1. Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
The original implies that the ones who walk the right path are far fewer than the others. We should always settle this in our minds that true Christianity and the Gospel Message will always be a minority report. Jesus reinforces the truth in Matthew 7:14:
For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Notice the progression. Walk, stand, sit. Sitting in this culture often implied teaching. The sitting scorner has not only arrived at a bad place. he is instructing others in the same way.
Notice also that there is a minority of those who walk on the right path. There are many who seem to be walking on the right path, who have outward marks of true faith yet, as time wears on, their true inclination shows itself. This happens many different ways. Some lose even the outward profession when the superficial incentives are removed. A parent dies, a spouse leaves or dies, the person moves somewhere where restraining ties are all far away.
There is much practical encouragement in these verses. We need to always consider not so much our actions but the inclinations of our hearts. David understood that God wants truth in the inward parts, Psalm 51:6.
There is a specific prophetical application here as well, as well as a general one. The second Psalm and Acts 4 — gives us a prophetical application on certain scornful sitters – the Sanhedrin *meaning the ones sitting together. Acts tells us that Psalm 2 was fulfilled in their vain opposition against the LORD and His Anointed.
23When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
26The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’
27for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
These are the ones that have made themselves quite at home in the seat of the scornful – ἐπὶ καθέδραν λοιμῶν. The word “seat” – “kathedra” is where we get the word “cathedral” (But that would be a different topic)
More to the point here, it also the basis of the New Testament term “Sanhedrin”. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia tells us that “the Sanhedrin was abolished after the destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD)” They did not stand in the judgment, just as Psalm 1.5 foretold.
2. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
Reading between the lines we can infer the real reason why the blessed person stays on the right path. He is guided and guarded by the law of the LORD. Now for us today this does not mean the Old Testament but the entirety of Gods Word enlightened to us by the Holy Spirit. An overlooked truth for Christians is that the Bible, through our careful reading and dwelling on it, is the means by which God imparts His grace to us. This is why Paul always tags his epistles with Grace to you. When others were deserting Christ, John 6, Peter said “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
The word Law here should not trip us up. What this passage meant to David and those of the Old Covenant is different than what it means to us. The newer, clearer instruction for us from Paul, Col. 3:16:
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
The Old Covenant Law – apart from New Covenant illumination – is not what we meditate upon. The Law brings us knowledge of our sin. The Gospel, by His grace, gives us knowledge of Christ’s saving righteousness.
3. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
This verse ties into the trees and the healing of the nations. It has both a personal and a prophetical application. But this will have to wait until next time.