Psalms 1 and 2 are presented as anonymous (though Peter asserts in Acts 4:25 that Psalm 2 was written by David). The first Psalm begins with a blessed man and the second one ends with a blessed multitude. Together, they form an introduction to the book of Psalms. Many practical lessons can be gleaned from these psalms, yet there is a moral order that points in a special way to the Lord Jesus. A devotional view of Him in His first coming shows Him to be God’s Pious Man in Psalm 1. In a dispensational study of Psalm 2 the Lord Jesus is presented, in His second coming, as God’s Proclaimed Monarch.
The happiness of the godly man: he shall prosper (1-3)
The Hebrew plural, “happinesses,” describes the degree and intensity of this man’s blessedness. See also Psalms 32:1; 41:1; 112:1; 119:1; 128:1.
His past precaution – Viewed negatively (1)
Mr. Newberry points out that these verbs (walketh, standeth, sitteth) are short Hebrew tenses, and that the “normal place for the short tense is in the past.” (See Young’s Literal Translation, the New JPS Translation)
1. He is not intimidated by their majority (singular vs plural). Be careful of the pressure of what “everybody else” does or thinks.
2. He is not incriminated in their movements (walk, stand, sit). Be careful of gradually spending increasing amounts of time socializing with unsaved people.
3. He is not identified with their maliciousness (ungodly, sinners, scorners). Be careful of disturbed souls (ungodly) that, in their deviation (sinners), actually deride (scornful) your God.
His present preoccupation – Viewed positively (2)
Verse 1 emphasizes what he has not done; verse 2 what he is doing. In a balanced life, there is no vacuum. Separation without devotion, or vice versa, leads to unbalanced Christian living.
1. His delight in the Scriptures: he reads.
Reading the Scriptures should be a longed-for, enjoyable, and satisfying experience. The writer of Psalm 119 said seven times that God’s Law was “My delight” (vv 16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 77, 174. See also Jeremiah 15:16.)
2. His digestion of the Scriptures: he ruminates. Day and night, Joshua 1:8. The art of meditation: (Psa 119:15, 23, 48, 78, 148; 1Tim 4:15).
“Meditate” is a long tense verb, and has the thought of continuance, perseverance, in something. The Lord Jesus is the perfect example (Psa 40:8).
The Word of God should be read constantly, meditated upon continually, and carried out consistently (Ezra 7:10; Rev 1:3; 22:7).
His future production – Viewed figuratively (3)
Contrast the living tree by the water with the lifeless chaff in the wind.
1. A firm tree – planted
See Jeremiah 17:7, 8 and Joseph in Genesis 49:22. Also, Ezekiel 47:12.
2. A fruitful tree – punctual
Notice, “when the time of the fruit drew near” (Matt 21:34). Is my fruit bearing on schedule? (Gal 5:22, 23; Eph 5:9; Phil 1:11; contrast 2Peter 1:8; Luke 13:6; Matt 21:19)
Joseph was about 54 years old when Jacob called him “a fruitful bough” (Gen 49:22).
3. A fresh tree – perennial
It is difficult for older believers to remain “evergreens.” As they move into the fall of life there is the danger that their leaves could begin to fade, but contrast with: Moses in Deuteronomy 34:7; Caleb, in Joshua 14:11; Zechariah and Elisabeth, in Luke 1; Anna, in Luke 2:36-38; Mnason, in Acts 21:16; John the elder, in 2 and 3 John.
4. A flourishing tree – prosperous
See Joseph, in Genesis 39:2, 3, 23. True prosperity has not to do with circumstances, but with character.
The hopelessness of ungodly men: they shall perish (4-6)
1. The example (4) – Chaff is “the dry coverings bracts of grain and other grass seeds separated by the process of threshing.”
By way of contrast: Categorically, there is a stark contrast between saved and unsaved. By way of comparison: Chaff is used of the wicked: (Job 21:18; Psa 35:5; Isa 17:13; Matt 3:17).
Notice in Isaiah 5:24, “the flame consumeth the chaff … because they have cast away the law of the Lord of Hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” Whereas the godly man delights in the law of the Lord, ungodly men despise it.
Chaff is weightless – it is blown away. Swiftly, as in the winnowing process, the unsaved are separated from the just and brought to judgment.
Chaff is worthless – it is burned apart. “They shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire” (Matt 13:41-43).
2. The exclusion (5)
No progress in the court of justice – their sentence.
Bribes, or friends in high places, are of no avail at the Great White Throne.
On earth they said: “It is who you know.” This Judge will say: “I never knew you” (Matt 7:23).
No part in the congregation of the just – their absence.
Believers, seen individually on earth (vv 1-3), now are viewed collectively in glory.
In Matthew 18:20 there are two or three; in Revelation 5:9 the redeemed are innumerable, from every kindred, tongue, people and nation.
3. The expedition (6)
The path of saints: enjoyment of communion with God
Pathway: “The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous” (Psa 1:6).
Pilgrimage: “The Lord knoweth the days of the upright” (Psa 37:18).
Possession: “The Lord knoweth them that are His” (2Tim 2:19).
Preservation: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly” (2Peter 2:9).
The path of sinners: ends with condemnation by God
Lawless – disturbed souls (“ungodly”); they hate what the saints love, God’s law (see v 2).
Lost – destroyed souls; In the New Testament, “to perish” (apollumi –Strong’s G622), as in John 3:16, or “to be destroyed,” as in Matthew 10:28, means to put out of the way entirely, to ruin, to render useless (Thayer).