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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Writings

Psalms 1

Verses 1-6

PSALM 1

The godly man in the midst of an ungodly world, waiting for the government of God to deal with the wicked, and bring the righteous into blessing.

The moral character of the man who will inherit earthly blessing through the government of God.

The psalm sets forth principles that are true of those who fear God at any period during the rejection of Christ. Nevertheless, in its strict interpretation, the psalm has in view the godly Jewish remnant who find themselves in the midst of a nation in public revolt against God and His Anointed. It sets forth the moral traits of this godly remnant, and the governmental dealings of God, by which the wicked will be judged, and the godly established in blessing upon the earth. This moral character was seen in all its perfection in Christ Himself, who identified Himself with the godly remnant of the Jews. Thus, while the psalm does not refer to Christ personally, it presents Christ morally.

(v. 1) The ungodly are viewed as in the ascendant. They have their counsels; their way of carrying out their plans; and they sit at ease in the place of power, scornful of the authority of God. In such circumstances we have depicted the outer life, the inner life, and the prosperity of the godly man. His outer life is marked by complete separation from the world around. He has no part in its counsels, its ways, or its godless ease.

(v. 2) His separation, however, is not merely outward and formal; it is accompanied by an inner life of devotedness to God. His delight is in the law of the Lord; and the Word that he delights in becomes the subject of his meditation day and night.

(v. 3) Further, his life is one of dependence upon the unfailing sources of supply in God like a tree drawing its sustenance from the rivers of water. Moreover, this separation from evil, devotedness to God, and dependence upon God, leads to a fruitful life. It develops a beautiful character that is fruit in the sight of God. Further, before man, his profession of godliness, set forth by the “leaf,” is not marred, or withered, by any inconsistencies. Finally, he is blessed in all that he does.

(vv. 4-5) It is far otherwise with the ungodly. They may appear to be established in the place of authority, sitting at their ease. Nevertheless, in the government of God they will be driven away like the chaff before the wind. For the present the wicked may prosper, and the godly suffer, and thus the government of God may appear to have failed. This manifests the important principles that, for the full display of God's holy government, whether in blessing the godly, or dealing with the wicked, we must await God's intervention in judgment in the day to come. Then it will be seen that the ungodly will not stand in the judgment; whereas the godly will be established and come into display, and blessing, in the congregation of the righteous.

(v. 6) In the meantime the godly soul has the comfort of the secret approbation of the Lord. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, and that which the Lord approves will abide - all other will perish.

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 1". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-1.html. 1832.