Amazingly enough, after promising to continue on Psalm 1 yesterday, I’m following through today! Grace is a real thing; I’m getting better!
Yesterday, I talked about thinking on spiritual things, starting in Psalm 1’s exhortation to meditate on the law of the Lord day and night. To me, that’s the “righteousness” part of the Psalm. I want to address the “wickedness” part. It’s fascinating to me, and it carries a warning for all of us.
I want to argue that the wickedness part of this Psalm is not written to the wicked of the world, but to the wicked of the congregation of the Lord. One, the Psalms are songs that were meant for the congregation of Israel. The Psalms were not written for Egyptians or Babylonians, but for Israelites. As the Psalmist says, you can’t sing the songs of Zion in a foreign land (137:3,4). Two, the wicked are said to be “like the chaff which the wind drives away” (Ps. 1:4, NASB). The chaff was part of the wheat at one time. And three, the Psalm says that while the Lord knows the way of the righteous, the way of the wicked will perish (v. 6). This brings to my mind the statement of the Lord in Matthew 7:23, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” These who were not known to the Lord were those who prophesied and cast out demons in Jesus’ name. They were wicked, but they were not the wicked of the world.
What’s the difference between the righteous and wicked in Psalm 1? The righteous delights in the Law of the Lord. He meditates in it day and night. So the righteous prospers and has a constant supply of the only thing that will produce righteousness: grace. The wicked, obviously, is not meditating on the Law of the Lord; otherwise, like the righteous, he would be bearing fruit.
The Psalmist adds, “The wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous” (v. 5, NASB). Two judgments are mentioned in that verse. Pray to God that you endure only one of them. According to Paul, on the day of judgment we will all stand before God to be judged for our works, “whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). Today, Christians don’t like to believe that verse. They either teach that our bad works won’t follow us to the judgment or they teach that the judgment is just for “rewards.” It is indeed for rewards, but Romans 2:5-8 makes it clear that the rewards are either eternal life or indignation and wrath. As I said, Christians today don’t like to believe that, but really, it’s enough for me that Paul believed it (Jesus did, too: Jn. 5:29).
There’s a second judgment in v. 5, though. Sinners will not stand in the assembly of the righteous. Paul spent a whole chapter instructing the Corinthians what to do with one sinner in their midst. He explains the reasons for his decision, and he ends that chapter with, “Put away from yourselves that wicked person” (1 Cor. 5:13).
This is the judgment that you should want to experience. That judgment is “that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5). With this judgment you can be restored, learning from being delivered over to satanÂ that you must flee to the refuge of Christ.
All of this, of course, can be avoided by delighting in the law of the Lord and meditating on it day and night. They that belong to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5). My point, however, in writing all of this is so that we might all be warned. Let us take to heart the admonition to love the law of the Lord, because the wicked are not so. Don’t fool yourself. That wicked one is not Hitler nor the Boston strangler. That wicked one is the one who failed to meditate on eternal things, who appears at the judgment claiming to have done many things in the name of the Lord, but who are unknown to him because they were not planted next to the rivers of living water.
The righteous meditate on the law of the Lord. The wicked are not so. Which are you?