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Psalm 1:5-6 - For the Lord knows the way of the righteous...

Nahum O'Brien on February 28, 2018

 

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.

 

This brings us to the conclusion of the passage. The psalmist concludes contrasting the two destinies of wicked and the righteous, where they will find themselves on the day of judgment. “Therefore,” says the psalmist, “the wicked will not stand in the judgment.” Because the wicked has walked in the counsel of the wicked, stood in the way of sinners, sat in the seat of scoffers, delighted not in the law of the Lord, having not been planted, cultivated, and sustained by the LORD, because they are worthless chaff…the wicked will not stand in the judgment. The language reflects that of verse 1. These wicked ones who stood in the way of sinners will not stand in the judgment. Plumer notes, “To stand is to maintain one’s cause, to hold one’s own.” In the last day, that terrible day of judgment, the wicked will have no confidence, no comfort, no support. Nor will sinners be counted among the righteous. Spurgeon states, “Sooner could a fish live upon a tree than the wicked in paradise.” 

In contrast, we may rightly say that the righteous will stand in judgment. The righteous will obviously be counted among the congregation of the righteous. Why? “For the LORD knows the way of the righteous.” Knowing here does not simply mean an awareness or knowledge of. For the Lord knows all things; He is aware of the way of the wicked and righteous alike. Rather, as Hengstenberg notes, “To know is to approve, to love, and to deal mercifully with.” Thus, the psalmist is saying the Lord approves of the way of the righteous. Again the language reflects back to verse 1. The way of the righteous is approved of the Lord. Thus, the Lord will deal mercifully with them. However, the way of sinners (verse 1) and the way of the wicked (verse 6), the Lord does not approve of. And because the Lord does not approve of, love, or deal mercifully with the way of the wicked, the wicked shall perish. As Isaiah 27:11 prophesied - He who made them will not have compassion on them; he who formed them will show them no favor.