World War I memorial

Editor’s note: The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of The News Courier and its staff. We welcome editorial submissions from area church leaders. Those who would like to submit a column, story or photo should email submissions to adam@athensnews-courier.com. Submissions should be kept to no more than 500 words and not be considered inflammatory to the faith and/or values of others. We reserve the right to edit submissions for space and content.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalms 1:1, 2, NKJV)

The word translated “blessed” describes the godly man in contrast to the wicked person. The word itself means “to consider fortunate, to call happy” (HALOT). The truly happy man of this psalm is described in verses 1 and 2 both by what he does not do and what he does do. Also, observe the progression from “walks,” to “stands,” and lastly to “sits.

What is it that the happy (“blessed”) man does not do? First, he “walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,” that is, he is careful about whose advice he listens to and accepts. He rejects the advice of unprincipled people – those who are not governed by God and His Word (Job 21:16b - “… The counsel of the wicked is far from me.”)

Next, he does not “stand in the path of sinners….” The word rendered “path” refers to a way of life; thus, the happy man does not participate in the sinful pleasures of life. A god-fearing person does not engage in lasciviousness – shameful lewd conduct, drunkenness, revelry, drinking parties and similar activities that violate God’s Word (1 Peter 4:1-5).

Next, the blessed man does not “sit in the seat of the scornful.” Reference is to those who ridicule and express contempt for God and virtuous behavior (2 Peter 3:3).

The blessed man will neither be in their company nor supportive of their irreverence. In contrast, the truly happy person’s “delight is in the law of the Lord.” Here is a person who loves God and His Word. Not only does he take pleasure in God’s law, but also he gives it serious consideration. He “meditates day and night” on God’s law – Divine instructions.

The term translated “meditates” portrays the happy man pondering over God’s law, thinking about it – reflecting on it. He is a person who desires to understand the truth and to apply it to himself appropriately. Surely, this is what we, too, should do (Philippians 4:8).

Furthermore, the blessed man is so very happy because his life upon this earth is devoted to being productive and prosperous (spiritually) in God’s sight.

Verses 4-6 relate to the eternal misery of the ungodly man in comparison to the bliss of the righteous (the “blessed man”). The ungodly man is like the “chaff,” – the worthless husks of grain that the wind blows away during the threshing process. The “ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (v. 5). The ungodly will be judged by God, but he will be separated from the righteous and stand condemned before God’s judgment Throne.

Friends, strive daily to walk in the way of the godly so that you, too, will stand in “the” congregation of the righteous” (v. 5) before our Heavenly Father’s Throne, and thus be happy ever more.

— Ridinger in the preacher at Coxey church of Christ. He can be reached at ridinger50@bellsouth.net.

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