Two Ways

Psalm 1

The greater part of mankind being accustomed to deride the conduct of the saints as mere simplicity, and to regard their labor as entirely thrown away, it was of importance that the righteous should be confirmed in the way of holiness, by the consideration of the miserable condition of all men without the blessing of God, and the conviction that God is favorable to none but those who zealously devote themselves to the study of divine truth. Calvin

A. The Way of the Godly Man v. 1-3

1. the negative v. 1

does not follow the counsel/advice of the wicked – does not believe like the wicked

does not closely associate with sinners – does not behave like the wicked

does not join in mocking the things of God – does not belong with the wicked

Notice how things lead to things

2. the positive v. 2

on the contrary, an emphasized contrast

delights in God’s commands

delights in obedience

It is not left to every man to frame a system of religion according to his own judgment, but the standard of godliness is to be taken from the Word of God. Calvin

“the object solicits favor by its own intrinsic qualities. The subject is easily attracted to it because it is desirable.” TWOT

intently studies and ponders on God’s instruction

“But the man who delights in God’s Word, being taught by it, bringeth forth patience in the time of suffering, faith in the day of trial, and holy joy in the hour of prosperity.” Spurgeon, Treasury of David

3. the result v. 3

the consequences of godly conduct

attractive, vigorous, cultivated (not wild), well-nourished – the picture of health, season after season


the sort of health and vigor and productivity associated with the Garden before the Fall; on a spiritual level, associated with the “living water” whose source is Christ John 4:10, 14



“he is ever taking deeper root growing stronger in the grace he has already received, increasing in heavenly desires, and under the continual influence of the Divine Spirit, forming those purposes from which much fruit to the glory and praise of God shall be produced.” Adam Clarke

B. The Way of the Wicked Man v. 4-5

1. the negative v. 4a

not like “this”

does not experience the same blessings as the godly – those “blessings” of God’s providence which he does experience are limited to this world only

2. the positive v. 4b

like chaff – “seed coverings and small pieces of stem or leaves that have been separated from the seeds”

shallow and without real substance


“the true integrity of the righteous manifests itself when it comes at length to be tried.” Calvin

3. the result v. 5

condemnation in the judgment

separation from the church, the body of Christ

C. Their Respective Ends

1. reward v. 6a

approves and prospers the way of the righteous – knows it intimately in an ongoing way

this does not mean a life free of trials and hardships

Our worst things are often our best things. As there is a curse wrapped up in the wicked man’s mercies, so there is a blessing concealed in the righteous man’s crosses, losses, and sorrows. The trials of the saint are a divine husbandry, by which he grows and brings forth abundant fruit. The righteous man ploughs the furrows of earth, and sows a harvest there, which shall never be fully reaped till he enters the enjoyments of eternity. Spurgeon

2. ruin v. 6b

disapproves of and brings the way of the ungodly to nothing

D. The Perfect Keeper

1. Many biblical figures to serve as examples

Moses, David, Paul (after conversion)

2. Only One perfect example


Can we help thinking on Him as alone realizing the description in this Psalm? The members of his mystical Body, in their measure, aim at this holy walk; but it is only in him that they see it perfectly exemplified. Andrew Bonar, Christ and His Church in the Psalms

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost

We who are his members seek to realize all this in our measure. We seek that everything in us should be to the glory of God — heart, words, actions — all that may adorn the gospel, as well as all that is directly holy. Having the imputed righteousness of this Saviour, we earnestly long to have his holiness imparted too ; though conscious that He alone comes up to the picture drawn here so beautifully. Bonar


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