Notes on Psalm 1

Some notes on Psalm 1 from my personal study. I hope you find them helpful!

1:1

walks…stands…sits – this shows an association with sinners in every aspect of life. Also, it may refer to a “downward drag” – like someone who starts off by passing by the counsel of the ungodly, then stops and stands with interest to observe their path and finally decides to sit down and be a part of them.

Also, the idea of sitting might have to do with eating together – a term of fellowship in that culture.

1:2

Meditates (ponders by talking to himself): it is normal for a Christian to joyfully (his delight) and constantly (day and night) preoccupy himself with the Word (law) of God. It’s not weird, and he’s not a religious freak for doing so.

1:3

On the contrary, this results in him being like a luscious tree, which, in the mostly desert area of the Near East (Israel), serves a fitting symbol of blessing and prosperity in the OT.

Planted lit. means transplanted – sinners don’t transfer themselves into God’s kingdom and His blessing. They are transplanted by God Himself, as salvation is a work of His grace.

Salvation is described in the Bible as the planting of a tree by God:

Think of Is. 61:3 –

To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

And Mat. 15:13 – But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.”

The tree brings forth its fruit in its season: What a great promise! There is no delay in fruitfulness – nor any prematurity. Can’t help but associate this verse with the Christian’s ministry:

that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God – Col. 1:10

The tree is healthy, well-rooted, unmovable, and steady. The picture is of a man/woman who stands firmly under God’s blessing.

1:4-6

In contrast, the ungodly are like chaff: A frequent OT picture from harvest time. Chaff is worthless, and tossed about by the wind (cf. Eph. 4:14 – that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting).

Chaff is to be discarded, and this reflects God’s Day of Judgment, when those who ignored His law will perish (verse 6). Notice the contrast with verse 1: Just like the righteous man avoids the counsel of the ungodly (wicked) and doesn’t stand in their path, so the ungodly will not stand in God’s judgment and will not partake of the congregation (cf. counsel in verse 1) of the righteous.

A clear contrast between the only two ways of all people – righteous/unrighteous, godly/ungodly, saved/unsaved, tree/chaff. And the dividing line is the constant
study/preoccupation/meditation/learning/obedience to the law of God.

2 thoughts on “Notes on Psalm 1

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