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Psalm 1 - An Introduction

Nahum O'Brien on December 21, 2017

 

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;

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

And on his law he meditates day and night.

 

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.

The wicked are not so,

But are like chaff that the wind drives away.

 

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish.

 

Now, there are a few things we should note about this psalm before diving into its text. First, you will notice that the author of this psalm does not identify himself. It is an anonymous psalm. Most commentators suggest that this psalm was written by David; however, we really don’t know. Nor should it concern us. We know that the real author of the Psalms, as with the rest of Scripture, is the Holy Spirit. Chrysostom (4th Century) agrees: “How does it concern me whether David was the author of all the Psalms, or whether some of them were written by others since it is certainly known that they were all written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” We mention the anonymous authorship to simply point out that we don’t exactly know when this psalm was written. Which leads us to our next point of note, this was not the first psalm written. The 150 individual psalms that make up the Book of Psalms are not in chronological order. The point is, that when the psalms were collected and arranged, this particular psalm was intentionally placed at the beginning. Charles Spurgeon referred to Psalm 1 as the “preface psalm, having in it a notification of the contents of the entire book.” Basil (4th Century) also referred to Psalm 1 as the “preface to the psalter” saying, “What the foundation is to a house, the keel to a ship, the heart to an animal, the same is this Psalm to the whole book.” Psalm 1 was intentionally placed at the beginning to act as an introduction to the whole of the psalter. So whatever we run across in our study of the Book of Psalms, whatever the psalmist encounters and/or endures, this should be taken in light of the fact that the righteous man (just man) and he alone is truly blessed.