Psalm 1 Commentary

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly nor standeth in the way of sinner, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (KJV)
There are 73 Psalms with direct ascriptions to King David in the Book of Psalms. Psalm 1 is not one of them, but it is traditionally ascribed to David. This Psalm tells of the entirely divergent ways of the righteous and the wicked. Those who delight in the law of the Lord are known by God and given eternal blessings, but the wicked follow their own path of sinning and are bound for destruction.
There are three ways the blessed man does not take. The first is walking, the second is standing, and the third is sitting. The first is ungodly, the second a sinner, and the third scornful.
The ungodly is the man who lives without any thought of God. He does not pray to God nor thank Him for his food. He is busy living and pays no attention to God.
The sinner is in defiance of the law of God. He cheats, lies, and steals. He may know of God’s law, but discards it as impractical or inapplicable to him.
The scornful man hates God and all those who are of God. He sits in his chair settled in his ways as if King of himself and mocks those who do otherwise.
But, the blessed man is like a tree planted in streams of water. These waters are the laws in the Scriptures of God which sustain him and give him life. He meditates on the Scriptures not out of obligation but of delight. It is not a mechanical meditation all day, but an awareness and knowledge of the Scriptures as the place where his answers are found. His leaf does not wither because he is a vital person in touch with a vital God! He prospers not because of his own strength but the strength of God. All that he does prospers. That is, he is effective. What he puts his hands to he accomplishes because he’s not doing it in his own strength, but in another. A hidden another, within, from whose resources he is drawing. That is the godly life. That is the secret of happiness. A man who learns to live that way is a happy person. It doesn’t make any difference what his outward circumstances are at all. Because happiness doesn’t not consist of the abundance of things in which he possesses.