I posted an exposition of Psalm 1 in the spring of this year. Since that time I have gained some new readers. I thought this would be a good time to revisit this psalm. I pray that your are encouraged.
I read a bumper sticker one time that said “If you’re living like there is no God, you better be right.” Proclaiming that God is righteous and holy and will judge those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is not a popular message. As the book of Proverbs notes, most people are more than happy to proclaim their own goodness. However, regardless of how unpopular it is for us to proclaim that there is judgment for sin, the Bible is as plain and clear about that truth as it can be. People need to realize that there is a judgment day coming and that they don’t have unlimited time to get ready to face that judgment. There will be no grading on the curve. Punishment will be final and terrible. Those who reject Jesus will find that they are both helpless and hopeless before the righteous fury of a holy God.
First of all, they will find that they are helpless. We noted in the last lesson on Psalm 1 that ultimately a righteous person will prosper because he will have a home in heaven with all the saints. He will enter into the joy of fellowship with God’s people for all eternity. However, Psalm 1 verse 4 says “The wicked are not so”. There is no happy ending for them. As bad as trials may have been in their life, they are in no way prepared for the eternity that awaits them. The verse goes on to describe their helplessness. It describes them as “chaff which the wind drives away”. I am from the Gulf Coast originally. I have seen my share of hurricanes. That’s why I no longer live on the Gulf Coast. When the wind of a hurricane starts blowing, it picks up things and throws them willy-nilly. It uprooted a huge tree in the front yard of one of my aunt’s houses. That is why when people know a hurricane is coming, they tie up lawn furniture and pack up kids toys. There is no way to control where that stuff is going to go. In like manner, the ungodly will be scattered before God’s righteous judgment. They will be utterly helpless on that day.
They will also be hopeless. People who choose to reject Biblical truth and the offer of salvation from God through Jesus Christ are proud people. Basically, they are saying “I can handle this on my own” or “I will not submit to the Lord. I will not have Him as God over me.” However, verse 5 of this Psalm records that these proud, haughty people who think that they will stand up to God and show how powerful they are will in fact “not stand in the judgment”. Their defiance will eventually come to an end. They will not have the strength to face God’s judgment. He will overpower them and overcome them. He will also make a distinction between the righteous and the wicked. The wicked will be excluded and will not be found in the “congregation of the righteous”. Obviously, people who believe that everyone will make it to heaven are wrong according to this verse of Holy Scripture.
Someone reading this might ask “Why? Why is there a difference between the wicked and the righteous?” For all I know, someone reading this blog might have just stumbled on it and not know the reason for the distinction made in the judgment. Notice that verse 6 says that God “knows the way of the righteous but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” The ungodly perish because God does not “know” their way. The Hebrew word translated “know” is the word “yada” and it means to know in a relational sense. It is not the know of someone who knows that 2 times 2 equals 4. It’s the know of me knowing that spending quality time with my wife is one of the most important ways for her to know that I love her. That isn’t something I learned by reading a textbook. I came to know that because of our relationship. As Jesus said in John chapter 10, His sheep know Him and hear His voice. Because we are His sheep, He knows our way. The end for the ungodly, however, is a terrifying picture of judgment.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.