Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but rather his delight is in the instruction of the Lord,
and on his instruction he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Whether you are being confirmed today, or are being recognized as a graduate and moving on to new things, or just living in a changing, uncertain world, this is a good text for you.
The first Psalm gives a true picture of what it is to be blessed. The picture is of certainty and security, of being firmly planted by streams of water, of receiving everything that is needed. The picture is one of always bearing fruit, always prospering.
The Lord knows the way of the blessed.
A beautiful picture. A picture that everyone would like to be descriptive of themselves.
But as you start to look little deeper and really think about the truth of this Psalm, you begin to realize… Uh oh.
The blessed person does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. Where do you walk? The blessed man does not stand in the way of sinners. Where do you stand? The blessed man does not sit in the seat of scoffers. Where do you sit?
Then comes the worst news, ‘his delight is in the instruction of the Lord, and on His instruction he meditates day and night.’ Everything breaks down. That doesn’t describe you. It doesn’t describe me.
We hear about this tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in its season, un-withering leaves. We hear that this blessed man does what he is supposed to—he bears fruit. Everything that man does prospers.
That sounds so wonderful. You and I say, “I wish I were that man. I wish this Psalm was more descriptive of me. I wish the blessed truths of this Psalm were true of me.”
Then you see the descriptions of the wicked in this Psalm. Those are true as well. Those are descriptive of you; they are descriptive of me.
There are only two types of people—blessed and wicked. Everyone who is not blessed is wicked. The wicked wither. The wicked are chaff. The wicked are driven away by the wind. The wicked will not stand in the judgment. The wicked will not stand in the congregation of the righteous. The way of the wicked perishes.
True and descriptive…
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were even a middle ground? Too bad there is none…
Everyone wants that blessed description to be true of themselves. Everyone wants to have that delight, that nourishment, that fruitfulness, that prosperous existence. But sinners should never expect that. Sinners should expect judgment.
We can maybe think of individuals who appear to be like the firmly planted tree. But if we could look inside, or if everyone would be honest, we would find out no one would dare say, “Here is a description of me and my life.” Why do we even have this Psalm? It does not describe any individual, except One.
This Psalm describes Jesus. Hear this description of Jesus: Blessed is Jesus. Jesus does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers. Jesus Christ’s delight is in the instruction of the Word of God—He is the Word of God. He meditates on the Word of God day and night. Jesus is like that tree, firmly planted by streams of water, always yielding fruit, always prospering.
But the description of Jesus doesn’t end there. What happens to the wicked is also true of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Himself was like that withered chaff: it was on the cross where He said, “I thirst.” (Jn. 19:28). Jesus was like the chaff that is driven away by the wind: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mk. 15:34). Jesus was not in the congregation; He was “cut off out of the land of the living” (Is. 53:8).
Jesus suffered the results of wickedness, not because He Himself was wicked or did anything sinful. He suffered the results of wickedness because He chose to become sin for you.
Think about that tree planted by water. Christ speaks about being the One Who gives “living water” (Jn. 4:10). Jesus says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (Jn. 7:37-38).
Nourishing, living streams of water.
Sinner, wicked one, you were baptized into Christ and have put on Christ (Gal. 3:27).
As you are in Christ, this Psalm becomes descriptive of you.
Blessed are you, Christian. You don’t walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of scoffers. Your delight is in the Word of God which declares that you are clean. Day and night the Word gives you nourishment.
You are that firmly planted tree. You bear fruit. All that you do prospers. The Lord knows your way.
If this Psalm is descriptive of Christ (and it is), it is descriptive of you who have put on Christ. Despite all appearances it is true of you who have put on Christ.
When God looks at you, this is what He sees. Meditate on that day and night. Amen.