UNGODLY Verse six presents a key to understanding this Psalm: For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. In this Psalm, the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly are contrasted.
- The way of the righteous.
- (Psa 1:1) What the righteous man does not do.
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;
- Blessed is the man: Blessed translates the Hebrew word "esher," which has the idea of happiness or contentment. Esher comes from the Hebrew word ashar, which in its root means "to be straight" or "to be right." Blessed is the man speaks of the happiness, the blessedness, the contentment in the life of the man or woman who is right or "straight" with God. The righteous man will be a blessed man, a happy man.
- "Blessed means supremely happy or fulfilled. In fact, in Hebrew the word is actually a plural, which denotes either a multiplicity or blessings or an intensification of them." (Boice)
- "It is not 'Blessed is the king, blessed is the scholar, blessed is the rich,' but, 'Blessed is the man.' This blessedness is as attainable by the poor, the forgotten and the obscure, as by those whose names figure in history, and are trumpeted by fame." (Spurgeon)
- Walks not … nor stands … nor sits: The blessed man does not do certain things. There is a way he will not walk, a path he will not stand in, and a seat he will not sit in.
- We can say these speak of thinking, behaving, and belonging. The righteous man and the ungodly man are different in how they think, how they behave, and to whom they belong.
- Others have also seen in this a progression of sin. "The great lesson to be learned from the whole is, sin is progressive; one evil propensity or act leads to another. He who acts by bad counsel may soon do evil deeds; and he who abandons himself to evil doings may end his life in total apostasy from God." (Clarke)
- Walks not in the counsel of the ungodly: The ungodly have counsel, and the righteous man will not walk in it. With all the advice that comes to us, from so many different sources, the righteous man knows how to stay away from the counsel of the ungodly.
- First, it means the righteous man knows how to discern the counsel of the ungodly. Many fail at this point. They do not even consider if counsel is godly or ungodly. They hear advice, or theories about their problems, and they find themselves agreeing or disagreeing without considering, "Is this godly or ungodly counsel."
The righteous man is also discerning enough to know the counsel of the ungodly can come from one's own self. Our own conscience, our own mind, our own heart, can give us ungodly counsel.
iii. The righteous man knows where to find completely godly counsel: Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. (Psalm 119:24) God's Word is always the best counselor, and godly counselors will always bring the truth of God's Word to help someone who wants counseling.
- Nor stands in the path of sinners: Sinners have a path where they stand, and the righteous man knows he does not belong on that path. Path speaks of a way, a road, a direction, and the righteous man is not traveling in the same direction as sinners.
- The righteous man is not afraid to take a less-traveled road, because he knows it leads to blessing, happiness, and eternal life. Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. (Matthew 7:13)
- The righteous can have the confidence of Psalm 16:11: You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. God has a path, and it is a good road to take.
- Nor sits in the seat of the scornful: The scornful love to sit and criticize the people of God and the things of God. The righteous man will not sit in that seat!
- When others are putting down Christians, it is easy to sit with them and criticize them. It is easy because there are many things to criticize among Christians. But it is wrong, because we are then sitting in the seat of the scornful.
- Instead, we should be proud to follow Jesus Christ. "Be out-and-out for him; unfurl your colours, never hide them, but nail them to the mast, and say to all who ridicule the saints, 'If you have any ill words for the followers of Christ, pour them out upon me … but know this - ye shall hear it whether you like it or not, - "I love Christ.