READ PSALM ONE
Finally, we come to the summary passage in Psalm One. Summarizing the whole of the chapter, the Psalmist writes this:
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
How do these verses relate to the two illustrations we have just seen?
The wicked and righteous are in contrast to each other throughout the Word of God. Their lives are different, and their destinations are quite distinct.
Consider the following cross-references for each phrase. Consider the way they fill out our view of the contrast between the lives of the righteous and the lives of the wicked:
“Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment”:
“nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous”:
“for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
2 Timothy 2:19
In view here is not just “bad habits,” as you and I can be accustomed to think of our own sin. In view here is the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. When the Psalmist speaks of the wicked not standing in the judgment, he has in his mind’s eye the final day of judgment in which all will stand before God. And the wicked? The wicked will not be able to stand. There will be no place for the wicked before the face of God. Similarly, sinners will not stand in the congregation of the righteous. When all God’s people congregate around Him in the new Kingdom and sing “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty,” there will be no place for those whose sins have not been paid for. When God’s people gather around God’s throne, those who bear their sin will not be there.
But … the Lord knows the way of the righteous. The word used here for “knows” is יָדַע (“yaw-dah”) and it implies an intimate, personal understanding. More than just intellectual knowledge, the Lord knows the righteous personally. The Lord has walked with them in life and will carry them into new life. The Lord knows the way of those who follow His Law and seek to love His Word.
If you’re anything like me, your heart might have sunk a bit in the last few days of study. We know our sin, and we know that we do not measure up to God’s holy standard of righteousness. And, I think this can be a good reminder for you and me. We, in our own strength and power, cannot please God. We cannot fulfill the Law. And this should spur us on in two ways. First, to know and remember and embrace the good news of the Gospel – that Christ has paid for our sins and that we don’t bear them anymore. And second, to seek to please God in our daily lives – to be about the daily work of pulling sin up by its roots in our lives and pressing into God’s holiness.
Tomorrow, we are going to talk about the Gospel reflections in Psalm one, but for today, consider the second challenge above.
Are there ways God is pushing you to grow in personal holiness? Is there an area of sin that you need to pull up by its roots in your life?
Pray & Reflect:
Supplication: Confess to God all the areas in your life where you don’t measure up to His standard. Ask Him to forgive you and to change you – to make you into a person who flourishes in righteousness.
Submission: Confess to God that His standard alone is perfect, that He is right to hold us to His standard and insist that we be holy as He is holy. Ask Him to make you more like Himself and to give you a submissive spirit to yield to His Spirit’s work.