Psalm One And The Ideal Bible Reader

by David Bell October 14, 2020

In the book of Psalms, the reader finds that by mixing poetry with lyricism, the psalmist seems to have a line for everything. The first psalm is my personal favorite. This text is rich and the vivid imagery helps the reader understand the point the psalmist is making. Psalm One lays out what the ideal reader of the Bible is like through each of the six verses. This ideal Bible reader is one we can aspire to be like.

The book opens in Psalm 1:1-2 by stating that the blessed man is the one who does not walk with the wicked, stand with sinners, or sit in the place of scoffers. Here we see three actions that the psalmist exhorts the reader to avoid. First, avoid behaving based on the advice of the wicked. Second, avoid giving too much honor and respect to the journey of the sinner. Third, avoid dwelling in the habitation of the scoffer. Overall, the believer is called to avoid living as the world does and avoid the influences of those who are wicked, living in sin, or scoffers.

The blessed person instead delights in God’s law and in following God. The result is found in verse three and the psalmist states that it is like being a tree planted by streams of water. The imagery here tells of a tree that is right near its source of nourishment. For the believer, our main source of nourishment must be scripture. The person who is rejoicing and delighting in God’s way is planted right by the very nourishment that they need which means that this person will never run dry. This also means they will never have to wonder from where their satisfaction will come. Furthermore, this person yields fruit at the appointed time. Not only is this individual right by the nourishment they need, but they are also fruitful in their life.

Contrasting this person in verse four is the wicked who are described as being like chaff that the wind drives away. I think of a tumbleweed here. While the tree is immovable because of its roots, the tumbleweed floats wherever the wind takes it. Not only is the wicked person moving from place to place by the movements of the wind, they also do not share the same future as the righteous person. Verses 5-6 state that the wicked will not stand in the same place as the righteous and that the Lord knows the way of the righteous. The question that arises from the text is “Which person am I?”

Do you rejoice in God’s Word or is it a burden to you? Do you enjoy following God or is it sometimes a hindrance? Christian, we must rejoice in the Word. This is the way the sovereign God has chosen to reveal Himself to us and we must take full advantage of this medium.