah! (Read the full story in Numbers 25)

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote over 1000 years later…

Now these things (referring to Numbers 25) happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved…11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Seat (04186) (moshab from yashab = to sit, remain, dwell) means a seat (1Sa 20:1825), assembly, dwelling place, dwelling (a settlement, a place to live – Ge 10:30), dwellers, a site, a session; an abode (the place or the time). The idea is not only ‘seat’ or ‘place of sitting down’ but also ‘session’ or ‘assembly.’” Zion is called the dwelling place of Yahweh (Ps 132:13). houses are sometimes called dwellings (Lev 25:29Exo 12:20) and the people in them were called inhabitants, or dwellers (2Sa 9:12). In sum, moshab means a place where a thing (in this case a person) is settled or established.

NAS Usage – Usage: dwelling(3), dwelling place(1), dwelling places(5), dwellings(9), habitation(1), habitations(2), inhabited(3), inhabited places(1), lived(1), seat(8), seating(2), settlement(1), settlements(3), situation(1), time(1), where they lived(1), where you are to live(1).

Moshab – 43v – Ge 10:3027:3936:43Ex 10:2312:204035:3Lev 3:177:2613:4623:31417213125:29Nu 15:224:2131:1035:291Sa 20:18252Sa 9:121Kgs 10:52Kgs 2:191Chr 4:336:547:282Chr 9:4Job 29:7Ps 1:1107:473236132:13Ezek 6:6148:328:234:1337:2348:15

Scoffers (03887) (lis/luwts) means to mock, to deride, to speak in a scornfully derisive or to boast so as to express utter contempt. The activity of the scornful is condemned as an abomination to people. The scoffer is one who shows contempt by mocking, sneering, or scorning. This verb frequently means to deride or boast in such a way as to express contempt (Pr. 9:7813:120:1). “By extension the word is used to signify ambassadors (2Chr 32:31);, interpreters (Ge 42:23); and spokesmen (Isa 43:27).” (Baker) “To talk big, i.e., speak words which show no respect for the object, and make fun of the object, with a possible focus of speaking in the situation with confidence and authority.” (Swanson)

Walter Kaiser – Fools scorn and mock at sin (Pr 14:9) and judgment (Pr 19:28). The scorner (Qal participial form) himself may be described as proud and haughty (Pr 21:24), incorrigible (Pr 9:7), resistant to all reproof (Pr 9:815:12), and hating any rebuke (Pr 13:1). Wisdom and knowledge easily elude him (Pr 14:6). So despicable is the scorner that he may be labelled as odious to all men (Pr 24:9). Therefore he must be avoided (Ps 1:1) by all who would live godly lives. Further, he should be punished by hitting so that the easily pursuaded naive fool may benefit from the lesson (Pr 19:2521:11). One good way to remove contention from a group is to eject the scorner, and then “strife and reproach will cease” (Pr 22:10). A prepared judgment awaits all such scorners (Pr 19:29), for their trademark of life has been “to delight” in their scorning (Pr 1:22). They shall be brought to nothing and consumed (Isa 29:20). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Scoff = To treat with insolent ridicule, mockery or contumelious language; to manifest contempt by derision; with at. To scoff at religion and sacred things is evidence of extreme weakness and folly, as well as of wickedness. To show contempt by derisive acts or language; stresses insolence, disrespect, or incredulity as motivating the derision

Scorn = open dislike and disrespect or derision often mixed with indignation; reject or dismiss as contemptible or unworthy; show disdain or derision; to regard as unworthy of one’s notice or consideration & implies a ready or indignant contempt.

Lis/luwts– 26 v – Usage: carry on as scoffers(1), deride(1), envoys(1), interpreter(1), makes a mockery(1), mediator(1), mock(1), mocker(1), scoff(1), scoffer(10), scoffers(5), scoffs at the scoffers(1), scorner(1), spokesmen(1). Below are some representative uses…

Ge 42:232Chr 32:31Job 16:2033:23 (lis/luwts = intercessor, mediator, i.e., one who helps parties to come to an agreement); Ps 1:1Ps 119:51Pr 1:223:34Pr 9:7,81213:114:6915:1219:2528f20:121:112422:1024:9Isa 28:2229:2043:27

Ge 42:23 They did not know, however, that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between them.

2Chr 32:31 And even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.

Comment: envoy, spokesman, go-between, i.e., a person who relates messages between parties, including language interpreting or a focus on the message’s content (see also Isa 43:27)

Pr 1:22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, And fools hate knowledge?

Pr 3:34 Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.

Comment: Lxx translates scoffer with antitasso (in present tense = their habitual attitude/action) which means to resist, to oppose, to be hostile toward. Antitasso was a military term found in the papyri meaning “to range in battle against” and pictured an army arrayed against the enemy forces. It means to oppose someone, involving a psychological attitude and also corresponding behavior. It means to “to be an enemy of” or “to resist with assembled forces.”

Ps 119:51 The arrogant (Lxx = huperephanos) utterly deride me, Yet I do not turn aside from Thy law.

Comment: Note the implication – the arrogant have no desire for God’s Law, His Word of Truth.

Isa 29:20 For the ruthless (Lxx = anomos = lawless, behaving contrary to the law) will come to an end, and the scorner (Lxx = huperephanos) will be finished (Lxx = exolothreuo = utterly destroyed, completely cut off from God’s presence – cf 2Th 1:6-9) Indeed all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off. (More literally in Hebrew this last phrase is “and all the watchers of wrong will be cut off.” )

Unlike the good man, who walks the path of wisdom, the scoffer is a wicked man who follows the path of folly, refusing to listen to the wisdom of others.

Whenever possible, avoid associating yourself with those who are antagonistic to God and His teachings.

Solomon records of God that

Surely he scoffs at the scoffer: but he gives grace to the lowly” (Pr 3:34).

God is opposed to the scornful, and He will scorn them. That’s a frightful picture.

Guzik writes that…

The scornful love to sit and criticize the people of God and the things of God. The righteous man will not sit in that seat! When others are putting down Christians, it is easy to sit with them and criticize them. It is easy because there are many things to criticize among Christians. But it is wrong, because we are then sitting in the seat of the scornful. Instead, we should be proud to follow Jesus Christ.

“Be out-and-out for Him; unfurl your colours, never hide them, but nail them to the mast, and say to all who ridicule the saints, ‘If you have any ill words for the followers of Christ, pour them out upon me… but know this – ye shall hear it whether you like it or not, – “I love Christ.”’” (Spurgeon)

Walk…stand…sit pictures a process of spiritual “retrogression” which is the ever present danger if we are not growing in grace by taking in God’s Word. The point is that believers never stand still in their Christian walk and the psalmist portrays the potential spiritual declension by three degrees of degeneration, describing our habit or conduct (walk, stand, sit) and three degrees of evil influence (counsel of the wicked, path of sinners, seat of scoffers). In short, the psalmist warns us how we are prone to wander as the hymn writer says, turning aside little by little, even imperceptibly becoming increasingly entangled in the web of sin. We need to remember that the writer Hebrews warns of the deadliness of sin…

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (see note Hebrews 3:13) (See Related Discussion: The Deceitfulness of Sin)

Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be;
Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

He is easily influenced by the way of the world in its attitudes and actions, for actions follow attitudes.

Scott Grant – In Psalm 1, the blessing first of all is on the one who does not engage in certain activities. A progression is in view from two levels. First, three types of offenders are mentioned, with each group being more severe than the previous. Second, the words used to convey association with the offenders convey the potential for increasing involvement with them. The wicked are those who would be guilty in a court of law, even for one offense. The word sinners implies a repetition of evil deeds. Scoffers not only engage in illicit activities but also ridicule those who don’t. (Delighting in the Word)

Paul gives an apt description of scoffers in Romans that…

although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice (as their lifestyle) such things are worthy of death, they not only do (habitual practice) the same, but also give (continually) hearty approval to those who practice (continually) them. (see note Romans 1:32)

Piper – So, instead of finding his pleasures in the words or the ways or the fellowship of the wicked, the one who is truly happy finds pleasure in meditating on the Word and the ways of God.

The description of the godly begins with the negative which prepares his heart for the positive teaching in verse 2. As Wiersbe so aptly puts it, the “blessee” must first be separated and then saturated. He must be separated from the world (the root idea of holy) and saturated with the Word. The more we delight in the Word, the less we will desire the world.

Solomon gives us good advice for avoiding the 3 step declension in Psalm 1:1 exhorting us to…

Watch (An imperative – it is imperative that we continually guard our heart from “intruders”) over your heart with all diligence, (why?) for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23) (NLT conveys the point “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.”)

O child of God, guard well your eyes
From anything that stains the heart;
Forsake those things that soil the mind–
Your Father wants you set apart. –Fasick

John Flavel very wisely observed that,

The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion is to keep the heart with God.

Pritchard calls us to…

Consider the progression involved: Walk … Stand … Sit. First, the man is walking down the road. Then he stops to hang out with the sinners. Eventually they prove to be such good company that he sits down and has intimate fellowship with them. What started as casual contact in the end becomes a declaration of personal allegiance.

The “counsel of the wicked” means the advice of the morally unstable. It’s a general term that describes the worldview of those who do not know the Lord. The “way of sinners” involves a series of lifestyle choices. The “seat of mockers” means to have close, intimate, long-term fellowship with those who openly reject the Lord. The progression goes like this:

Thinking … Behaving … Belonging.

Worldly wisdom leads to
Worldly action, which results in
Worldly fellowship.

Let us be clear on this point. Blessings come not only from what we do, but also from what we don’t do. Blessed people avoid certain things. And they avoid certain people and certain situations. They don’t hang out just anywhere and they don’t quickly buy into every line of thinking. And they are very careful not to join themselves to the company of those who do not love the Lord…

Sin never stands still. It always moves to control us. What starts as casual contact leads on to increasing closeness and permanence of association. Eventually, there is increasing boldness of evil accompanied by a lowering of our own inhibitions. We laugh at jokes that once would have seemed crude to us. We compromise our values in ways we never would have thought possible. We consent to things that would have greatly troubled us in the past. (Ibid)

Adam Clarke sees Psalm 1:1 as a picture of the seen in this a progression of sin commenting that…

The great lesson to be learned from the whole is, sin is progressive; one evil propensity or act leads to another. He who acts by bad counsel may soon do evil deeds; and he who abandons himself to evil doings may end his life in total apostasy from God.

Steven Cole comments…

Scoffers have rejected God and His Word. They now seek to justify themselves by openly deriding that which they’ve rejected. Scoffers think they know more than God. They’re too smart to believe in the Bible. Many scoffers come from church backgrounds, but they’ve cast it off as too “repressive.” Although they almost always hide under an intellectual smoke screen, invariably scoffers have cast off the Bible because they want to be their own god so that they can follow their own lusts. They don’t want God interfering in their sinful lifestyles.

The seat of scoffers refers to the assembly or place where such men gather to reinforce their godless philosophy. Birds of a feather flock together. Those who scoff at God love to get together to reinforce their prejudices. To sit in their seat means to belong to such a crowd. Take note: How truly happy is the person who does not sit in the seat of scoffers!

Before we leave verse 1, please note the downward progression in the life of sin. Satan doesn’t cause a person to fall away and spurn the faith all at once.

There are degrees of departure from God, as implied in three sets of three words:

(1) Walk > Stand > Sit. First, you walk–you’re still moving, but now in the wrong direction. Then, you stand–you’re lingering in sin. Finally, you sit–you’re at ease in the company of scoffers.

(2) Wicked > Sinners > Scoffers. First, you’re with the wicked–those who hang loose about God. Then you’re with sinners–those who openly violate God’s commands by missing the mark. Then you’re with scoffers–those who openly reject the truth.

(3) Counsel > Path > Seat. First, you listen to counsel–you begin thinking wrong thoughts. Then, you stand in the path–you engage in wrong behavior. Finally, you sit in the seat–you belong to the wrong crowd and have adopted the fatal attitude of the scoffer. And Satan’s got you!

Two lessons:

(1) Guard your mind! Satan begins there, as he did with Eve (“Has God said …?”). Wrong thoughts lead to wrong behavior which leads to rejection of God and His truth. Guarding your mind doesn’t mean that you become a non-thinker. It means that you critique everything by the unchanging standard of God’s Word of truth.

(2) Guard your friends! Those whom you choose as close friends should be committed to the things of God. “What fellowship has light with darkness?” (2Co 6:14). Bad company will corrupt good morals. In my fourth year at Dallas Seminary, Dr. Howard Hendricks said, “The two factors which will most influence where you will be ten years from now are the books you read and the friends you make.” Guard your mind! Guard your friends! (Psalm 1 How To Live Happily Ever After )

Thomas Brooks has an interesting Biblical analysis of wicked men

Always look upon wicked men, under those names and notions which the Scripture describes them, such as: lions for their fierceness, bears for their cruelty, dragons for their hideousness, dogs for their filthiness, wolves for their subtleness, scorpions, vipers, thorns, briars, thistles,

brambles, stubble, dirt, chaff, dust, dross, smoke, scum.

You may know well enough what is within them,
by the apt names which the Holy Spirit has given them.

By looking upon them under those names and notions that the Scripture sets them out by, may preserve the soul from frequenting their company and delighting in their society. Such monsters are wicked men–which should render their company to all who have tasted of the sweetness of divine love, a burden and not a delight.

Wiersbe writes…

Two of the most popular words in the Christian vocabulary are bless and blessing. God wants to bless His people. He wants them to be recipients and channels of blessing. God blesses us to make us a blessing to others, but He has given us certain conditions for receiving blessings.

First, we must be separated from the world (v. 1). The world is anything that separates us from God or causes us to disobey Him. Separation is not isolation but contact without contamination. Sin is usually a gradual process. Notice the gradual decline of the sinner in verse 1. He is walking (Mark 14:54), standing (John 18:18) and then sitting (Luke 22:55). Becoming worldly is progressive; it happens by degrees. We make friends with the world; we become spotted by the world; we love the world, become confirmed to it and end up condemned with it…

Second, we must be saturated with the Word (v. 2). Whatever delights us directs us. We saturate ourselves with the Word by meditating on it. Meditation is to the spirit what digestion is to the body. When we meditate on the Word, we allow the Spirit of God within us to “digest” the Word of God for us. So not only do we delight in the Word, it becomes a source of spiritual nourishment for us.

Enjoy the blessings God has for you and allow Him to make you a blessing to others. (A third condition, being situated by the waters, is the topic of our next devotional.)

God desires to bless us, but we must meet His conditions for receiving blessings. By staying separate from the world and keeping saturated in the Word, we may expect God’s blessings. Resolve to meditate on the Word of God and obey it. He will make you a blessing to others. (see Matthew 5:3notet)

Alexander Maclaren explains the order of negative preceding positive…

It is usually taken as an exclamation, but may equally well be a simple affirmation, and declares a universal truth even more strongly, if so regarded. The characteristics which thus bring blessedness are first described negatively, and that order is significant. As long as there is so much evil in the world, and society is what it is, godliness must be largely negative, and its possessors “a people whose laws are different from all people that be on earth.” Live fish swim against the stream; dead ones go with it.

The tender graces of the devout soul will not flourish unless there be a wall of close-knit and unparticipating opposition round them, to keep off nipping blasts. The negative clauses present a climax, notwithstanding the unquestionable correctness of one of the grounds on which that has been denied — namely, the practical equivalence of “wicked” and “sinner.”

Increasing closeness and permanence of association are obvious in the progress from walking to standing and from standing to sitting.

Increasing boldness in evil is marked by the progress from counsel to way, or course of life, and thence to scoffing. Evil purposes come out in deeds, and deeds are formularised at last in bitter speech. Some men scoff because they have already sinned. The tongue is blackened and made sore by poison in the system. Therefore goodness will avoid the smallest conformity with evil, as knowing that if the hem of the dress or the tips of the hair be caught in the cruel wheels, the whole body will be drawn in. But these negative characteristics are valuable mainly for their efficacy in contributing to the positive, as the wall round a young plantation is there for the sake of what grows behind it.

Maclaren goes on to make a very important point, lest the reader think that holiness is manifest first and foremost by what one avoids or from that which one abstains. He writes that…

these positive characteristics (in verse 2), and eminently that chief one of a higher love, are the only basis for useful abstinence. Mere conventional, negative virtue is of little power or worth unless it flow from a strong set of the soul in another direction. (Amen. And I would add lest it become legalism which is powerless against the powerful pull of the world, the flesh and the devil.)

Spurgeon writes that…

He is a man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. He takes wiser counsel, and walks in the commandments of the Lord his God. To him the ways of piety are paths of peace and pleasantness. His footsteps are ordered by the Word of God, and not by the cunning and wicked devices of carnal men. It is a rich sign of inward grace when the outward walk is changed, and when ungodliness is put far from our actions. Note next, he standeth not in the way of sinners. His company is of a choicer sort than it was. Although a sinner himself, he is now a blood washed sinner, quickened by the Holy Spirit, and renewed in heart. Standing by the rich grace of God in the congregation of the righteous, he dares not herd with the multitude that do evil. Again it is said, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. He finds no rest in the atheist’s scoffings. Let others make a mock of sin, of eternity, of hell and heaven, and of the Eternal God; this man has learned better philosophy than that of the infidel, and has too much sense of God’s presence to endure to hear His name blasphemed. The seat of the scorner may be very lofty, but it is very near to the gate of hell; let us flee from it, for it shall soon be empty, and destruction shall swallow up the man who sits therein. Mark the gradation in the first verse:

He walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor standeth in the way of sinners,


When men are living in sin they go from bad to worse. At first they merely walk in the counsel of the careless and ungodly, who forget God — the evil is rather practical than habitual — but after that, they become habituated to evil, and they stand in the way of open sinners who wilfully violate God’s commandments; and if let alone, they go one step further, and become themselves pestilent teachers and tempters of others, and thus they sit in the seat of the scornful. They have taken their degree in vice, and as true Doctors of Damnation they are installed, and are looked up to by others as Masters in Belial. But the blessed man, the man to whom all the blessings of God belong, can hold no communion with such characters as these. He keeps himself pure from these lepers; he puts away evil things from him as garments spotted by the flesh; he comes out from among the wicked, and goes without the camp, bearing the reproach of Christ. O for grace to be thus separate from sinners.

Adam Clarke writes…

Mark certain circumstances of their differing characters and conduct.

  1. The ungodly man has his counsel.
  2. The sinner has his way; and
  3. The scorner has his seat.

The ungodly man is unconcerned about religion; he is neither zealous for his own salvation nor for that of others; and he counsels and advises those with whom he converses to adopt his plan, and not trouble themselves about praying, reading, repentance, etc., etc.; “there is no need for such things; live an honest life, make no fuss about religion, and you will fare well enough at last.” Now “blessed is the man who walks not in this man’s counsel,” who does not come into his measures, nor act according to his plan.

The sinner has his particular way of transgressing; one is a drunkard, another dishonest, another unclean. Few are given to every species of vice. There are many covetous men who abhor drunkenness, many drunkards who abhor covetousness; and so of others. Each has his easily besetting sin; therefore, says the prophet, “Let the wicked forsake HIS WAY.” (Isaiah 55:7) Now, blessed is he who stands not is such a man’s WAY.

The scorner has brought, in reference to himself, all religion and moral feeling to an end. He has sat down — is utterly confirmed in impiety, and makes a mock at sin. His conscience is seared, and he is a believer in all unbelief. Now, blessed is the man who sits not down in his SEAT.

Thomas Adams wrote of the scoffers that…

when a wicked man comes to the depth and worst of sin, he despiseth. Then the Hebrew will despise Moses (Exodus 2:14), “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?” Then Ahab will quarrel with Micaiah (1Kings 22:18), because he doth not prophecy good unto him. Every child in Bethel will mock Elisha (2Kings 2:23), and be bold to call him “bald pate.” Here is an original drop of venom swollen to a main ocean of poison: as one drop of some serpents’ poison, lighting on the hand, gets into the veins, and so spreads itself over all the body till it hath stifled the vital spirits. God shall “laugh you to scorn,” (Psalms 2:4), for laughing Him to scorn; and at last despise you that have despised him in us. That which a man spits against heaven, shall fall back on his own face. Your indignities done to your spiritual physicians shall sleep in the dust with your ashes, but stand up against your souls in judgment.


Warren Wiersbe sums up Psalm 1:1 noting that…

God enjoys blessing your life, but you must be “blessable.” That means having discernment (v. 1), avoiding the steps that lead to sin: considering sin (walking), contemplating sin (standing), being comfortable in sin (sitting). Watch that first step! (Wiersbe, W: With the Word: Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Handbook. Nelson)

The happy man (Lachlan MacKenzie, “The Happy Man”)

The happy man was born in the city of Regeneration in the parish of Repentance unto Life. He has a large estate in the county of Christian Contentment.

He was educated at the School of Obedience —and often does jobs of Self-denial.

He wears the garment of Humility, and has another suit to put on when he goes to Court, called the Robe of Christ’s Righteousness.

He is necessitated to travel through the world on his way to heaven—but he walks through it as fast as he can. All his business along the way—is to make himself and others happy. He often walks in the valley of Self-Abasement, and sometimes climbs the mountains of Heavenly-mindedness.

He breakfasts every morning on Spiritual Prayer, and sups every evening on the same. He has food to eat, which the world knows nothing of—and his drink is the sincere milk of the Word of God.

Thus happy he lives—and happy he dies.

Happy is he who has . . .

Gospel submission in his will,

the love of God in his affections,

true peace in his conscience,

sincere Divinity in his breast,

the Redeemer’s yoke on his neck,

the vain world under his feet, and

a crown of glory over his head!

Happy is the life of that man who . . .

believes firmly,

prays fervently,

walks patiently,

labors abundantly,

lives holily,

dies daily,

watches his heart,

guards his senses,

redeems his time,

loves Christ, and

longs for glory!

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. (NASB: Lockman)

English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): But his pleasure is in the law of the Lord; and in his law will he meditate day and night.

Amplified: But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. (Amplified Bible – Lockman)

KJV: But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

NET: Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands; he meditates on his commands day and night. (NET Bible)

NJB: but who delights in the law of Yahweh and murmurs his law day and night. (NJB)

Young’s Literal: But–in the law of Jehovah is his delight, And in His law he doth meditate by day and by night:


A W Pink summarizes Psalm 1:1-3 with three words that speak of the godly man or woman’s…

  1. Separation (Ps 1:1)
  2. Occupation (Ps 1:2)
  3. Fertilization (Ps 1:3)

Ray Pritchard notes that “Now we come to the positive side of the ledger. Having refused to walk in the way of evildoers, we instead focus on knowing God’s Word. We do this because the true way to float rubbish out is to pour water in. You can’t get rid of the garbage in your life simply by mental effort. You must replace the negative with something positive. (Ed: Compare “the washing of water with the word” Ep 5:26note, cp Php 4:8notePhp 4:9note = think upon truth & then obey truth! = God of peace will be with you. Compare also “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection” — ) (Trees Planted by the Water)

Play this beautiful song…then, enabled by the Holy Spirit, put the blessed truth of Psalm 1 into practice…you will never regret it beloved!

  • Planted By the Waters

    Note: In this song the words “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD…” are from the parallel passage in Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” (HALLELUJAH!)

But – Whenever you encounter this term of contrastpause and ponder the text, asking questions like what is being contrasted, etc, which will usually force you to re-read the preceding passages (context = “king” in accurate interpretation), which is always a good “exercise.” Think of “BUT” as a hinge on a door, that opens into another room different from the attached room. Here the psalmist “changes direction” from the broad way leading to destruction (Mt 7:13note), to the narrow way that leads to eternal life (Mt 7:14note, cp the highway of holiness, Isa 35:8, the ancient paths Jer 6:1618:15!). Now he presents the marked contrast that accrues to those who choose to avoid the ways of the wicked, sinners and scoffers. As we have made a conscious, volitional, choice to (Spirit enabled – Php 2:13note, see Php 2:12note) “flee” from the evil, now we are by the same means called to “pursue” the good. This spiritual dynamic is similar to Paul’s charge to young Timothy regarding being a vessel of honor (cp “tree firmly planted...”)…

if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor (cp “like a tree planted… “), sanctified (set apart), useful to the Master, prepared for every good work (cp “bear fruit in season… “). Now flee (present imperative = command to make it your habit to do so – flee the 3 “P’s” = pleasure, power, possessions) from youthful lusts, and (note that true Biblical separation is balanced – if not we become “isolated” not “separated”) pursue (present imperative = command to make it your habit to do so) righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2Ti 2:2122-see notes 2Ti 2:2122) (cp a similar injunction to all followers of Christ in 1Ti 6:11, cp the same spiritual dynamic = avoid then discipline yourself in 1Ti 4:7 – note; the “reward” in 1Ti 4:8note)

CommentWhy must we as believers continually flee? Because our fallen flesh is intractably wicked and evil [[ = our fallen flesh nature {Jas 1:14note} inherited from Adam {Ro 5:12noteRo 5:1415noteRo 5:1617noteRo 5:1819note} although made ineffective in believers by the Cross {Ro 6:6note “done away with”} still inhabits our mortal bodies, ever crouching at the door of our heart {cp Pr 4:23note} ready to spring into action {cp Ge 4:567} if by the enabling power of the Spirit {Ro 8:13noteGal 5:16noteGal 5:1718noteGal 5:25note} we do not mortify it’s strong desires {Col 3:5KJV – note}]], the devil (diabolos) is a continually roaming and roaring lion (1Pe 5:8note1Pet 5:9note), and the world system (1Jn 2:15note1Jn 2:16note1Jn 2:17noteJas 4:4note, contrast Gal 6:14) cries out to satisfy your desire (witness the Nike commercial “Just Do It!”) with the passing pleasures of sin (Heb 11:25note). Compare 1Pe 2:11note.


What is it? What does delight look like? How does one obtain “delight” or begin to delight? How is delight maintained, nursed and nourished?

Delight (02656) (hepes/chepes/chephets) is a masculine noun which means to take pleasure or find enjoyment in something. To feel great favor towards something. To experience emotional delight (referring either to men as here in Ps 1:2 or to God – 1Sa 15:22Ps 16:3Isa 44:2846:1048:1453:10)

See also Delight Yourself in the Lord

Hepes/chepes/chephets pictures that which is bent toward and thus is a beautiful figure of the godly man or woman who is ever leaning toward the law of Jehovah, not referring to the the “ten commandments” but to the law as representative of God’s Word. And given that God’s word is His “love letter” to fallen, rebellious mankind, the blessed man seeks this letter as a young man or woman would devour a love letter from they one they are courting or being courted by. Sentence by sentence. Phrase by phrase. Word by word. Reading through the letter without interruption, even unaware of surrounding distractions. Reading and re-reading. Such a picture is one of sheer delight of the beloved at having received a love letter from God Who is the essence of love. And so the blessed man or woman inclines toward the word.

Delight – a high degree of gratification or satisfaction of mind; extreme satisfaction; something that gives great pleasure. Webster’s 1828 says in English “delight is a more permanent pleasure than joy, and not dependent on sudden excitement.”

Delightful – Highly pleasing. Affording great pleasure and satisfaction.

The Septuagint (Lxx) translates hepes/chepes/chephets in Ps 1:2 with with the noun thelema which is “generally, as the result of what one has decided will; (1) objectively will, design, purpose, what is willed.” (Friberg) Thelema is what one wishes to happen or the act of desiring.

Hapes/chapes – 38 verses – Usage: care(1), delight(8), delightful(2), delights(1), desirable things(1), desire(10), desired(2), event(1), good pleasure(3), matter(1), pleased(1), pleasure(3), precious(1), sight(1), undesirable*(2), what you desire(1).

1Sa 15:2218:252Sa 23:51Kgs 5:8ff9:1110:132Chr 9:12Job 21:2122:331:16Ps 1:216:3107:30Pr 3:158:1131:13Eccl 3:1175:488:6Eccl 12:110Isa 44:2846:1048:14Isa 53:1054:1258:31362:4Jer 22:2848:38Hos 8:8Mal 1:103:12

1Sam 15:22 And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight (Lxx = theletos = wished for, desired, also used in Mal 3:2) in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

Ps 16:3note As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight. (Lxx = thelema)

Spurgeon – The true aristocracy are believers in Jesus. They are the only Right Honorables. Stars and garters are poor distinctions compared with the graces of the Spirit. He who knows them best says of them, “in whom is all my delight.” They are his Hephzibah and his land Beulah, and before all worlds His delights were with these chosen sons of men. Their own opinion of themselves is far other than their Beloved’s opinion of them; they count themselves to be less than nothing, yet He makes much of them, and sets his heart towards them. What wonders the eyes of Divine Love can see where the Hands of Infinite Power have been graciously at work. It was this quick sighted affection which led Jesus to see in us a recompense for all His agony, and sustained Him under all His sufferings by the joy of redeeming us from going down into the pit.

Pr 3:15 She (wisdom) is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire (Lxx = timios = “absolutely no precious thing”) compares with her.

Pr 8:11 “For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things (Lxx = timios = “absolutely no precious thing is of equal worth”) can not compare with her.

Eccl 12:1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”;

Eccl 12:10 The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly.

Isa 53:10 But the LORD was pleased (chaphets – desired, delighted! Lxx = boulomai) To crush (Lxx = katharizo = purify, purge) Him (Messiah), putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure (Lxx = boulomai = of one desiring something – wish, desire) of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

This soul delight is beautifully captured in one of the first vocals by Fernando Ortega in a Maranatha song entitled “Blessed”…

I will delight in the law of the LORD
I will meditate day and night

But what if His Word is not your delight (remembering that delight in His Word is another way of saying “delight in the LORD” because His Word is about Him)? You can always pray knowing that our Father’s will is for His children to delight in His Name and His character. You can know He will answer according to His good, and acceptable and perfect will (cp 1John 5:14,15). Another resource you might consider to stimulate you to discipline yourself for godliness is to download the Pdf of Dr John Piper’s book When I Don’t Desire God – How to Fight for Joy.

Thomas Watson in his Excellent Article on Meditation writes that…

Grace breeds delight in God, and delight breeds meditationMeditation is a duty wherein consists the essentials of religion, and which nourishes the very life-blood of it. That the Psalmist may show how much the godly man is habituated to this blessed work of meditation, he subjoins, “In his law does he meditate day and night;” not but that there may be sometimes intermission: God allows time for our calling, he grants some relaxation; but when it is said, the godly man meditates day and night, the meaning is, frequently—he is much conversant in the duty.

It is a command of God to pray without ceasing, 1Th 5:17 (note). The meaning is—not that we should be always praying—but that we should every day set some time apart for prayer. We read in the Old law it was called the continual sacrifice, Nu 28:24, not that the people of Israel did nothing else but sacrifice—but because they had their stated hours, every morning and evening they offered, therefore it was called the continual sacrifice. Thus the godly man is said to meditate day and night, that is, he is often at this work, he is no stranger to meditation.

Doctrine. The proposition that results out of the text is this—that a godly Christian is a meditating Christian, Ps 119:15note. “I will meditate in your precepts.” 1Ti 4:15, “Meditate upon these things.” Meditation is the chewing upon the truths we have heard. The beasts in the old law which did not chew the cud, were unclean; the professor who does not by meditation chew the cud, is to be accounted unclean. Meditation is like the watering of the seed, it makes the fruits of grace to flourish.

Delight is an attitude that leads to an action (meditate). Delight is a good attitude and James says that every good thing and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights in Whom there is no variation or shifting of shadow (James 1:17note). Before we were saved by grace through faith, we were hostile toward God and His Word. Clearly, salvation is necessary for one to delight and ultimately that delight is planted in our heart by the Father of lights. But this good gift like all gifts can be squandered and abused to the point that it begins to fade into only a dim memory of times when we truly delighted in the Word like a newborn babe (see 1Pe 2:1note1Peter 2:2note). Time and the effects of sin have a way of slowly eroding one’s delight if we are not vigilant to watch over our heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). If you find yourself in the “slough of despond” as Bunyan puts it, what are you to do that you might once again delight in His Word and in Him? Although it may sound simple and/or trite, I think the answer, as it is to all “sloughs”, is prayer. Pray to your heavenly Father, pleading for the restoration of the good gift of delight, so that delight replaces a sense of drudgery or duty. God promises to hear and answer prayer in accord with His will and His will is that we be in His Word and His Word in us, renewing our mind and transforming us into the image of His Son. Perhaps you need to confess and repent of some secret (not to God) sin that has been nipping away at and eroding your sense of delight. Ask God to search your heart and see if there is any hurtful way in you, and if He reveals it, then ask Him to lead you in the everlasting way (Ps 139:23,24).

As the apostle John said God’s “commandments are not burdensome.” (1John 5:3) and David adds “Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned (and) in keeping them there is great reward.” (Ps 19:11)

Once you have this good gift of delight and are acting upon it, seeking God in His Word, how do you maintain this attitude? I think Jeremiah gives us a clue as to the dynamic that begins to occur when we delight and devour divine truth. In the midst of a difficult time (which also speaks to where all saints should go when they feel overwhelmed) the “weeping prophet” Jeremiah wrote…

Thy words were found and I ate them (figuratively speaking), and Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart for I have been called by Thy name, O LORD God (Elohim) of hosts (cp Jehovah Sabaoth). (Jeremiah 15:16) (cp Job 23:12-note)

A W Pink asks: What is meant by “ate them“? Appropriation, assimilation. Meditation stands to reading—as digestion does to eating. It is as God’s Word is pondered by the mind, turned over and over in the thoughts, and mixed with faith—that we assimilate it. That which most occupies the mind and most constantly engages our thoughts—is what we most “delight” in.

When we are truly eating God’s Word we find it stimulates even greater delight for His Word. Jesus gives a parallel thought in Matthew 5 in His Sermon on the Mount…

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (see note Matthew 5:6)

Taking in the Word not only satisfies but stimulates a delight and desire for more of the pure milk of God’s Word of Truth and Life. There is one additional condition that needs to be fulfilled in order for these principles to be “energized” for Jesus also said…

Blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe (present tense = as your habitual practice, your lifestyle) it. (Luke 11:28)

If you know these things, you are blessed if you do (present tense = as your habitual practice, your lifestyle) them. (John 13:17 )


Clearly delighting and devouring must be followed up with doing. Obedience does not save us but it is the key to the blessed life. If you are not experiencing the good hand of the Lord upon you (see Ezra 7:910) as described in Psalm 1:3, perhaps you have deluded yourself that by simply reading God’s Word (eg, reading through the Bible in a year) you are growing in grace and Christlikeness. Wrong! You must apply the Word in order to experience blessing…

But prove (present imperative = commands habitual practice or lifestyle) yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. (see note James 1:22)

Comment: Don’t misinterpret James’ charge to be a “doer” as if he is commanding legalistic obedience (“Obey or else!”). The truth is that without God’s indwelling, enabling Spirit, we cannot truly obey (at least in a God pleasing way — see Php 2:13NLTnote for “how” believers now are given the supernatural desire and power to obey God’s Word.)

It is not enough to read the Bible as a duty–we must come to it with delight. If you are having trouble with delight (and have separated from the world as instructed in Psalm 1:1), I would suggest requesting the Lord to give you such an appetite.

F B Meyer – It is not enough to read the Bible as a duty – we must come to it with delight. This is possible if you eschew light and foolish literature which cloys the appetite. Read the Book in happy fellowship with its Author; meditate until it is assimilated.

Ray Pritchard – Now we come to the positive side of the ledger. Having refused to walk in the way of evildoers, we instead focus on knowing God’s Word. We do this because the true way to float rubbish out is to pour water in. You can’t get rid of the garbage in your life simply by mental effort. You must replace the negative with something positive. The psalmist tells us that the godly person “delights” in the law of the Lord. That means he loves the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. The word “delight” means to take great pleasure in. It has the idea of a consuming passion that controls your life. Everyone “delights” in something. Some people delight in food. Others delight in a job or a hobby or a career. Some delight in a particular friendship. Many people delight in money or the things money can buy. And many delight in evil pleasures and wrong desires. Mark this well. Your “delight” determines your direction. What do you delight in? What gets your motor running? What gets you excited in the morning and keeps you awake at night? What do you daydream about? Tell me the answers to those questions and I’ll tell you something crucial about who you are. To delight is to be so excited about something that you just can’t wait. Watch a young couple in love and you’ll know what “delight” means. Or take a young man who has fallen in love for the first time. Ask his friends and they’ll say, “He’s not the same guy he used to be.” They mean he has radically changed. He doesn’t want to hang around with them anymore. All he does is talk about “that girl.” Just look at him. He’s got this goofy grin on his face. He’s in love. Now apply that principle to the Word of God. We are to delight in God’s Word as a lover delights in a letter from his beloved. (Ibid) (Comment: And we are to delight in God Himself in the same way! Ps 37:4 – See “Delight Yourself in the Lord)


Law of the Lord – This phrase describes God’s entire word, not just the “10 Commandments” or the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible). The righteous man delights in (not just “on” but “in” picturing a more intimate involvement with) the word of God!

In the great Psalm 119 (virtually every verse of which deals with some aspect of God’s Word) the psalmist gives us a beautiful picture of what it means to delight writing…

Psalm 119:131 I opened (LXX = anoigo – see Rev 3:20note) my mouth wide and panted, (Why did he “pant”?) for I longed for Thy commandments.

The English rendering of the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation is…

Psalm 119:131 I opened my mouth, and drew breath: for I earnestly longed (see study of epipotheo; the verb tense is imperfect = pictures the psalmist over and over longing) after Thy commandments.

Beloved, does this describe your Christian walk? If not perhaps you might dare to pray this prayer to God, asking Him to give you a desire that pants for and cannot live without His Word of truth and life. When we pray boldly in God’s will, we can be assured that He hears us and that He will give us the requests that are in accord with His good and acceptable and perfect will – see 1Jn 5:14,15.

Matthew Henry comments on Ps 119:131

When he was under a forced absence from God’s ordinances he longed to be restored to them again; when he enjoyed ordinances he greedily sucked in the word of God, as new-born babes desire the milk. When Christ is formed in the soul there are gracious longings, unaccountable to one that is a stranger to the work.

The degree of that desire appearing in the expressions of it: I opened my mouth and panted, as one overcome with hear, or almost stifled, pants for a mouthful of fresh air. Thus strong, thus earnest, should our desires be towards God and the remembrance of his name, Ps. 42:12Lk. 12:50.

C H Spurgeon comments on Ps 119:131

So animated was his desire that he looked into the animal world to find a picture of it. He was filled with an intense longing, and was not ashamed to describe it by a most expressive, natural, and yet singular symbol. Like a stag that has been hunted in the chase, and is hard pressed, and therefore pants for breath, so did the Psalmist pant for the entrance of God’s word into his soul. Nothing else could content him. All that the world could yield him left him still panting with open mouth.

For I longed for thy commandments. Longed to know them, longed to obey them, longed to be conformed to their spirit, longed to teach them to others (cp Ezra 7:10note). He was a servant of God, and his industrious mind longed to receive orders; he was a learner in the school of grace, and his eager spirit longed to be taught of the Lord.

Panting for holiness. A rare hunger; the evidence of much grace, and the pledge of glory.

Puritan Thomas Manton writes on Ps 119:131

I opened my mouth, and panted. A metaphor taken from men scorched and sweltered with heat, or from those that have run themselves out of breath in following the thing which they would overtake. The former metaphor expressed the vehemency of his love; the other the earnestness of his pursuit: he was like a man gasping for breath, and sucking in the cool air.

I longed for thy commandments. This is a desire which God will satisfy. “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it”: Ps 81:10.

William Cowper comments on Psalm 119:131

I opened my mouth, and panted. By this manner of speech, David expresses, as Basil thinks, animi propensionem, that the inclination of his soul was after God’s word. For, this opened mouth, Ambrose thinks, is os interioris hominis, the mouth of the inward man, which in effect is his heart; and the, speech notes vehementem animi intensionem, a vehement intension of his spirit, saith Euthymius. Yet shall it not be amiss to consider here how the mind of the godly earnestly affected moves the body also. The speech may be drawn from travellers, who being very desirous to attain to their proposed ends, enforce their strength thereunto; and finding a weakness in their body to answer their will, they pant and open their mouth, seeking refreshment from the air to renew their strength: or as Vatablus thinks, from men exceeding hungry and thirsty, who open their mouth as if they would draw in the whole air, and then pant and sigh within themselves when they find no full refreshment by it. So he expresses it: “My heart burns with so ardent a longing for thy commandments, that I am forced ever and anon to gasp by reason of my painful breathing.”

However it be, it lets us see how the hearing, reading, or meditating of God’s word wakened in David (Ed note: Some think Psalm 119 was written by the scribe Ezra) a most earnest affection to have the light, joy, grace, and comfort thereof communicated to his own heart. For in the godly, knowledge of good increases desires; and it cannot be expressed how vehemently their souls long to feel that power and comfort which they know is in the word; and how sore they are grieved and troubled when they find it not.

And happy were we, if we could meet the Lord with this like affection; that when he opens his mouth, we could also open our heart to hear, as David here doth… For it is His promise to us all — “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” (see Ps 81:10 – Spurgeon’s note) Let us turn it into a prayer, that the Lord, who opened the heart of Lydia (see Acts 16:14note), would open our heart to receive grace when He offers by His word to give it.

Henry Melvill writes on Ps 119:131

There are two ways in which these words may be understood. They may be considered as expressing the very earnest longing of the Psalmist for greater acquaintance with God in spiritual things; and then in saying, “I opened my mouth, and panted,” he merely asserts the vehemence of his desire.

Or you may separate the clauses: you may regard the first as the utterance of a man utterly dissatisfied with the earth and earthly things, and the second as the expression of a consciousness that God, and God only, could meet the longings of his soul. “I opened my mouth, and panted.” Out of breath, with chasing shadows, and hunting after baubles, I sit down exhausted, as far off as ever from the happiness which has been earnestly but fruitlessly sought. Whither, then, shall I turn? Thy commandments, O Lord, and these alone, can satisfy the desires of an immortal being like myself; and on these, therefore, henceforward shall my longings be turned. (Amen)

His delight – Not his obligation. Not his job. Not his duty. (Although there is some truth in each of these descriptions). Not his drudgery. But his delight! His great pleasure. His emotional delight.

Delight reflects one’s attitude, an attitude that precedes an action (meditates day and night).

Men understand the emotion of delight for the Bible uses it to describe Shechem’s “delight” in Jacob’s daughter Dinah (Ge 34:19), a delight that indeed led to an action but not a God honoring action as in Psalm 1:2! We see a similar picture of delight in the Persian court of King Ahasuerus where young ladies from his harem would be paraded before the king…

She would not again go in to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name. (Esther 2:12b)

You can mark it down – Whatever delights your heart will end up directing your heart. If you delight in the Word, you will eat it (memorize) and chew it (meditate).

Note also that delight in the Word of God leads to eating of it and eating leads to increasing delight in the Word, and so the circle continues.

Adam Clarke – his will, desire, affection, every motive in his heart, and every moving principle in his soul, are on the side of God and his truth. He takes up the law of the Lord as the rule of his life; he brings all his actions and affections to this holy standard.

F B Meyer – It is not enough to read the Bible as a duty – we must come to it with delight. This is possible if you eschew light and foolish literature which cloys the appetite. Read the Book in happy fellowship with its Author; meditate until it is assimilated (Jas 1:25note) Better one verse digested than a whole chapter bolted.

Jeremiah in the context of a difficult time of ministry to rebellious Judah said…

Thou Who knowest, O LORD, Remember me, take notice of me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. Do not, in view of Thy patience, take me away. Know that for Thy sake I endure reproach. Thy words were found and I ate them, and Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I have been called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:15,16note)

Note Jeremiah’s ministry mindset which called for a (the) cure. Specifically note that the effect of eating (cp meditating or “chewing the cud”, digesting, assimilating) the Word was an to enhance his sense of “taste”. God’s Words actually stimulated delight, delight being the psalmist’s “starting point” in Psalm 1.

And so as we choose to separate from the profane and seek to delight in God (something He places in our heart for no man seeks after God on his own) and savor (meditate) His Word, His Spirit transforms our hearts (according to Jeremiah 15:16), stimulating even greater delight, so that the cycle begins anew with ever deepening intimacy and fellowship with the infinite, holy God. It is easy to see how such a man or woman who is being progressively transformed by the Word and the Spirit (see John 6:63), begins to grow into an oak of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified (Isa 61:3Ps 1:3)

Oh, how the body of Christ needs to delight to get into the Word of God today that thereby the Word gets into us. We don’t need just a little surface learning of a few rules (not “on” the Word but “in” the Word!), or just a little guideline with a few steps to take to make us “feel better”. We need to delight and digest God’s living and abiding Word (Heb 4:12note1Pe 1:23note) , so that it becomes part of our being and gives life to our soul (cp John 6:63Dt 32:4647).

Steven Cole asks…

What does it mean to delight in God’s Word. The word is used in the Old Testament (Ge 34:19Esther 2:14) of a man delighting in a woman. Ah! That tells us something! Have you noticed that when a young man delights in a woman, he rearranges his priorities so that suddenly he has plenty of time to spend with her? And he doesn’t do it because he has to; he wants to! Nothing interferes with his time with the object of his delight!

Now let me ask: Do you delight in God’s Word in that sense? Do you make time to spend in the Word because you delight in it? Or has it become a duty? It’s easy to fall into the duty mentality toward the Word: “A chapter a day keeps the devil away!” Besides, it alleviates your guilt to read it. So you grind through a chapter and check it off on your list, but you didn’t commune with the living God or apply His Word to where you need to change.

The Bible is God’s love letter to you. You’re reading the counsel of a loving, all-wise Heavenly Father as to how you should live. His commandments are for your blessing and good. It should be no more of a duty to spend time in God’s Word than it is for a young man to spend time with an attractive woman. The way to true happiness is to delight in God’s Word. (Ibid)

Do you delight in God’s Word? If not, beseech Him to “whet your appetite” with the hors d’oeuvre or appetizer (food or drink usually served before a meal to stimulate appetite) of delight, which will stimulate intake of the pure milk of His Word and in turn will stimulate even greater delight. As an aside, what of value do we really have to say to anyone (edifying, equipping, encouraging, etc) unless we first eat God’s Holy Word and He speaks through us (unction) as vessels of honor, sanctified, useful to the Master for every good work?!

William Heslop writes that…

He is blessed because his delight is in the law of the Lord.

– He not only reads the Bible, he delights in it.

– He not only studies the holy word, he enjoys it.

– He not only reviews truth, he relishes and revels in it.

Richard De Haan gives us an illustration of how delight can be dulled and end up as drudgery…

The first morning I heard the mockingbird practicing his bagful of imitations outside my window, I was thrilled by the beauty of his songs. Gradually, however, I began to take this early morning songster for granted. One day as I awoke, it dawned on me that I no longer appreciated my regular visitor. It wasn’t the mockingbird’s fault. He was still there. His beautiful song hadn’t changed, but I was no longer listening for it.

As believers in Christ, we may have a similar experience hearing God speak to us in His Word. When we are first saved, the Scriptures, with their soul-stirring instruction and vital spiritual food, are deeply satisfying. As time goes on, however, we routinely read those same portions over and over in a manner that no longer speaks to us. Our spiritual senses grow dull and lethargic, and God’s exhilarating Word becomes commonplace to us. But then, what joy we feel when a passage reveals an exciting truth, and once again we “hear” the Lord!

Are you reading the Scriptures out of a tired sense of duty? Or do you still possess the delight and fresh expectancy you had when you first believed? Today, when you read God’s Word, listen closely for His voice. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Then let me love my Bible more
And take a fresh delight
By day to read these wonders o’er
And meditate by night.
— Isaac Watts

John Piper writes that…

The deepest mark of this happy person in Psalm 1 is that he delights in the Word of God. Bible reading and Bible memory (see Memorizing God’s Word) and meditation (see Primer of Biblical Meditation) are not a burden to him, but a pleasure. This is what we want. What a sadness when Bible reading is just a drudgery. Something is wrong.

What shall we do?… We struggle with Bible reading and memory and meditation because we don’t find pleasure in it. We have other things we want to get to more. TV or breakfast or work or newspaper or computer. Our hearts incline to other things and do not incline to the Word. And so it is not a delight.

Did the psalmists ever struggle with this? Yes they did. Take heart. We all do. How shall this be changed? This is Prayer Week, and so the answer we will stress is that it is changed through prayer. This is what I will focus on next week. We must pray for God’s enabling to help us delight in his Word. (Meditate on the Word of the Lord Day and Night)

I scanned the Scriptures thoughtlessly–
My haste had closed my ear;
Then prayerfully I read once more–
This time my heart could hear.



As we continually meditate on God’s Holy Word (you are meditating aren’t you and not simply passively reading the text?) and by the Spirit obey what He illuminates, we continually are transformed from glory to glory by the same Spirit, growing in grace and Christ-like holiness, even as a tree grows and thrives and flourishes in a well fertilized and well watered soil.

How do you know whether you delight in God’s Word? From the context the Psalmist would say you demonstrate your delight by meditating on it day and night! Using this as your benchmark, would you say you “delight” in His Word?


As Thomas a Kempis quaintly put it

I have no rest, but in a nook, with the Book.

Talk with the Word and the God of the Word and they will speak to you…

Proverbs 6:20 (Commentary) My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually on your heart. Tie them around your neck. (sounds like meditation!) 22 When you walk about, they will guide you. When you sleep, they will watch over you. And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.

In His law – By the use of the preposition “in” one gets the picture of not just a “surface scanning” but immersing one’s self in the pure milk of His Word (1Pet 2:2note). Get “in” His Law, so that His Law can get “in” you and carry out it’s transforming work. When you truly delight in the Word, you will have a desire to spend time in it and to meditate on it.

His Law (08451) – John Piper describes law or Torah as “”instruction: God’s Words about God’s ways.”

Someone has written “The Bible is bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions.”

God feeds the birds, but He doesn’t throw the food into their nests.

The Bible is like a table, laden with nourishing food we need every day: promises, instruction, wisdom, comfort, and encouragement. Like any good host, God tells us, “Come and get it!” But we often fail to do this. We depend on everything but Him and wonder why our faith is feeble. But if like our feathered friends (God feeds the sparrows) we’ll come and feast daily, expectantly, and actively, our divine Host will provide for all our needs. Depend on it!

See related resources on Biblical Meditation

Meditates (01897) (hagah – see word study) strictly speaking means to utter a sound and hence it is employed of inward utterance, of the words a man speaks to himself; and also of giving open and loud expression to the thoughts. And so in Hebrew thought, to meditate upon the Scriptures is to quietly repeat them in a soft, droning sound, while utterly abandoning outside distractions.

Meditation has the idea of digesting something thoroughly, of ruminating (going over in the mind repeatedly, slowly) on it, of chewing the cud (of God’s Word of Truth), of considering a verse by pondering it from various angles.

The Septuagint (Lxx) frequently translates hagah with the verb meletao (Ps 1:22:135:28, 38:12, 63:6, 71:24, 77:12, 143:5, Pr 8:715:2824:2Isa 16:7Isa 59:3Isa 59:13)

As stated, the original Hebrew idea is to mumble under one’s breath. I get the picture of one “brooding” over God’s Word, almost like a mother hen sitting on her eggs until they hatch! Have you ever been to the “Wailing Wall” in Jerusalem and seen the men facing the wall rocking back and forth muttering or chanting. That’s a picture of meditating, but only a partial picture because without the Holy Spirit our Teacher, such mumbling becomes a rote, mechanical exercise.

Hagah – 24 verses – Usage: declare(1), devise(2), devising(1), growls(1), make a sound(1), meditate(5), meditates(1), moan(3), moan sadly(1), mutter(2), mutters(1), ponders(1), utter(2), uttering(1), utters(1).

Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Job 27:4 My lips certainly will not speak unjustly, Nor will my tongue mutter deceit.

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?

Psalm 35:28 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all day long.

Psalm 37:30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice.

Psalm 38:12 Those who seek my life lay snares for me; And those who seek to injure me have threatened destruction, And they devise treachery all day long.

Psalm 63:6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,

Psalm 71:24 My tongue also will utter Your righteousness all day long; For they are ashamed, for they are humiliated who seek my hurt.

Psalm 77:12 I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.

Psalm 115:7 They have hands, but they cannot feel; They have feet, but they cannot walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat.

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.

Proverbs 8:7 “For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

Proverbs 24:2 For their minds devise violence, And their lips talk of trouble.

Isaiah 8:19 When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

Isaiah 16:7 Therefore Moab will wail; everyone of Moab will wail. You will moan for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth As those who are utterly stricken.

Isaiah 31:4 For thus says the LORD to me, “As the lion or the young lion growls over his prey, Against which a band of shepherds is called out, And he will not be terrified at their voice nor disturbed at their noise, So will the LORD of hosts come down to wage war on Mount Zion and on its hill.”

Isaiah 33:18 Your heart will meditate on terror: “Where is he who counts? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?”

Isaiah 38:14 “Like a swallow, like a crane, so I twitter; I moan like a dove; My eyes look wistfully to the heights; O Lord, I am oppressed, be my security.

Isaiah 59:3 For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness.

11 All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us.

Isaiah 59:13 Transgressing and denying the LORD, And turning away from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words.

Jeremiah 48:31 “Therefore I will wail for Moab, Even for all Moab will I cry out; I will moan for the men of Kir-heres.

While James does not use the word meditate, the idea is certainly alluded to in his description of the blessed man…

But one who looks intently (parakupto) = stoop down amd look into in order to see something exactly ) at the perfect law, the law of liberty (eleutheria – Freedom in Christ is not the right to do as one pleases but the Spirit enabled power to please God by doing what is right!), and abides (tarries, remains) by it, not having become a forgetful hearer (James 1:23-24note) but an effectual doer (speaks of obeying the Word – not legalistically but controlled and empowered by the Spirit), this man shall be blessed in what he does (Notice the promise is “conditioned” on looking intently and obeying unhesitatingly!). (James 1:25note)

Comment: Notice that this passage begins with “but” which is a term of contrast. which signifies a “change of direction” and always begs the question “What is the author contrasting?, Why?, Who is involved?, etc” As you query the text with the 5W/H’S., you will find yourself re-reading the passage as well as the preceding passages. In effect you are “meditating” on James 1:25. You are “looking intently” at the Word. Notice the other benefits – You are forced to slow down. You are establishing the context (which is always key to accurate interpretation). You are re-reading the passage and you are much more likely to retain the truth in this passage then if you were “speed reading” in order to make sure you get through your daily Bible reading so that you don’t fall behind on your “through the Bible in a year” reading program! You may go through the assigned chapters for the day, but the real question is how much of the truth of those passages “went through” your heart and mind and soul and spirit. It is better to chew one verse well, then to read through one chapter and not even recall what you read by the end of the day! As F B Meyer said “Read the Book in happy fellowship with its Author; meditate until it is assimilated… Better one verse digested than a whole chapter bolted (“swallowed” hastily without chewing!).”

Matthew Henry – To meditate in God’s word is to discourse concerning the great things contained in it, with a close application of mind, a fixedness of thought, till we be suitably affected with those things and experience the savour and power of them in our hearts.

J. Vernon McGee writes that…

Meditate is a very figurative word. It pictures a cow chewing her cud. I’m told that the cow has several compartments in her tummy. She can go out in the morning, graze on the grass when the dew is on it in the cool of the day. Then when it gets hot in the middle of the day, she lies down under a tree and begins to chew the cud. She moves the grass she had in the morning back up and now she masticates it, she goes over it again. That is what we do when we meditate. We go over what we have read. Way back in 1688 Bartholomew Ashwood said, “Meditation chews the cud.” My, how that is needed today in the lives of believers. Remember that James spoke of the man who beholds his natural face in a mirror, then “… immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.” (Jas 1:24note).

We are to meditate on the Word of God (which is God’s mirror that shows us what we really are). We are to allow the Word to shape our lives. My friend, God has no plan or program by which you are to grow and develop as a believer apart from His Word. You can become as busy as a termite in your church (and possibly with the same effect as a termite), but you won’t grow by means of activity. You will grow by meditating upon the Word of God—that is, by going over it again and again in your thinking until it becomes a part of your life. This is the practice of the happy (blessed) man. (Ps 1:12). (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)

Martin Luther said that…

Prayer, meditation, and temptation make a minister.

Meditation is to our inner person what digestion is to our body and thus if you make the Word a part of your life (hearing and heeding it) you will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (see 2Pe 3:18note)

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
–Author Unknown

Wiersbe – We saturate ourselves with the Word by meditating on it… When we meditate on the Word, we allow the Spirit of God within us to “digest” the Word of God for us. So not only do we delight in the Word, it becomes a source of spiritual nourishment for us.

Ray Pritchard – If we are serious about this, we will find the time to meditate. And we will have some sort of regular reading program. Perhaps we’ll read through the Bible in a year. Or perhaps we’ll use one of the many Bible study guides that are available. And certainly we will try to memorize Scripture. This has become something of a lost art today. In an earlier generation, it was commonplace for Christians to emphasize Scripture memory. Today we have more or less relegated that practice to the Awana program. That’s a pity because when we hide the Word of God in our hearts, we are protected from sin and given strength to obey God. I know that many people, men especially, like to say, “I just can’t memorize. I’m too busy. My brain’s too fried. I can barely remember my phone number.” Women seem to do better at this, but we men have a thousand excuses. The truth is, we lack motivation. Suppose that Bill Gates came into the sanctuary with a 50-gallon drum filled with crisp, clean $100 bills. And suppose he offered $100 for each verse anyone memorized by next Sunday. That would change things, wouldn’t it? I’m sure we’ve got men who would figure out a way to memorize 100 verses by next Sunday because they need the money. But God’s Word is more precious than gold or silver. If we delight in the Word, we will find a way to read it, to meditate on it, and even to memorize it.

In the following verses from Psalm 119, observe the association between delight and meditation.

15 I will meditate on Thy precepts, and regard Thy ways. (note)

16 I shall delight in Thy statutes; I shall not forget Thy word. (note)

23 Even though princes sit and talk against me, Thy servant meditates on Thy statutes. (note)

24 Thy testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors. (note)

47 And I shall delight in Thy commandments, Which I love. (note)

48 And I shall lift up my hands to Thy commandments, Which I love; And I will meditate on Thy statutes. (note)

77 May Thy compassion come to me that I may live, For Thy law is my delight. (note)

78 May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; but I shall meditate on Thy precepts. (note)

If God’s Word is not the delight and desire of your heart, beseech Him without ceasing to cultivate in your soul an appetite for the pure milk of His Word. If you pray this with clean hands and a pure heart, you can be assured God will answer it affirmatively for it is in accordance with His good and perfect will. Will you take the challenge to pray this prayer?

A. T. Pierson says that…

Meditation is simply thought prolonged and directed to a single object. Your mystic chambers where thoughts abide are the secret workshop of an unseen Sculptor chiseling living forms for a deathless future. Personality and influence are modeled here. Hence, the biblical injunction: ‘Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life’

J. I. Packer says that meditation is the practice of turning each truth we learn about God into matter for reflection before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.

Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God… It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. (Packer, J I: Knowing God)

Saturation with the Scriptures is the…
Secret to Satisfaction in your Soul

Muse (used twice in OT Ps 39:3143:5, once in NT in KJV of Lk 3:15) describes giving deep thought, close attention or contemplation which abstracts the mind from passing scenes. Muse was the name given to ancient Greek deities (nine goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences) who spent much time in solitude and thinking. The statue of “The Thinker” is the artistic concept of deep concentration and absorption. Add an “a” to the beginning of “muse” and you have: “amuse” — sports, games, television and a score of other tools used by the enemy to keep God’s men from concentrating on man’s God.

Beware of getting alone with your own thoughts. Get alone with God’s thoughts. There is danger in rummaging through waste and barren desert-thoughts that can be labeled — daydreaming or worse. Don’t meditate upon yourself but dwell upon Him — seek God in your inner thought life. There is always danger in meditating upon problems. Develop the habit of reflection upon the Word of God and therein find the answers to your problems.

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips: When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches” (Psalm 63:5-6). (See Spurgeon’s notes verse 5verse 6)

Ro 12:2note)

The crown fruit of meditation is the changed life. Without the transformed life, meditation is useless. This was the problem Jesus had with the Pharisees of His day. They knew the facts and were experts in doctrine. They were conscientious, sincere and dedicated men. But the Lord called them sons of Satan — “Ye are of your father the devil.” Why this stinging indictment? All their study of the Old Testament didn’t change their lives. There was no heart application. They still oppressed the poor, defrauded the widows and pursued doubtful business practices.

Beware of meditation that ends in just pious words (cf Jas 1:22note). True meditation ends in moral action. A changed attitude toward God and fellow man is the result. A changed work habit. A changed relationship to your family. In short — a changed life! Anything less is not enough.

O how I love Thy law: it is my meditation all the day (Ps 119:97note)

Regarding the phrase it is my meditation all the day Spurgeon wrote that…

This was both the effect of his love and the cause of it. He meditated in God’s word because he loved it, and then loved it the more because he meditated in it. He could not have enough of it, so ardently did he love it: all the day was not too long for his converse with it. His main prayer, his noonday thought, his evensong were all out of Holy Writ; yea, in his worldly business he still kept his mind saturated with the law of the Lord. It is said of some men that the more you know them the less you admire them; but the reverse is true of God’s word. Familiarity with the word of God breeds affection, and affection seeks yet greater familiarity. When “thy law,” and “my meditation” are together all the day, the day grows holy, devout, and happy, and the heart lives with God.

Bring the fruit of your meditation and offer it to the Lord for His blessing. Ask the Holy Spirit to apply the Word to your heart and enable you to live today in conformity to it.

Let the words of my mouth,
And the meditation of my heart,
Be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord,
My strength, and my Redeemer
Psalm 19:14note

Spurgeon commenting on Psalm 19:14 said that this verse is “A sweet prayer, and so spiritual that it is almost as commonly used in Christian worship as the apostolic benediction. Words of the mouth are mockery if the heart does not meditate; the shell is nothing without the kernel; but both together are useless unless accepted; and even if accepted by man, it is all vanity if not acceptable in the sight of God. We must in prayer view Jehovah as our strength enabling, and our Redeemer saving, or we shall not pray aright, and it is well to feel our personal interest so as to use the word my, or our prayers will be hindered. Our near Kinsman’s name, our Goel or Redeemer, makes a blessed ending to the Psalm; it began with the heavens, but it ends with him whose glory fills heaven and earth. Blessed Kinsman, give us now to meditate acceptably upon thy most sweet love and tenderness.

Hampton Keathley, III in his excellent summary writes that…

Meditation means “the act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, think on, muse.” Meditation consists of reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on a specific subject to discern its meaning or significance or a plan of action. ” (click for entire article BIBLICAL MEDITATION – highly recommended)

Warren Wiersbe rightly said that…

Meditation is to your inner person what digestion is to your body: you make the Word a part of your life and you grow.

Ongoing Meditation – Meditation on God’s Word doesn’t have to end when your devotional time is over. You can continue the blessing by taking Scripture with you throughout the day.

Some people memorize a passage or write it on a card so they can have it available to read when they get a few moments. An engineer uses his coffee breaks to continue his reflection on God’s Word. Homemakers attach verses to the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Truckers put portions of the Bible on their dashboard.

Leslie B. Flynn tells of a brilliant college student who volunteered to work at a church camp and ended up as the designated potato peeler. A friend who admired her intelligence said, “It’s too bad you had to end up peeling potatoes.” She replied, “I don’t have to think about potatoes while I’m peeling them. So I think about my Bible verse for the day.”

The psalmist indicated that he didn’t read God’s Word and then forget it. He meditated on it all day (Ps 119:97). Likewise, the “blessed man” of Psalm 1 reflected on God’s Word “day and night” (Ps 1:2). And when the Word of God is in our minds from morning to night, we’ll be more likely to obey it and far less likely to violate it. That’s the value of ongoing meditation.— by David C. Egner

We must read Scripture every day
And meditate on what God said
To fight temptation from the world
And live a life that’s Spirit led.

Reading the Bible without meditating on it
is like eating without chewing.

Think About It – According to one little boy, “Thinking is when your mouth stays shut and your head keeps talking to itself.”

The way our head talks to itself tells a lot about how we are doing morally and spiritually. To guard our mind and to keep out the influences that will hinder our walk with God is to use our mind in the way He desires.

The Bible gives us clear guidelines—spelling out the kinds of things we should think about. For example, Psalm 1:2 and Psalm 119:97 tell us to meditate on God’s Word day and night. That should be our first priority in the thinking department.

But we have a life to live, and we can’t spend all of our waking moments meditating on Scripture. Yet even when we are thinking about the mundane aspects of life, we need guidance. Paul told us that we should think about things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). In our daily activities, those words should govern what is on our mind.

When our head “talks to itself,” it needs to say, “Keep the impure and ungodly thoughts out of here!” When we’re thinking that way, we’ll know what to do, how to behave, where to go, and what to say.— by Dave Branon

Let us think about what’s good—
What’s right and pure and true;
May God’s Word control our thoughts
In everything we do.

Right thinking leads to right living.

Day and night – Our continual practice. Not our occasional or spasmodic practice! Anytime (every time!) is a good time to meditate on God’s Word! If one takes the text literally, it might suggest a good practice would be to begin and end each day by meditating on the Word of God, for a good beginning and ending to each day! Such a practice might take some Spirit enabled discipline but Oh the benefits thereof! Paul calls on Timothy and all believers to…

Discipline (Gumnazo [Eng = Gym, gymnastics!] in the present imperative calls for this to be our lifestyle and would include the discipline of meditation) yourself for the purpose of godliness for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1Ti 4:78note)


In Paul’s last letter before he died, while not using the word meditate, he did command Timothy to…

Consider (Think about, carefully consider continually – present imperative) what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2Ti 2:7note)

One of the best ways to “think over” the Biblical passage is to interrogate with the 5W/H using questions. As John Piper commented Paul gives Timothy (and saints of all ages) “a command and a promise. Paul commanded, “Think over what I say.” And then he promised, “God will give you understanding in everything.” Some people see tension between cogitation and illumination. Not Paul. He commands cogitation. And he promises illumination. How do the command and promise fit together? The little connecting word for gives the answer. “Think … because God will reward you with understanding.” We must form the habit of being systematically disturbed by things that at first glance don’t make sense. Or to put it a different way, we must relentlessly query the text. One of the greatest honors I received while teaching Biblical studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, was when the teaching assistants in the Bible department gave me a T-shirt which had the initials of Jonathan Edwards on the front and on the back the words: “Asking questions is the key to understanding.” (From “Brothers We Are Not Professionals”)

I think Piper is spot on, for one of the crying needs for the SAINTS is to SLOW down and SAVOR the SPLENDOR of the SAVIOUR, the Living Word. As Piper says in another place…

You can learn more from a book if you stop and ask it questions than if you just read it passively. That includes the Bible too. One of the great problems in Bible reading is that we move our eyes over the words and come to the end of a column and don’t know what we’ve read; we don’t feel our minds or spirits expanded because we saw nothing fresh. It was purely mechanical. There was no discovery, no life, no breakthroughs to new insight.

One of the best ways to change that is to
train yourself to ask questions of the text.

(Ed: Amen! Hallelujah!) Often the posing of the question itself will already carry its answer with it and will open your mind to new things. This fairly prosaic, historical text in Luke 3:21–38 gives me an opportunity to show you what I mean. I’ll simply take you with me through this text, pointing out the questions I asked and the answers I came up with. My guess is that as you follow me, questions of your own will arise. Good questions usually beget other questions, and that’s how insight grows and grows. (From his sermon intro – The Baptism and the Genealogy of Jesus)

Wesley describes “night and day” as…

Not seldom and slightly, but diligently, and constantly.

Steven Cole explains the value of meditation in the context of Psalm 1 noting that…

As we saw in verse 1, the mind is the first bastion we must defend. Whatever shapes your thinking will shape your life. The only way for a person to reject the counsel of the ungodly which bombards him from every side is to be continually meditating on, thinking about, chewing on in his mind, the Word of God and how it applies to life.

That’s our responsibility: to delight in and meditate on the Word of God. Do you do it? Matthew Henry wisely comments,

“We may judge of our spiritual state by asking, “What is the law of God to us? What account do we make of it? What place has it in us?” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary [Revell], 3:23 9).

To the extent that you build your life on God and His Word, you will have true happiness. (Ibid)

A W Tozer had this to say about the value of meditating on God’s Word…

Read it much, read it often, brood over it, think over it, meditate over it—meditate on the Word of God day and night. When you are awake at night, think of a helpful verse. When you get up in the morning, no matter how you feel, think of a verse and make the Word of God the important element in your day. The Holy Ghost wrote the Word, and if you make much of the Word, He will make much of you. It is through the Word that He reveals Himself. Between those covers is a living Book. God wrote it and it is still vital and effective and alive. God is in this Book…and if you want to find Him, go into this Book.


(Tozer) Let the old saints be our example. They came to the Word of God and meditated. They laid the Bible on the old-fashioned, handmade chair, got down on the old, scrubbed, board floor and meditated on the Word. As they waited, faith mounted. The Spirit and faith illuminated. They had only a Bible with fine print, narrow margins and poor paper, but they knew their Bible better than some of us do with all of our helps.

Let’s practice the art of Bible meditation… Let us open our Bibles, spread them out on a chair and meditate on the Word of God. It will open itself to us, and the Spirit of God will come and brood over it.

I do challenge you to meditate, quietly, reverently, prayerfully, for a month. Put away questions and answers and the filling in of the blank lines in the portions you haven’t been able to understand. Put all of the cheap trash away and take the Bible, get on your knees, and in faith, say, “Father, here I am. Begin to teach me!” (from The Counselor)

John Piper writes that…

meditation in Hebrew means basically to speak or to mutter. When this is done in the heart it is called musing or meditation. Here is where I plead with you to get involved in the Fighter Verse memory program or some other pattern of Bible memorization. Unless you memorize Scripture you will not meditate on it day and night. But O the benefits and delights of knowing communion with God hour by hour in his Word. If you have ever wondered, What is hour-by-hour walking in fellowship with the living God? the answer is: it is his speaking to you by his Word through your memory and meditation and illumination and application and your speaking to him words of thanks and praise and admiration and desire and seeking for help and guidance and understanding. The Word is the basis for your hearing him and for his hearing you. The depth and solidity and certainty of your walk with God and your communion with God will rise and fall with whether God’s own written Word is the warp and woof of the fabric of your fellowship… So I urge you to memorize Scripture, and meditate on it day and night. It will change your life in many good ways. (Meditate on the Word of the Lord Day and Night)

In A Godward Life (Book 2) John Piper emphasizes the important relation between the Word and our faith or trust in God (in His Word, in His promises, etc.)…

Faith feeds on the Word of God. Without a steady diet it gets weaker and weaker. If you are dissatisfied with your Christian courage and joy and purity of heart, check the way you are feeding your faith.

Compare the way you eat. Suppose that you start the day with a glass of orange juice. It’s good, and good for you. It takes you maybe five minutes to drink it if you read the newspaper at the same time. Then you go off to work or school. You don’t eat anything else until the next morning. And you have another glass of juice. And so you go on drinking one glass of juice a day until you drop.

That’s the way a lot of Christians try to survive as believers. They feed their faith with five minutes of food in the morning, or evening, and then don’t eat again until twenty-four hours later. Some even skip one or two mornings and don’t give their faith anything to eat for days.

Now the effect of starving your faith is that faith starves. Not hard to understand. And when faith is starving, it is getting weaker and not able to do much. It has a hard time trusting God and worshiping and rejoicing and resisting sin. It gasps and stumbles.

Henry Blackaby gives a somewhat more “mystical” definition of meditation writing that…

Meditation means “to think deeply and continuously about something.” For a Christian, this means remaining in the presence of God and pondering each truth He reveals about Himself until it becomes real and personal in your life. This takes time. (Experiencing God Day by Day)

The Man Is Ever Blessed
By: Isaac Watts
The man is ever blessed
Who shuns the sinners’ ways,
Among their counsels never stands,
Nor takes the scorners’ place.

But makes the Law of God
His study and delight
Amid the labors of the day
And watches of the night.

He like a tree shall thrive,
With waters near the root;
Fresh as the leaf his name shall live,
His works are heavenly fruit.

Not so the wicked race,
They no such blessings find;
Their hopes shall flee like empty chaff
Before the driving wind.

How will they bear to stand
Before the judgment seat
Where all the saints at Christ’s right hand
In full assembly meet?

He knows and he approves
The way the righteous go;
But sinners and their works shall meet
A dreadful overthrow.

Wiersbe reminds us that “God desires to bless us, but we must meet His conditions for receiving blessings. By staying separate from the world and keeping saturated in the Word, we may expect God’s blessings. Resolve to meditate on the Word of God and obey it. He will make you a blessing to others. (see Matthew 5:3note)

C H Spurgeon in his inimitable pithy style pictures meditation this way…

Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord; not crawl ever its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models , and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the LORD.

I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like reading the Bible itself. He had studied… [the Bible] till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and, though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim’s Progress – that sweetest of all prose poems – without continually making us feel and say,

“Why, this man is a living Bible! Prick him anywhere; his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God.”

I commend his example to you, beloved, and, still more, the example of our Lord Jesus. If the Spirit of God be in you, He will make you love the Word of God; and, if any of you imagine that the Spirit of God will lead you to dispense with the Bible, you are under the influence of another spirit which is not the Spirit of God at all. I trust that the Holy Spirit will endear to you every page of this Divine Record, so that you will feed upon it yourselves, and afterwards speak it out to others. So the Jews began less and less to be like Ezra 7:10 (see note) and to delight less and less in the pure milk of the law of the LORD, so they grew less familiar with Who God really is and what He really requires of men. (Ed: And fewer and fewer experienced the blessing of the good hand of the LORD upon them.)

by Isaac Watts
(play hymn)

O how I love Thy holy law!
’Tis daily my delight;
And thence my meditations draw
Divine advice by night.

My waking eyes prevent the day
To meditate Thy Word;
My soul with longing melts away
To hear Thy Gospel, Lord.

How doth Thy Word my heart engage!
How well employ my tongue!
And in my tiresome pilgrimage,
Yields me a heav’nly song.

Am I a stranger or at home,
’Tis my perpetual feast;
Not honey dropping from the comb
So much allures the taste.

No treasures so enrich the mind;
Nor shall Thy Word be sold
For loads of silver well refined,
Nor heaps of choicest gold.

When nature sinks, and spirits droop,
Thy promises of grace
Are pillars to support my hope,
And there I write Thy praise.


Ill. The successful believer is genuinely and completely in love with the Word of God.)

A. The Word Has Captured His Full Affection – Delight = Pleasure! The Word of God isn’t a Book of fables, myths and legends. To the child of God it is the very Word of Truth. it is God-breathed and infallible, inerrant and absolutely perfect. He loves it and he lives it, finding in its pages all he needs to grow and prosper for Jesus.

Ill. The value of the Word:

1. It is Food – Job 23:12Matt. 4:4

a. Milk for the baby – 1 Pet. 2:2 (Ill. It gives the baby Christian everything he needs to grow up strong and healthy!) (Ill. It needs to be prepared and served right however!)

b. Meat for the growing – Heb. 5:12-14 (Ill. It provides all we need to make us strong in the Lord!)

c. Bread for everyone – John 6:51 (Ill. Bread is the staple food of the world! No matter where you go, people need the Bread of life!)

d. Honey for those in need – Psa. 19:10 (Ill. nothing has the power to encourage as does a Word from God!)

2. It is Light – Ps. 119:105

3. It is Truth – John 17:17

4. It is a Mirror – James 1:23-25

5. It is Water – Eph. 5:25-27

a. It Cleanses – Eph. 5:26

b. It Quenches – John 4:13-14

c. It Refreshes – Ps. 119:150

6. It is a Seed – 1 Pet. 1:23

7. It is a Sword – Heb. 4:12Eph. 6:17

8. It is a Hammer – Jer. 23:29

a. It can Build Up – Pro. 16:24

b. It can Tear Down – Rev. 2:1619:1521

9. It is a Fire – Jer. 20:9Luke 24:32

Ill. The successful believer is in love with the Bible. He knows that in its pages, he can find all that his soul requires. It embodies the complete revelation of God to men. It meets the need of the Christian life.

Do you love it as you should?

B. It Has Captured His Full Attention – Not only does the successful believer love the Book, but he lives out the Book daily. The Bible is internalized and it becomes the singular standard for faith and practice. Every thought, every move, every decision is made against the backdrop of God’s Word, and what it has to say about an issue. However, before life can ever be lived in this fashion, the Bible must be consumed and made a vital part of who you are – 2 Tim. 2:15. (Ill. The Psalmist declares that the successful believer spends his days and his nights in the pursuit of the Book. Does the Bible fill your thoughts? Do you find yourself consumed with its content and mesmerized in the meditation of it? The Bible is never better than when it is read and then lived out!) (Sermons and Outlines)

Psalm 1:3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of waterWhich yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever * he does, he prospers. (NASB: Lockman)

English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): And he shall be as a tree planted by the brooks of waters, which shall yield its fruit in its season, and its leaf shall not fall off; and whatsoever he shall do shall be prospered.

Amplified: And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]. (Amplified Bible – Lockman)

KJV: And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

NET: He is like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts. (NET Bible)

NJB: Such a one is like a tree planted near streams; it bears fruit in season and its leaves never wither, and every project succeeds. (NJB)

Young’s Literal: And he hath been as a tree, Planted by rivulets of water, That giveth its fruit in its season, And its leaf doth not wither, And all that he doth he causeth to prosper.



He will be – As Joseph Alexander observes “the present and the future insensibly run into each other, so as to to suggest the idea of continuous or permanent condition.” (Psalm 1 Commentary) In other words, blessed not only in this life but the life to come! Is this not a desire of your heart dear child of the Living God? Indeed, it is the blessed man or woman who gives irrefutable testimony to the invisible God, their supernatural lives virtually “shouting” that there is a God in heaven Who desires to save, but Who in His justice will be forced to judge all who fail to receive the free gift of eternal life through faith in His Son, Christ Jesus.

Play this beautiful song…then, enabled by the Holy Spirit, put the blessed truth of Psalm 1 into practice…you will never regret it beloved!

  • Planted By the Waters

    Note: In this song the words “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD…” are from the parallel passage in Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” (HALLELUJAH!)

F B Meyer – The rewards of the blessed man – He shall be under Divine culture, planted (Ps 92:13); within reach of perennial supplies, planted by rivers (John 7:3738,39); prepared against any demand or emergency – fruit in season; unfading beauty and freshness, a spiritual evergreen; and prosperity even in this world, because his life is ordered by discretion and obedience to Divine principles. Joseph realized this picture (Ge 39:34)

Like a tree – “A lively emblem of vitality and fruitfulness.” (J. Alexander) The psalmist introduces a simile, a term of comparison, which functions much like a window which God’s Spirit opens in order to give us added insight into the meaning of a particular passage of Scripture. Remember that these “windows” are not to be abused by a fanciful, even “sanctified” imagination, but must always be interpreted in light of the context. The danger of figures of speech is for us to “run wild” with speculative interpretations, forgetting that all figures of speech are meant to convey literal truth.

A W Pink – This figure is found in numerous passages, for there are many resemblances between a tree and a saint. He is not a “reed” moved about by every wind which blows, nor a creeper, trailing along the ground. A tree is upright, and grows heavenward. This tree is “planted”—many are not—but grow wild. A “planted” tree is under the care and cultivation of its owner. Thus, this metaphor assures us that those who delight in God’s Law are owned by God, cared for and pruned by Him! (The Blessed Man)

Guy King – A tree must have water, and it is fascinating to see how some kinds – the alder, for instance – If planted away from it, will instinctively push out their roots in the direction of the water, however far off, seeming, with their tendrils, to be feeling for it, till they find it. (TO MY SON An Expositional Study of II Timothy by Guy King)

David Caldwell expounds on “The tree similitude”…A beautiful illustration of the perpetual verdure and fruitfulness of the piety deriving its origin and sustenance from the Word of God. It is compared to a tree whose roots are refreshed by never-failing streams of living water, and whose every part is instinct with the life flowing from its roots. It is the same with the piety nourished by the Word of God. As the sap of the tree imparts life not only to its roots, and trunk, and larger branches, but also to the remotest twig and leaf, and to the very down upon the leaf, so the truly godly man’s piety pervades his whole life, imparting its spirit and character and beauty to everything he does he is not a religious man in one or two departments of life, but he is a religious man everywhere. His religion is a mental habit–a habit of thought, of feeling, of purpose, of action, of which he never for a moment divests himself. He aims that not so much as a leaf on his tree of righteous living shall show signs of decay. The same spirit that actuates him in the largest, actuates him also in the least transaction of his life. His religion is not a thing that is put on (cp James 1:27note),–it is the man himself–the man in the man. Consequently the storm that bows mock trees of righteousness to the earth, leaves him still standing; the drought that dries up their streams of life, leaves his life still full, fresh, and flowing. Vigor, verdure, and fruitfulness are his evermore. His source of strength can never fail. It is the river of life flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, reaching his soul through the law of the LORD, wherein is his delight and unceasing meditation. (Biblical Illustrator – – scroll down page)

Frank S. Rowland – A tree sermon to children

Six characteristics of trees.

1. Contentment. I never heard of a tree complaining. They are perfectly contented with their lot. Did you ever hear of a maple wishing it were an oak? They have not so much to make them contented as we have. The Christ-Spirit in us will make us happy and contented.

2. Health. How many of you have seen an unhealthy tree? The perfect boy or girl is the one who, like the tree, is healthy. We should attend to these bodies of ours. We should be careful to eat and drink those things which will give us sound bodies. We need to keep our minds, bodies, and souls healthy.

3. Roots. A great part of a tree is underground. Two reasons for this–to hold the tree in its place, and to nourish the tree. A perfect man, a perfect woman, boy, or girl is one who is well-rooted. Among the roots which hold us stable and keep us from falling are–

(1) Good habits formed early in life;

(2) good companions;

(3) good books.

4. Importance. Trees are used in building, furniture, ships, and as medicine. Their fruit is important. The perfect man is important to society, to home, to national life. What should we do without the ideal man and woman?

5. Symmetry. The word means “perfectly balanced in all its parts.” Some trees have perfect proportions. There are men who have only attended to physical development; others only to intellectual development. The symmetrical man is one who has attended to the development of the mind, body, and spirit.

6. Trial. A mighty oak is perfect, because it has been tried. Tempests have swept over it, but still it stands. The perfect man, woman, boy, or girl is the one who, when tempted and tried, comes off the victor. Tried, weighed, and not found wanting, Tried and found to be sound. (Biblical Illustrator – scroll down page)

All God’s children should…

be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, (Why?) that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3).

Of Time And Trees -People who don’t want to wait 4 decades for a globe Norway maple to grow in their front yard can buy a 30-foot specimen from a New York nursery for $42,000. A 50-foot European beech is a “bargain” for only $20,000. In spite of the prices, the country’s leading nurseries report soaring sales of mature trees.

As one customer put it: “I can’t wait for a banana to ripen. I only buy them bright yellow. There’s no patience for watching a tree grow.”

We humans are always in a hurry, looking for shortcuts to skirt the process and grasp the product. And sometimes we expect instant maturity in our Christian walk and growth in faith. What a contrast to the enormous leisure of God in His dealings with us!

The psalmist affirmed God’s promise that the person who delights in His Word will “be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season” (Ps. 1:2-3). A growing Christian, whether a new believer or a seasoned saint, is like a healthy tree—planted, nourished, and fruitful.

If our roots are in God’s Word and our hearts are drawing sustenance from Him, we will flourish. And growth toward maturity brings joy to the God of patience.

Our fruitfulness and growth in Christ
Won’t happen instantly,
But meditating on God’s Word
Will bring maturity.

It takes a moment to be saved.
It takes a lifetime to grow in godliness.

Spiritual Trees – Godly men and women are compared in Scripture to sturdy, healthy trees, planted by the rivers of water, laden with fruit, and full of leaves (Ps. 1:3104:16). In order for us to be fruitful trees, we must:

1. Stand straight for God. Lives that reveal Christlike character are lovely to behold, for they are not gnarled by sin or rotted by hypocrisy.

2. Be strong. Those who are well-rooted in God’s Word will be unmovable in times of trial and temptation.

3. Keep growing. As healthy trees add a new ring of growth each year, we too should constantly grow in grace (2 Pet. 3:18).

4. Bring blessing to others. Some trees provide food, others give shade, and others are made into lumber. So too, Christians should provide spiritual food and comfort to their neighbors, as well as use their time and talents to build people up in the Lord.

5. Be ready to be transplanted when God so wills. Christians are not here to stay; they are waiting to be transplanted in the garden of heaven where their fruit will never wither and their leaf will never fade.

How good a tree are you? Is there any fruit, any beauty, any growth worth talking about? Or are you wilted and unproductive? Get growing! —Henry G. Bosch (ODB Editor 1956-1981)

The just are nourished like a tree
Set by the riverside;
Their leaf is green, their fruit is sure,
And thus their works abide.

When growth stops, decay begins.

Planted (08362) (shathal/satal) is a verb which means to plant or to transplant. The idea is to plant and cultivate a seed or seedling in the ground so it may grow. Almost all the uses are figurative, speaking of the godly man or of Israel

The Septuagint (Lxx) uses phuteuo which means literally to plant (Mt 21:33) or figuratively to introduce the Gospel others (1Cor 3:6).

The picture in Psalm 1 is of the godly man being transplanted, which is a fitting image of the New Testament truth of the born-again person. We were dead in our trespasses and sins in IN ADAM and when we were born again by the sanctifying work of the Spirit we were transferred from (“transplanted” if you will from) the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light and placed IN CHRIST, rooted and grounded in Him.

Shathal – 11v – Ps 1:3Ps 92:13Jer 17:8Ezek 17:810222319:1013Hos 9:13 Usage: plant(2), planted(8).

Psalms 92:13 Planted in the house of the LORD, They will flourish in the courts of our God.

Joni Eareckson Tada – The branches of growing trees not only reach higher, but their roots grow deeper. It’s impossible for a strong tree to have high branches without having deep roots. It would become top-heavy and topple over in the wind… The same is true with Christians. It’s impossible for us to grow in the Lord without entwining our roots around His Word and deepening our life in His commands.” (Diamonds in the Dust)

Joseph Alexander – He is not, however, like a tree growing wild, but like a tree planted, in the most favorable situation, on or over, i.e., overhanging, streams of water. The original words properly denote canals or channels, as customary means of artificial irrigation. hence the single tree is said to overhang more than one, because surrounded by them. The image presented is that of a highly cultivated spot, and implies security and care, such as could not be enjoyed in the most luxuriant wilderness or forest. (Psalm 1 Commentary)

Planted speaks of stability in the storms of life. Ray Pritchard elaborates on this picture asking…

How do you know when a tree has good roots? Answer: When the storms come. All the trees look pretty much alike when the sun is shining or a gentle rain is falling, but let a mighty storm with fierce rain and howling winds pass through. Then the true difference is apparent. The trees with few roots are blown over, but the trees with deep roots are still standing when the storm has passed. So it is for the child of God. You won’t know how good your root system is until the storms of life crash against you. Only then will you discover the strength of your spiritual foundation. The only way to be ready for the storm is to spend time now delighting in God’s Word day by day, meditating on its truth, and building a foundation deep and strong for whatever may come your way.

Parallel Isaiah 61:3b and note how or by whom he is planted and why?

So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

The older I get the more I like God’s picture of believers as “trees” Psalm 92 testifying that…

PSALM 92:12-14
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the LORD,
They will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green.

Streams of water – The Septuagint translates the phrase by streams of water with the Greek phrase “para tas diexodous ton hudaton“.

The Greek lexicon BDAG explains that the specific phrase tas diexodous ton hudaton means…

the point where a stream of water flowing underground suddenly breaks through and flows out freely, a spring

The point is that this is not a stagnant pool but a flowing stream, making the image even more vivid in a land where flowing spring fed streams were sparse. How blessed is this man!

Adam Clarke

By the rivers of water – פלגי מים palgey mayim, the streams or divisions of the waters. Alluding to the custom of irrigation in the eastern countries, where streams are conducted from a canal or river to different parts of the ground, and turned off or on at pleasure; the person having no more to do than by his foot to turn a sod from the side of one stream, to cause it to share its waters with the other parts to which he wishes to direct his course.

Albert Barnes agrees, adding that streams …

does not here quite express the sense of the original. The Hebrew word פלג peleg, from פלג pâlag, to cleave, to split, to divide), properly means divisions; and then, channels, canals, trenches, branching-cuts, brooks. The allusion is to the Oriental method of irrigating their lands by making artificial rivulets to convey the water from a larger stream, or from a lake. In this way, the water was distributed in all directions. The whole land of Egypt was anciently sluiced (channeled) in this manner, and it was in this way that its extraordinary fertility was secured. An illustration of the passage may be derived from the account by Maundrell of the method of watering the gardens and orchards in the vicinity of Damascus. “The gardens are thick set with fruit trees of all kinds, kept fresh and verdant by the waters of the Barady … This river, as soon as it issues out of the cleft of the mountain before mentioned, into the plain, is immediately divided into three streams, of which the middlemost and largest runs directly to Damascus, and is distributed to all the cisterns and fountains of the city. The other two, which I take to be the work of art, are drawn round, the one to the right, and the other to the left, on the borders of the gardens, into which they are let out, as they pass, by little rivulets, and so dispersed over all the vast wood, insomuch that there is not a garden but has a fine, quick stream running through it.” Trav., p. 122… The image is that of a tree abundantly watered, and that was flourishing.

Steven Cole explains that…

The psalmist describes the person who delights in God’s Word as a tree planted by streams of water. This is a tree that has been deliberately cultivated, surrounded by these canals or streams so that its roots have a continual supply of water. It is solid and able to withstand drought or storms. It is fruitful and has continual evidence of life and vitality–its leaves do not wither. He sums it up by applying it: “In whatever he does, he prospers.” There’s a truly happy person: the person God blesses with His prosperity, no matter what circumstances of life he finds himself in.

God is not promising financial prosperity here, but rather, soul-prosperity. The so-called “health and wealth” teaching being promoted by some TV preachers, which claims that God promises financial prosperity, is false. God’s servants may be poor in this world’s goods and afflicted by many trials. But they are rich toward God (Luke 12:21), which is true prosperity. (Ibid)

Wiersbe writes…

A tree is a blessing. It holds soil, provides shade and produces fruit. The godly are like trees, with root systems that go deep into the spiritual resources of God’s grace (v. 3). But sadly, many professing Christians are not like trees but are like artificial plants or cut flowers with no roots. They may be beautiful for a while, but soon they die.

A tree needs light, water and roots to live. We all have resources upon which we draw life. The question we need to ask ourselves is, Where are our roots? The person God can bless is planted by the rivers of water. We must be careful not to be like Christians who are dry and withered and depend upon their own resources. They are like tumbleweeds, blown about by any wind of doctrine.

To have the blessings of verse 3, we need to meet the conditions of verses 1 and 2. That is, we must first be separated from the world and saturated with the Word to be situated by the waters.

God desires to bless us, but we need to meet certain conditions to receive His blessings. We bear fruit only when we have roots, and we must draw upon spiritual resources to bring forth fruit in due season. To bear the fruit of the Spirit, we must allow the Spirit to work in us and through us.

In contrast to the believer, the ungodly are not like trees but are like chaff. They have no roots, produce no fruit and are blown about. The ungodly reject the Word of God and will perish without hope Ps 1:6). As Christians we must not reject the ungodly but try to reach them. God blesses us so that we might be a blessing to others. His Spirit helps us bear fruit that can help win the lost.

Are you like a tree or like chaff?

We need God’s resources to bear fruit. But where we place our roots is paramount. Only as we grow them deeply into the spiritual resources of God’s grace will we produce fruit. Make the Bible your spiritual resource. Delight in it and feed your soul with its truth. God can use you to help win the lost.

In Jeremiah 17 we have a passage that closely parallels Psalm 1…

5 Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD.

6 “For (term of explanation = should always beg at least one question “What is being explained?”) he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant.

7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust (or hope) is the LORD.

8 “For (term of explanation = should always beg at least one question “What is being explained?”) he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

Wiersbe – The most important thing about a tree is the root system. If the roots do not go down deep, the tree will not grow in a healthy manner. If we are rooted in the things of the Lord, then our words will be the fruit of our fellowship with Him. We will be like that “blessed man” in Psalm 1 and produce fruit in due season. One reason our Lord was able to say the right words at the right times was because He communed with His Father and heard from heaven each day. Listen to His testimony (Mark 1:35). (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary – Old Testament. Victor)

Deep Roots

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season. —Psalm 1:3

Today’s Scripture:Psalm 1:1-6

In my orchard are two pear trees. Last summer was extremely dry, yet one of the trees was unaffected and remained green and yielded luscious pears. The other tree did not do so well. Its leaves turned yellow, the fruit shriveled, and the leaves and the fruit both dropped to the ground. The tree seemed to be dead.

Then came the rains, and the ground was soaked with moisture. The tree that seemed to be dead sprang to life again. Soon it was covered with leaves, and (believe it or not) in the latter part of August it burst into full bloom. Little pears came into view, but then came the frost and no fruit matured.

One tree thrived and produced delicious fruit in season. What made the difference? Its roots had grown deep, where they found plenty of water. The other had shallow roots and depended on the uncertain rains. The one was like the tree David described, “planted by the rivers of water” (Ps. 1:3). The other, with belated bloom, bore no fruit.

Which kind of a tree are you? Do your roots go deep into the underground streams of the Word of God, or is your devotional life shallow and only occasional? Dig deep, friend, deep into the Book, and your life will produce abundant spiritual fruit. By M.R. DeHaan

The just are nourished like a tree
Set by the riverside;
Their leaf is green, their fruit is sure,
And thus their works abide.

Deep Roots

Read: Psalm 1:1-6

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. —Psalm 1:3

Some friends of mine planted two trees of the same kind and age. The first was set in level ground in the middle of the yard, where its roots went deep into the ground to soak up water. The second was planted at the bottom of a steep bank. When it rained, the water rushed past it to the street.

Both trees appeared to thrive. Then a strong windstorm came. The tree in the middle of the lawn stood firm, while the other one toppled over. Why? The root systems were different. The tree in the lawn had deep roots, while the other one had shallow roots. At the base of the bank, the water always passed swiftly over the top of the soil, so those roots stayed shallow. That tree, therefore, could not withstand the force of the wind.

We need to let our roots grow deep, anchoring us firmly in the Word of God. We must not settle for the rushing surface waters of emotion and experience. They have their place in the Christian life, but we need to take the time to learn the deeper, strengthening truths of the Bible and the deeper realities of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:9-13). Then, when the pressures of life increase or the strong winds of temptation blow, we won’t be toppled. Our deep roots will enable us to withstand adversity. By David C. Egner 

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

When you’re rooted in truth, you can withstand the winds of trial.

Bearing Good Fruit

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season. Psalm 1:3

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 1:1–3

The view from my airplane window was striking: a narrow ribbon of ripening wheat fields and orchards wending between two barren mountains. Running through the valley was a river—life-giving water, without which there would be no fruit.

Just as a bountiful harvest depends on a source of clean water, the quality of the “fruit” in my life—my words, actions, and attitude—depends on my spiritual nourishment. The psalmist describes this in Psalm 1: The person “whose delight is in the law of the Lord . . . is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season” (vv. 1–3). And Paul writes in Galatians 5 that those who walk in step with the Spirit are marked by “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (vv. 22–23).

Sometimes my perspective on my circumstances turns sour, or my actions and words become persistently unkind. There is no good fruit, and I realize I haven’t spent time being quiet before the words of my God. But when the rhythm of my days is rooted in reliance on Him, I bear good fruit. Patience and gentleness characterize my interactions with others; it’s easier to choose gratitude over complaint.

The God who has revealed Himself to us is our source of strength, wisdom, joy, understanding, and peace (Ps. 119:2898111144165). As we steep our souls in the words that point us to Him, the work of God’s Spirit will be evident in our lives. By Peter Chin

Like A Tree

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. —Psalm 1:3

Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 4:11-16

In the quietness of my final years I plan to watch a tree grow—a birch tree I planted as a tiny sapling over 30 years ago. It stands now in mature splendor, just outside our picture window—beautiful in every season of the year.

So it is with our spiritual endeavors: We may have planted, watered, and fussed over our “saplings” (those we’ve mentored) for a time, but only God can make a “tree.”

Occasionally I hear from those I ministered to years ago, and discover to my delight that they have grown to maturity and have been greatly used of God—with no help from me. It’s a gentle reminder that I plant and water for a while, and help others “grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Eph. 4:15). But only God “gives the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6-7).

German theologian Helmut Thielicke writes, “The man who doesn’t know how to let go, who is a stranger to quiet, confident joy in Him who carries out His purposes without us (or also through us or in spite of us), in Him who makes the trees grow . . . that man will become nothing but a miserable creature in his old age.”

So, at my age, I may yet tend a sapling or two, but mostly I will let go and watch them grow. By David H. Roper

A Prayer: Lord, I want to be used by You in others’ lives. Teach me from Your Word so that I can help others follow You. And enable me to let go and trust You to work in them. Amen.


Since I am in the “autumn” of my life, the words of Psalm 92 regarding fruitfulness are a continual source of motivation and encouragement to me as they should be to all God’s “aging” saints…

The righteous man (or woman) will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age. They shall be full of sap and very green, to declare that the LORD is upright. He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. (Psalm 92:12-15note)

Spurgeon has a wonderful exposition on this psalm writing: The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, whose growth may not be so rapid, but whose endurance for centuries is in fine contrast with the transitory verdure of the meadow. When we see a noble palm standing erect, sending all its strength upward in one bold column, and growing amid the dearth and drought of the desert, we have a fine picture of the godly man (Ed: and woman), who in his (her) uprightness aims alone at the glory of God; and, independent of outward circumstances, is made by divine grace to live and thrive where all things else perish. The text tells us not only what the righteous is, but what he shall be; come what may, the good man (woman) shall flourish, and flourish after the noblest manner. He (she) shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. This is another noble and long lived tree. “As the days of a tree are the days of my people”, saith the Lord. On the summit of the mountain, unsheltered from the blast, the cedar waves its mighty branches in perpetual verdure, and so the truly godly man (woman) under all adversities retains the joy of his (her) soul, and continues to make progress in the divine life. Grass (see Ps 92:7note), which makes hay for oxen, is a good enough emblem of the unregenerate; but cedars, which build the temple of the Lord, are none too excellent to set forth the heirs of heaven.

Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. In the courtyards of Oriental houses trees were planted, and being thoroughly screened, they would be likely to bring forth their fruit to perfection in trying seasons; even so, those who by grace are brought into communion with the Lord, shall be likened to trees planted in the Lord’s house, and shall find it good to their souls. No heart has so much joy as that which abides in the Lord Jesus.

Fellowship with the Stem
begets fertility in the branches

If a man (woman) abide in Christ He brings forth much fruit. Those professors who are rooted to the world do not flourish; those who send forth their roots into the marshes of frivolous pleasure cannot be in a vigorous condition; but those who dwell in habitual fellowship with God shall become men (women) of full growth, rich in grace, happy in experience, mighty in influence, honored and honorable. Much depends upon the soil in which a tree is planted; everything, in our case, depends upon our abiding in the Lord Jesus (Jn 8:3132Jn 15:71Jn 2:142Jn 1:1,2), and deriving all our supplies from Him (Jn 15:5). If we ever really grow in the courts of the Lord’s house we must be planted there, for no tree grows in God’s garden self sown; once planted of the Lord, we shall never be rooted up, but in His courts we shall take root downward, and bring forth fruit upward to His glory for ever.

They shall still bring forth fruit in old age. Nature decays but grace thrives (cp 2Cor 4:16note). Fruit, as far as nature is concerned, belongs to days of vigor; but in the garden of grace, when plants are weak in themselves, they become strong in the Lord, and abound in fruit acceptable with God. Happy they who can sing this Sabbath Psalm (Ps 92:1), enjoying the rest which breathes through every verse of it; no fear as to the future can distress them, for their evil days, when the strong man fails, are the subject of a gracious promise, and therefore they await them with quiet expectancy. Aged believers possess a ripe experience, and by their mellow tempers and sweet testimonies they feed many. Even if bedridden, they bear the fruit of patience; if poor and obscure, their lowly and contented spirit becomes the admiration of those who know how to appreciate modest worth. Grace does not leave the saint when the keepers of the house do tremble; the promise is still sure though the eyes can no longer read it; the bread of heaven is fed upon when the grinders (teeth) fail; and the voice of the Spirit in the soul is still melodious (Eph 5:19note) when the daughters of music are brought low. Blessed be the Lord for this! Because even to hoar (to those whose hair is gray, white with age) hairs He is the I AM, who made His people, He therefore bears and carries them (cp Ps 68:19note).

They shall be fat and flourishing. They do not drag out a wretched, starveling (lean) existence, but are like trees full of sap, which bear luxuriant foliage. God does not pinch His poor servants, and diminish their consolations when their infirmities grow upon them; rather does He see to it that they shall renew their strength (Isa 40:31note), for their mouths shall be satisfied with His own good things. Such an one as Paul the aged would not ask our pity, but invite our sympathetic gratitude; however feeble his outward man may be, his inner man is so renewed day by day that we may well envy his perennial peace. (cp 2Cor 4:16note)

This mercy to the aged proves the faithfulness of their God, and leads them to show that the Lord is upright, by their cheerful testimony to His ceaseless goodness. We do not serve a Master Who will run back from His promise. Whoever else may defraud us, He never will. Every aged Christian is a letter of commendation to the immutable fidelity of Jehovah.

He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Here is the psalmist’s own seal and sign manual; still was he building upon his God, and still was the Lord a firm foundation for his trust. For shelter, for defense, for indwelling, for foundation, God is our Rock; hitherto He has been to us all that He said He would be, and we may be doubly sure that He will abide the same even unto the end. He has tried us, but He has never allowed us to be tempted above what we are able to bear: He has delayed our reward, but He has never been unrighteous to forget our work of faith and labour of love (1Th 1:3note). He is a Friend without fault, a Helper without fail (Heb 13:5-6note). Whatever He may do with us, He is always in the right; His dispensations have no flaw in them, no, not the most minute. He is true and righteous altogether, and so we weave the end of the psalm with its beginning, and make a coronet (crown) of it, for the head of our Beloved.

It is a good thing to sing praises unto the Lord, for “He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

Yields its fruit in season – The blessed man who abides in the Word (cp John 15:5 with John 1:1Col 3:16note cp Jn 8:3132), the “Seed” (Mt 13:23Lk 8:15, cp 1Pe 1:23note), can expect to bear fruit. The more we converse with the word of God the better prepared we are for every good work (2Ti 3:1617note). Note the recurring biblical principle: First the root, then fruit. First hearing and doing of the Word (James 1:22noteJames 1:25note) and then the bearing of fruit. The sad truth is that many Christians are more concerned about the “leaves” and neglect the root, the most important part! Unless we spend time daily in the Word, intentionally setting aside time to allow the Spirit to feed us (1Cor 2:10-161Jn 2:2027), we will wither spiritually and bear little if any fruit. We may have spiritual life, but we will not experience it abundantly (Jn 10:10b, cp Mk 4:8202Pe 1:8note2Pe 1:1011note). Note that the promise is not just for “reading” the Word, but for meditating on the Word, taking time to “chew before you swallow” so to speak, so that you might digest the spiritual truth that you have read. While I applaud “through the Bible in a year” reading programs, the danger, if you will, is that one can become so focused on keeping up with the reading schedule that they do not take the time to meditate on what they are reading. One verse meditated upon is far better than one chapter hastily read.

THOUGHT: If you are reading too fast, one of best ways to slow down and facilitate meditation on the Scripture is to read the Bible inductively taking time to carefully observe the text, establishing the context, taking time to note the terms of contrastterms of conclusionterms of explanationexpressions of timeterms of comparison such as similes and metaphors, and interrogating each of these “finds” with the 5W/H’S. The discipline of reading inductively takes an some time to learn, but the benefits of your investment will be last forever and ever!

Season (eth) is the appointed time, the proper time, the right time and is translated in the Lxx with kairos which describes a specific period of time that lasts for a season. In other words, kairos refers to a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for or a strategic point in time — the “opportune time.” Kairos is occasionally translated opportunity in the NAS. (See related word eukaira translated “good opportunity” in Mt 26:16Lk 22:6) The English word opportunity has a fascinating origin. Hundreds of years ago when living by the sea was critically important to everyday business and industry, the word opportunity was first coined. Time-tables for everything from commerce to transportation depended on the rise and fall of tides. The specific time when the water was deep enough to sail out to sea was known as ob portu, the time when time and tide converged. As believers, our lives are filled with God given opportunities, those moments for example when an urgent need converges with your ability to help meet that need. If you have the eyes to recognize that opportunity (eg, you have been “marinating” your mind with God’s Word and you spiritual senses are on “high alert”), you can seize the moment and redeem the time, the opportunity, (Eph 5:16note) for the glory of God, joining Him where He is at work. As we learn to recognize and choose to join God when He presents us with an ob portu moment, we begin to enter into the fullness of the blessed, blessed (“blessed” in Ps 1:1 is plural!) life the psalmist is describing!

See Related Study – Redeem the Time

Shakespeare alluded to the idea of ob portu when he wrote the classic lines…

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
(Julius Caesar, 4.3.217)

Pritchard – To speak of “fruit in its season” means that the tree produces fruit that expresses its true inner character. How do you spot an orange tree? By the oranges it produces. And how do you spot an apple tree? Look for the apples. Whatever is on the inside must eventually be seen on the outside. Applied to the spiritual life, this means that when our roots are deep in the Word, we will be given whatever we need, whenever we need it. If we need love, from the Word of God will come the strength to produce the fruit of love. If we need a forgiving spirit, from the Word of God will come the strength to forgive. If we need courage, we will produce the fruit of courage. If we need patience and perseverance, the Word of God will produce it in us. This sort of supernatural life is available to every believer, but it will only be fully realized over time as we continue to walk with the Lord and to delight in his Word. (see also study of the fruit of the Spirit – see notes Galatians 5:1617181920212223242526 — see notes Galatians 5:1617181920212223242526)

David Dickson (1834) – The man that makes the word of God his delight, shall be made fruitful in every good work, as opportunity is offered to him

A W Pink writes that the psalmist’s description of a fruitful Christian…

is an essential character of a gracious man, for there are no fruitless branches in the true Vine (Jn 15:5). “In season,” for all fruits do not appear in the same month, neither are all the graces of the Spirit produced simultaneously.

  • Times of trial—call for faith.
  • Times of suffering—call for patience.
  • Times of disappointment—call for meekness.
  • Times of danger—call for courage.
  • Times of blessings—call for thanksgiving.
  • Times of prosperity—call for joy.

John Piper explains that if you separate from sin and saturate your mind with Scripture …

You will be a fruitful person. O for more fruitful people! You know them. They are refreshing and nourishing to be around. You go away from them fed. You go away strengthened. You go away with your taste for spiritual things awakened. Their mouth is a fountain of life. Their words are healing and convicting and encouraging and deepening and enlightening. Being around them is like a meal. This is the effect of delighting in the Word of God and meditating on it day and night. You will yield fruit in season. (Psalm 1 Meditate on the Word of the Lord Day and Night)


Leaf does not whither – The life of a Scripture saturated follower of Christ is a vibrant, living testimony, for his good (God) works give clear evidence of the reality of the profession of his lips. As MacDonald says the meditating man’s “spiritual life is not subject to cyclical changes but is characterized by continuous inner renewal.”

Jesus commanded all of us as His disciples as lights of the world, not to hide our light under a basket but to be fruit bearers who are like a city set on a hill…

Let your light shine (aorist imperative = Do this now even with a sense of urgency) before men (Not under a basket) in such a way that they may see your good works (being careful not to draw attention to yourself), and glorify (doxazo = give a proper opinion of) your Father Who is in heaven (In short our invisible Spirit enabled, supernatural works give clear, irrefutable testimony of the invisible God we worship and serve! For the power to do good works see Acts 1:8note). (Mt 5:16note)

Paul issues a parallel charge to Christ’s “light bearers” commanding us to…

Do (present imperative = Make this the habit of your life all the days of your life) all (Greek = no exceptions!) things without grumbling (goggusmos) or disputing (dialogismos) (Be careful! This is not possible naturally but only supernaturally! In other words, although it is “impossible“, it is “Him-possible”! Study and “surrender” to Phil 2:13NLTnote and then obey the command in Phil 2:12bnote!); that (expresses purpose of obeying the preceding command) you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, (Phil 2:1415note)

Pink comments “Where there is no fruit to God’s glory—our profession is a mockery.”

Regarding the phrase one whose leaf does not whither John Piper says…

The point here is that the hot winds are blowing and the rain is not falling and all the other trees that are not planted by streams are withering and dying, but in spite of all the heat and drought, your leaf remains green, because delighting in the Word of God and meditating on it day and night is like being planted by a stream. The happiness of this person is durable. It is deep. It does not depend on which way the wind is blowing or whether the rain is falling. It gets its life from an absolutely changeless source: God in his Word.

David Dickson (1834) on “his leaf also shall not wither”…

This man shall be enabled to bear out a holy profession of his faith in, and obedience to God, in adversity, as well as in prosperity

Pritchard – The phrase pictures a leafy tree that seems like an evergreen because its leaves are in season all year round. People like this are constantly refreshed by the Word of God, constantly renewed, constantly drawing on new strength for new situations. They are never boring, never dull, never living off yesterday’s blessings, but living each day in the strength of the Lord whose mercies are new every morning.

Habakkuk describes such a person…

Though the fig tree do not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17-18see commentary)

F B Meyer

…his leaf also shall not wither –

“If a man abide not in Me,” said our Lord, “he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered.”

The same thought is here. Thrust down your rootlets to the oozy river bed, and there is no doubt about your continuing earnest, patient, God-filled. The sun of temptation may strike you with sword-like beams, but you will have a source of supply which they cannot exhaust. The secret of an unwithering beauty is in the Word of God, delighted in and meditated upon day and night. And what is the Word of God, but the life of God. translated into human speech?

Wean yourself from all beside, and learn to feed on God. Withdraw your rootlets from men and things, and let them travel to the river of God, which is full of water. Close other doors, and open those that. lead out on to the terrace, whence you may behold the far-spread landscape of what He is, and says, and is willing to be to us all.

Note that word meditate (Meditate). The root must lie in contact with the stream, and the soul must steep itself in the Word of God. We must give the truth time to enter and pervade our souls. We must have retreats, shut away from the rush of life, up and down the glades of which we may tread. These retreats are oftener found within the soul than without. Just as in the temple of old, there was Solomon’s porch, where Jesus walked, so in the temple within there are closes and cloisters, where we may commune with our heart, and be still.

Prospers (06743)(tsalach/salah – see word study) means to accomplish satisfactorily what is intended = generally expresses idea of a successful venture, as contrasted with failure. The source of true success is God’s Spirit Who enables supernatural spiritual prosperity. Don’t twist this promise to apply only to material prosperity, for that is far less valuable than spiritual prosperity. God may choose to prosper us materially, but not at the expense of our spiritual prosperity!

The Septuagint translates tsalach with the verb kateuodoo which means to “have free course or passage, prosper.” (BDAG)

William MacDonald astutely (and I think accurately) observes that…

This kind of man shall prosper in everything he undertakes. The reason, of course, is that he is living in fellowship with the Lord, and all his service is therefore guided by the Holy Spirit. The only way to be efficient and successful in the Christian life is to be led by the Spirit of God. Self-directed activity is an enormous waste of time, money, and effort! (EdNote striking contrast – Spirit led versus Self directed – Beloved, which describes your works/ministry?)

Piper says the phrase “he prospers” describes “a life whose “labor is not in vain” (1Corinthians 15:58note), but succeeds in God’s good purposes into eternity.”

Pink adds that…

This (prosperity) necessarily follows, though it is not always apparent to the eye of sense. Not even a cup of water given in the name of Christ, shall fail to receive its reward—if not here, certainly in the hereafter (Mt 10:42Mark 9:41).

David Dickson (1834) – Whatsoever duty or service to God this man goes about, shall not want the assistance of God, nor success, nor acceptance at His hands – whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Albert Barnes – This (“all he does he prospers”) is a literal statement of what had just been put in a figurative or poetic form (“be like a tree… “). It contains a general truth, or contains an affirmation as to the natural and proper effect of religion (Ed: relationship with God through faith in Christ), or of a life of piety, and is similar to that which occurs in 1Ti 4:8note — “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”


Pritchard adds that…

They prosper in the sense that no matter what happens, they find strength for the day and hope in the midst of the hardest difficulties. They bring forth godly fruit in good times and bad times. Why? Because they are planted deep in the good soil and their roots reach out to the water of the Word of God. Finding constant nourishment therein, they can face whatever life throws at them.

The thought here is similar to Romans 8:37 (note) where in the midst of struggles, sorrow, persecution, famine, distress, nakedness and the sword, those who know Jesus are “more than conquerors” through His divine power. And that triumphant deliverance comes to us in large part through the Word of God.

In this world we may face disappointment, sorrow, rejection, failure, sickness, abandonment, and discouragement. We may hear things about our children we prayed to God never to hear, our dearest friends may desert us, our spouse may leave us, and we may face an unremitting series of earthly tragedies. Illness, physical weakness, and death itself may visit our door time and again.

Even then, we prosper, we thrive, we survive, we are not destroyed. Sometimes when I ask friends going through hard times how they are doing, the answer comes back, “I’m surviving.” Years ago I foolishly thought that was a wimpy response. Now I see that it is a powerful statement of faith. Sometimes surviving is the same as thriving. Some days to survive is to prosper. That, too, is a kind of prosperity for the people of God. (Psalm 1: Trees Planted by the Water) (Bolding added)


Ill. The promises of this verse are conditional. When we live separated lives and feed our souls on God’s Word, then we can expect these things to happen for us.)

A. His Position – By the River! Always close to the life giving resources. (Ill. This was meaningful to Israel with her mostly arid conditions.) The tree planted by the river is never dry and wilted, but is green, lush and lovely. (Ill. The believer who lives close to God will never be dry and wilted either. He will be vibrant, lively and productive.) (Ill. Many never know the joy of drawing off Christ daily! As a result, they are spiritually wilted and dead looking.) The droughts of life and the dry seasons never seem to affect the believer who is planted near the river. He is connected to an unfailing source of life and strength.

B. His Prominence – Ill. A tree. The life of the successful believerstands heads above all those around him. It is easily seen when a man draws from the Lord. (Ill. Men will know when you have been with Jesus – Acts. 4:13)

C. His Permanence – Planted – Unlike some plants, which live for a season and die out, this tree, has sunk its root deep and has a hidden source of life. (Ill. The value of private prayer and Bible Study.) (Ill. Planted – literally “transplanted.” A tree cannot transplant itself, neither can a man transplant himself into the Kingdom of God. It is wholly a work of God’s grace. And, He always plants us in good soil, near the water supply. However, after we are planted, it is our responsibility to draw from the resources, which God has provided.)

D. His Productivity – “Brings forth fruit” – The successful believer is a blessing to all those around him, because his fruit is plentiful. (Ill. John 7:38) (Ill. Old apple tree in the cow pasture. Man, cows, birds and insects all benefited from the fruit off this old tree.) (Ill. You may never know just who is feeding off your life!)

E. His Predictability – “In his season” This tree isn’t a freak. Just as there are seasons of fruit bearing, so there are times of rest and growth. As believers, we aren’t to worry over the fruit. That is the Father’s business! When everything else is as it should be, then the fruit will come in its season – John 15:1-5.

F. His Perpetuity – “leaf shall not fade” – The successful believer is like an evergreen. He is always surrounded by the green of life. (Ill. The trees in the wintertime. The hardwoods and leafy trees are look dead, but the evergreens stand out as islands of life in a sea of deadness. They are unaffected by winter or weather, but they are always the same.) (Ill. our lives should be lives of consistency! We are called on to be a stable, faithful and dependable people – 1 Cor. 15:58) The successful believer is consistent. The curve balls of life are unable to knock him off course. (Ill. Thank the Lord for consistent people!) (Ill. Life lived by this river in unchanging.)

G. His Prosperity – “Whatsoever he doeth, it shall prosper” – In other words, God will bless the successful believer. His personal life, his family life, his business life, his church life, his spiritual life will all be blessed of the Lord. That isn’t to say that there won’t be stormy seas, but the successful believer will be able to sail them with Jesus until they are calm once again!

Conclusion: Do you possess the characteristics of the successful believer? If so, the Bible, in verse 1, says you are “Blessed.” This means “Oh how very, very happy.” I hope you have seen yourself among the happy ones and are encouraged about you walk with Jesus tonight. You see it is possible to be successful for Christ and know it with out being self-righteous!

However, if you saw yourself lacking in some of these areas, then Jesus stands ready, willing and able to make those things right once again. Let’s take whatever steps are necessary to make our lives be the successes they can and should be. (Sermons and Outlines)

Slow Down And Live

His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. —

Psalm 1:2

Many of our New Year’s resolutions may actually accelerate our pace of life instead of helping us to slow down. In a quest for greater productivity and efficiency, we overschedule our days, then rush through meals, drive impatiently, and wonder why the joy of living eludes us.

Carol Odell, who writes a business advice column, says that slowing down can positively affect our lives at work and at home. She believes that rushing can cloud our judgment and cause us to overlook important things and valuable people. Carol encourages everyone to slow down, and even suggests the radical idea of welcoming red traffic lights and using the waiting time to meditate.

In Psalm 1, there is no hint of a frenzied pace. It describes a person who enjoys the blessing of God. Instead of thinking and acting like those who rarely consider spiritual matters, “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (v.2). The result is a fruitful life and a well-nourished soul (v.3).

Isaiah wrote, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3). Just for today, try thinking about that verse whenever you have to wait. Isn’t it time for all of us to slow down and live? By David C. McCasland

If you’re working hard to make a living,
Never taking time to smell the roses,
Now’s the time to heed the Bible’s wisdom:
Find true joy before your life’s day closes.

What Is Reality?

His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. —Psalm 1:2

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 1:1-6

The cartoon depicted a frustrated father changing a flat tire in the rain. His two children were peering out the car window. In response to their complaining, he said, “Don’t you understand? This is life. This is what’s happening. We can’t switch to another channel!”

Television and reality—does the former distort the latter? After 10 years of research, media analyst Kenneth Curtis measured TV’s impact on society. He concluded that the omnipresent, flickering screen constantly tries to tell us what behavior and attitudes are desirable. He described the effect of TV as a subtle process that has become a significant force in defining reality.

If this is true, we had better be careful about what we watch. The networks are not committed to portraying Christian values. Many things that are presented as acceptable are in fact dangerous. Furthermore, watching TV makes us passive observers rather than active participants in solving life’s problems. The violence, sex, and materialism on TV can make us insensitive to our calling as Christians to be salt and light in a sinful world.

Only as we meditate on God’s Word (Psalm 1:2) can we have the right perspective. To avoid a distorted view of life, we must allow God’s truth to define reality. By Mart DeHaan

Our thoughts are shaped by what we see, 
And thoughts affect our soul;
So if we’d profit from TV,
We must be in control.

Who Is Most Important?

His delight is in the law of the Lord . . . . He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. —Psalm 1:2-3

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 1:1-6

During an operation, an experienced surgeon asked a young intern, “Who is the most important person in this operating room?”

The intern searched for an appropriate answer. He didn’t believe that his mentor was asking for personal compliments, so trying to sound gracious he replied, “I suppose that it would be these nurses who assist you in such an efficient manner.”

The surgeon shook his head and said, “No, the most important individual in this room is the patient.”

It’s possible to overlook the obvious in studying the Bible too. It’s easy to forget how important you are in the process. Whether or not you find profit depends on your attitude.

What is the right attitude to bring to Bible study? First, approach the Bible with a sense of your own need, not simply to teach it to someone else. Second, approach the Bible with humility. Don’t try to make the Bible say what you would like it to say, but study to discover what God has said.

German theologian Johann Bengel (1687-1752) said, “Be like a maker of a well who brings no water to his source but allows the water he finds there to flow freely without stoppage, diversion, or defilement.” Those who do that will grow like trees “planted by the rivers” (Psalm 1:3).  By Haddon W. Robinson

Afraid to see what’s in God’s Book?
It’s meant for you, don’t fail to look.
The words and thoughts contained therein
Will bring God’s peace and cleanse from sin. 

Fiber Man

Read: Psalm 1

In His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. —Psalm 1:2-3

Dr. Denis Burkitt achieved fame for discovering the cause and cure of a disease named after him— Burkitt’s lymphoma. He also received widespread acclaim for demonstrating the benefits of a fiber-rich diet, which earned him the amusing nickname “Fiber Man.”

What many people don’t know, however, is that Dr. Burkitt was not merely a great medical pioneer; he was a dedicated servant of God who daily spent much time in prayer and meditation on God’s Word. He observed, “I am convinced that a downgrading in priority of . . . prayer and biblical meditation is a major cause of weakness in many Christian communities. . . . Bible study demands pondering deeply on a short passage, like a cow chewing her cud. It is better to read a little and ponder a lot than to read a lot and ponder a little.”

Dr. Burkitt didn’t leave just a great legacy of healing; he left an example of personal holiness and closeness with the Lord. The secret was his lifelong habit of setting aside a specific time for prayer and reflection on God’s Word.

Few of us will ever enjoy accomplishments like his, but by following the prescription of Psalm 1 we can attain the same spiritual health that he did.

In the stillness of the morning,
Before a busy day of care,
How sweet to be alone with God
Through His holy Word and prayer! —Anderson

God speaks to those who take the time to listen.

By Haddon W. Robinson

Application Questions

  • Have you discovered the secret of blessed? Do you really desire to be blessed? Do you understand that although blessed is a supernatural condition, you as a believer still have a responsibility — there are certain negative behaviors that will impede the flow of God’s blessing (Ps 1:11Pe 2:1).
  • Who are you getting your primary counsel from? If you are not delighting in the God’s Word, is it because you are “stuck” in verse 1?
  • How is your spiritual state? One way to judge your spiritual state by asking… What is the Word of God to me? What place has does the Word have in my life?’
  • A W Pink asks “How far, dear reader, do you and I resemble this “blessed man”? Let us again press the order of these three verses. Just so far as we fall into the sins of verse 1—will our delight in God’s Law be dulled. And just so far as we are not in subjection to His will—shall we be fruitless. But a complete separation from the world, and wholehearted occupation with the Lord—will issue in fruit to His praise!” And all God’s children cry “Amen! Let it be so Lord!”

About goodnessofgod2010

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