Bible Notes Online - Psalms 1 - ESV

The wicked and the godly contrasted. The godly man does not just reject the way of the wicked, he walks in the way of godliness.

v1: The godly man is different;

  • in his principles; counsel, lifestyle, direction of life;
  • in his conduct; path/way, practical living; to stand implies a total identification, and it is this identification that the godly men rejects;
  • in his attitudes; seat, avoiding fellowship with the ungodly.

A similar distinction is made between clean and unclean animals, see Gen 7.2; 8.20; Deut 14.6-8:

  • the split hoof, ie: a separate walk, by which our lives are distinctive;
  • chewing the cud, ie: meditating on God's word, as in v2.

v2: The positive life of the godly; he delights in God's word. His life is therefore filled with the things of God. Here is strength to walk separately, and here is the key to fruitful living. He meditates day and night, for true faith is a thing of the whole life, not just particular times. The value of God's word is spoken of frequently; Deut 17; Josh 1; Ps 119; John 1.

v3: The description changes from literal to metaphorical; the man meditating on God's word, to a fruitful tree. Our spiritual mind can understand both methods of expression.

The expectation of fruitfulness, Is 5.1-7; Luke 13.6-9. On a vine, fruit comes after three years of growth, so patience is required. Fruitfulness comes as we abide in Christ, as the tree is planted by the water, John 15.2,4,5,8. We enjoy a continuing provision in Christ; there is no drought in Him.

v4-5: The ungodly are subject to God's wrath. Chaff is worthless and weightless, driven away by the wind. In the day of judgment, they are not accepted by God, they are not numbered with the righteous, for God makes a distinction between them (Gen 18.25).

v6: The Lord knows the way of the righteous, by setting out the path before hand (Eph 2.10). The way of the ungodly will perish; not just judgment in the next life, but perishing in this life (John 3.16). Thus, the difference between the godly and the ungodly is marked.