Two Men, Two Roads, Two Consequences
This Psalm has often been called the ‘gateway to the Psalms’ because it lays out for the reader the foundational truth of what is considered most important. It speaks of two men – the righteous man who follows the Lord – and the unrighteous man who seeks his own way; two roads or paths that these two men travel – the righteous man walks after the Lord – the unrighteous man walks a path of self-righteousness and rebellion, away from the Lord; and two consequences – the righteous man is made secure and prosperous – and the unrighteous man’s life ends in destruction, spiritual separation from the Lord.
The righteous man is first exemplified by what he does not do: He doesn’t walk in step with the wicked; he doesn’t stand in the way that sinners take; and he doesn’t sit in the company of mockers. You will notice a digression of participation listed there: Walk, Stand, Sit.
The Psalmist then describes why life is different for the righteous: He loves God’s Word and meditates on it continuously. He can only love the Word because the Lord has spoken His life into that once-sinner-now-saint. Natural man doesn’t love to worship the Lord, nor does he love God’s Word. Because the righteous man has the Spirit of the Lord within him, and now loves God’s Word and loves Him, the Lord will keep the righteous man safe, secure, well-watered, and because of that the righteous man will produce good and lasting fruit. He will prosper – not necessarily with wealth and health, but with peace, contentment, inner joy, and eternal life.
A few hours after I shared this message with the church a friend posted this line about biblical prosperity (I told him that I wished I had it a few hours before – but now I’m sharing it with you!): “The New Testament has 112 references to being blessed – and none of them are connected to material prosperity”.
The Psalmist goes on to say the consequences of the unrighteous man who chooses the path in opposition to the Lord is destruction. They will blow away like the chaff – having become unproductive and useless. They will not be able to withstand the holiness of God when they stand before Him at the judgment; and they will not be able to rejoice eternally in the Lord’s precious presence as God’s redeemed will. Their life will end in destruction – eternal separation from the Lord.
We are thus encouraged to walk in the ways of the Lord and enjoy the benefits that a loving relationship with Him entails; avoid walking the path that leads to destruction; and encourage others who don’t know the Lord with the Word of the Lord and the love of Christ within us.