Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Exegetical Thoughts: Two Ways Contrasted.

I'm going to start a series of posts where I basically give some exegetical thoughts on certain passages from the Bible. I will also be providing my "arc" of the passage in question.

"Arcing" is a graphical exegesis tool used to discern, display, and discuss the flow of thought and argumentation in the Biblical text.

http://www.biblearc.com is a place where you can LEARN how to arc. They have a video tutorial. You can then use their site to CREATE and SAVE arcs, and SHARE those arcs with others. I think the membership is like $10 a year or whatever you can afford. I suggest doing the video tutorial online first and then reading the booklet. Once you start using this tool, you'll start to see these categories in the text as you read it.

So, posted below is my "arc" of Psalm 1, and my exegetical thoughts and thinking on this Psalm.

 1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers:
 2 But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and night.
 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That bringeth forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also doth not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
 4 The wicked are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
 5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
 6 For Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous; But the way of the wicked shall perish. (Psalm 1, American Standard Version)






The righteous and the wicked are on two completely different paths, one of life, the other of judgment. The purpose of this Psalm is to declare this to us by way of contrast.

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers:

Verse 1 starts the comparison by talking about the blessed man. He is our reference point throughout this Psalm. The "blessed man" can be found frequently throughout the Old and New Testaments.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile. - Psalms 32:1-2


O Jehovah of hosts, Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee. - Psalms 84:12

The first way of explaining who the blessed man in this Psalm is by way of a series of negative qualities in verse 1.

He doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked. We must beware of the opinions and advice of ungodly.

So I let them go after the stubbornness of their heart, That they might walk in their own counsels. - Psalms 81:12


And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you in wrath; and I also will chastise you seven times for your sins. - Leviticus 26:27-28

Hide me from the secret counsel of evil-doers, From the tumult of the workers of iniquity. - Psalms 64:2

He doesn't stand in the way of sinners. We must beware of the maner of life that sinful men lead.


Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it. - Matthew 7:13-14

He doesn't sit in the seat of scoffers. We must avoid of the intimate company and close association of those who would mock and ridicule God.

I have not sat with men of falsehood; Neither will I go in with dissemblers. I hate the assembly of evil-doers, And will not sit with the wicked.- Psalms 26:4-5

2 But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and night.

Verse 2 gives us the description of the blessed man in positive terms. He delights and meditates in God's law.

I delight to do thy will, O my God; Yea, thy law is within my heart. - Psalms 40:8


For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. - Romans 7:22

What is meant by "the law of the Lord"? The law is God's entire eternal moral code. It is summarized in the Ten Commandments and in the two Great Commandments. The law specifically says two things: "Do this, and you will live", (Leviticus 18:5); and threatens us by saying, "if you don't do it, you will surely die." (Genesis 2:17) Furthermore, this law requires complete and perfect obedience."Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Matthew 5:48

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it speaketh to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law cometh the knowledge of sin. - Romans 3:19-20

The law was given to show us our sin. It was made to show that we are all subjects of God's wrath and judgment. So why would we delight in that? It just tells us we're doomed!

Now that no man is justified by the law before God, is evident: for, The righteous shall live by faith; and the law is not of faith; but, He that doeth them shall live in them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. - Galatians 3:11-13


So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. - Galatians 3:24

The law points us to Christ, who lived a life of complete and perfect obedience to it and died in our place and stead. He became a curse for us and removed the curse of the law from us. That is a primary reason why we can delight in it. We should also delight in it because it shows us how we may lead a Godly life empowered by the Gospel.

Why should we meditate on it?


Thy word have I laid up in my heart, That I might not sin against thee. - Psalm 119:11

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. - Jeremiah 31:33

For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works. - Titus 2:11-14

Thomas Wilcocks describes the righteous ones who delight and meditate on God's law as "They that have Christ's righteousness imputed to them and endeavour righteous living in themselves."

Verses 3 and 4 illustrate the idea of verses 1 and 2 by way of an analogy.


3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That bringeth forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also doth not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

In verse 3, the blessed man is described positively to be like a tree planted by streams of water. This action, being planted by streams of water, results in a progression of increasing benefits. He brings forth fruit, his leaf doesn't wither, and everything he does prospers.

Notice: Where does it grow? By the streams of water.

Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life. - John 4:14

How did it come to be there? It was planted.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given ; because Jesus was not yet glorified. - John 7:38-39

Notice also that it yeilds fruit.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and so shall ye be my disciples.- John 15:5-8 

4 The wicked are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

In verse 4, the wicked are said to be not so, but are compared to chaff that the wind drives away. Spurgeon explains that the comparison of the wicked to chaff is meant to drive home the point that the wicked are "intrinsically worthless, dead, unserviceable, without substance, and easily carried away."

5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 


Verse 5 then contains an inference drawn from verses 1 through 4. The doom of the wicked is certain. There are two aspects here to the fate of the wicked. First, on the day of Judgment the wicked will not be accquited but condemned.

Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have ungodly wrought, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. - Jude 14-15

Secondly, the wicked will be separated from the saints.

But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels. - Matthew 25:31-34, 41 

 6 For Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous; But the way of the wicked shall perish.

Verse 6 gives more reasons for the conclusion drawn in verse 5. We have here a sweet encouragement and a dire warning.

The sweet encouragement is that God knows the righteous!

I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me. - John 10:14


My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. - John 10:27


And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ. John 17:3

Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness. - 2 Timothy 2:19

There is also a dire warning, judgment is coming.

Inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.- Acts 17:31

To finish off this meditation, here is Issac Watts version of this Psalm.

PSALM 1
by Issac Watts


The way and end of the righteous and the wicked.


Blest is the man who shuns the place

Where sinners love to meet;

Who fears to tread their wicked ways,

And hates the scoffer's seat:


But in the statutes of the Lord

Has placed his chief delight;

By day he reads or hears the word,

And meditates by night.


He, like a plant of gen'rous kind,

By living waters set,

Safe from the storms and blasting wind,

Enjoys a peaceful state.


Green as the leaf, and ever fair,

Shall his profession shine

While fruits of holiness appear

Like clusters on the vine.


Not so the impious and unjust;

What vain designs they form!

Their hopes are blown away like dust,

Or chaff before the storm.


Sinners in judgment shall not stand

Amongst the sons of grace,

When Christ, the Judge, at his right hand

Appoints his saints a place.


His eye beholds the path they tread,

His heart approves it well

But crooked ways of sinners lead

Down to the gates of hell.

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