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Shall we turn to the Psalms, beginning tonight with the first psalm.
The Psalms are actually divided into five books. It was really the hymnbook for the nation of Israel. They were sung in their original forms. In the Psalms there is really much prophecy, because we are told by Peter that David was a prophet and that he spake by the Holy Spirit. And much of what he spake was prophecy in regards to the coming Messiah, and did have its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. There are many psalms that are known as Messianic psalms. That is, psalms that refer directly to Jesus Christ. We'll get one of those tonight as we get into the second psalm. Each of the five books of the psalms end with a doxology. The first of the books is from Psalms 1:1-6; Psalms 2:1-12; Psalms 3:1-8; Psalms 4:1-8; Psalms 5:1-12; Psalms 6:1-10; Psalms 7:1-17; Psalms 8:1-9; Psalms 9:1-20; Psalms 10:1-18; Psalms 11:1-7; Psalms 12:1-8; Psalms 13:1-6; Psalms 14:1-7; Psalms 15:1-5; Psalms 16:1-11; Psalms 17:1-15; Psalms 18:1-50; Psalms 19:1-14; Psalms 20:1-9; Psalms 21:1-13; Psalms 22:1-31; Psalms 23:1-6; Psalms 24:1-10; Psalms 25:1-22; Psalms 26:1-12; Psalms 27:1-14; Psalms 28:1-9; Psalms 29:1-11; Psalms 30:1-12; Psalms 31:1-24; Psalms 32:1-11; Psalms 33:1-22; Psalms 34:1-22; Psalms 35:1-28; Psalms 36:1-12; Psalms 37:1-40; Psalms 38:1-22; Psalms 39:1-13; Psalms 40:1-17; Psalms 41:1-13, the second is 42-72, the third is 73-89, the fourth is 90-106, and the fifth book of the psalms is from 107-150. The majority of them were written by David. Asaph was an author of some of them. Moses wrote some of them, but they were the songs of the children of Israel.
They speak of human nature. Man's cry after God; man seeking to relate to God. And they cover all of the gamut of man's feelings. They are poetry, but as we have pointed out, poetry to the Hebrew was not rhyming words or sentences, nor was it a rhythm, but it was a rhyming of ideas or a contrasting of ideas. Many of the psalms are known as acrostic psalms. We'll point them out to you as we get to them. That is, that each verse begins with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. We have several acrostic psalms. With the Psalms 119:1-176 probably is the best example of an acrostic psalm, however, you find that about eight verses begin, each verse within the eight begins with the letter of the Hebrew alphabet successively, so that the first seven or eight verses begin with aleph, the next begin with beyth, and then daleth, and giymel and so forth. So you go through the Hebrew alphabet with 119 Psalm and it, of course, is the longest chapter in the Bible.
The first psalm deals with the godly man and the ungodly man. There is a contrast. And the contrast is probably best expressed by the first and the last words of the psalm. Concerning the godly: blessed. Concerning the ungodly: perished.
Blessed is the man ( Psalms 1:1 ),
The word blessed in the Hebrew has as a meaning, "oh how happy" is the man. First of all, we see this happy man in a negative context. That is,
he is walking not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standing in the way of sinners, nor sitting in the seat of the scornful ( Psalms 1:1 ).
And there does seem to be a progression here. First a person begins quite often just walking in the counsel of the ungodly. The next thing he finds he is standing around in the congregation of the sinners. And finally, he is settled down and is seated in the seat of the scornful. That is the negative side. The blessed man doesn't do this, but contrariwise,
His delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate both day and night ( Psalms 1:2 ).
So from a negative standpoint, the happy man is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, but from a positive standpoint, he is being directed by the counsel of God. He is meditating in the law of the Lord day and night. Now the effect or the results of this:
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
So we see, first of all, "Like a tree planted by the rivers of water," in contrast to a tree that is growing out in a barren wilderness. "Bringing forth fruit in his season." An interesting thing about unseasonable fruit, it never matures; it never becomes ripe. You may plant watermelon seeds in August when you eat your watermelons, and the vine might grow and watermelons might come on it, but it is unseasonable. It will never get ripe. It will always be green.
There are some people who never mature, that is, really bring forth mature fruit. Jesus tells us that the seed planted on various types of soil result in various developments of fruition. Some planted by the wayside, immediately is plucked up. On the stony ground, may grow for a moment, but will never bear fruit, never develop because it lacks the depth. That which is thrown among the thorns will grow, but the thorns will choke out the fruitfulness of it ultimately. The cares of this life, deceitfulness of riches the desire for other things. It is only that which falls on the good ground that brings forth good fruit. In varying degrees, thirty, sixty, one hundred fold. Now Jesus said, "Herein is my Father glorified that you bring froth much fruit." Then later on in that fifteenth chapter of John, He said, "You have not chosen Me, I have chosen you and ordained you that you should bring forth fruit. That your fruit should remain." And so as children of God we should be interested in being fruitful, bringing forth fruit. And then we should also be interested in bringing forth fruit that remains, or lasting fruit in our lives.
So often the test of a ministry is the lasting fruit that is brought forth from that ministry. "So like a tree bringing forth fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither." That is, there is a freshness to his life, a continual freshness. "And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
Now, what is this man doing? He is meditating in the law of the Lord day and night. God has given to us the rules of happiness. God has given to us the rules of prosperity. They are there in His law. "Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Moses, when he turned the reigns over to Joshua, said unto Joshua, "This book of the law shall not depart from out of thy mouth but thou shalt meditate therein day and night that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein. For then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and then thou shalt have good success" ( Joshua 1:8 ). Meditate, stay in the Word, the law of the Lord, and then thou shalt be prosperous, you'll have good success. So much the same is declared here in Psalms 1:1-6 .
Now the contrast. And here is where the Hebrew poetry comes in, in contrasting ideas.
The ungodly are not so: but they are like the chaff which the wind driveth away ( Psalms 1:4 ).
Now, this is contrasted to the tree planted by the rivers of water bringing forth fruit in his season, but the ungodly is like chaff, which the wind driveth away.
Now when they threshed their grain... of course, when you gather in your barley or your wheat, it has the hull on it. And so they would pick it up in their hands, and they would get in a place where there is a good stiff breeze. They would rub it in their hands, and they would throw it up in the air. And the wind would take the hulls, the chaff, and blow it away, and just the grain would fall back down. And that was their form of removing the hulls from the grain after they had harvested. Just rubbing it in their hands and then throwing it up into the air and the wind. So it was a very familiar sight to the people, the fellow standing on a windy ridge rubbing his hands, throwing the grain in the air, and watching the chaff just blow away and just the grain falling back down again. So the ungodly are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish ( Psalms 1:5-6 ). "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 1". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter