The Expository Files.

The Godly & Ungodly In Psalms One

Psalm 1


"But his delight is in the law of the Lord." The Christian life is not one merely of giving up this or that, but it is entering into a new and happy inheritance in the Word of God. True, the prodigal son had to give up some things to come back. But what were they? The swine troughs and his rags! In exchange he acquired the best robe and the joys of a happy home. The godly man gives up the entanglements of sin, for the delight of God's law!

"And in His law he meditates day and night." The modern voices of secular values and occult interests urge us to MEDITATE, without specifying a worthy object of meditation. The godly man meditates on the law of God, and from that meditation receives spiritual strength and health. One telling test of a man's character is this: UPON WHAT DOES HE MEDITATE DAY AND NIGHT? (See Phil. 4:8)


"He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." Here is the result of the godly man's character, negative and positive: SPIRITUAL FRUITFULNESS AND PROSPERITY.

If you want a life such as this; if you want to be a like a healthy, thriving, fruitful tree "whose leaf also shall not wither," do the things outlined in Psalms 1:1,2. "Blessed is this man!"

The first part of the chapter describes the blessedness of the godly man. HIS NEGATIVE CHARACTER lies in his refusal to walk in the counsel of the ungodly; staying away from the path of sinners, and not sitting in the seat of the scornful. HIS POSITIVE CHARACTER lies in his delight in the law of the Lord, and his practice of meditation therein, day and night. As a result of this good character, there is spiritual benefit: "And whatever he does shall prosper."

The last part of the psalm show WHAT THE GODLY MAN IS NOT LIKE. It is a description of the ungodly.

"The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall 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 ungodly shall perish."

First, the ungodly are described as having the opposite behavior as the godly. After the description of the godly in verses 1-3, the writer says: "THE UNGODLY ARE NOT SO," that is, they are living in another fashion.

They are "like the chaff." This term "chaff" is used throughout the Scriptures as an emblem of what is weak and worthless (see Job 21:18; Dan. 2:35, and Matt. 3:12). In ancient times chaff was considered of no value, and when corn was winnowed, it was thrown up in the air until the wind had blown all the chaff away. Hence the ungodly are pictured by this language as weak, of no value; something to be thrown out, "which the wind driveth away."

What a way to live! Think of the reality of living a life that is worthless, of no value ... compared to something that is good for nothing, but to be thrown out.

"Therefore," because of this worthless life, "the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous." While the wicked may be proud, arrogant and high-minded in this day. In the last day the wicked will not be able to hold up their heads. They will have no security, and will have no place with the righteous. There will be a great separation (Matt. 25:31-46).

On the other hand, "the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish." Here, simply stated, is the end to which all men are headed. In the world there are good and bad - righteous and unrighteous. Their character and behavior are entirely different. And the Bible teaches, all things will eventuate in the salvation of the righteous, and the destruction of the wicked.

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 2.1; January, 1995