Two Ways of Life (Psalm 1)

ww_psalmsRoads are an interesting thing. Up until the second year of my undergraduate education, I refused to take the interstate on my way to school. I don’t know if it was because of fear of traffic or something else. Those days are gone, though. I have driven on the interstate numerous times and am much more comfortable driving. Because I have taken this step, I have experienced driving on different types of roads, whether it be a two-way street or a 3-lane in one direction. I have found that people think the same way about life. They think that life’s destination can be found driving on any type of road. Many see life as a two-way street, even. I am convinced, however, that life is a one-way street. Sure, you can go two ways on a one-way street, but one of those ways is illegal and will not end well. Psalm 1 uses similar imagery. In Psalm 1, the godly, or right, way of life is contrasted with the ungodly, or wrong, way of life.

The Godly Way of Life (vv. 1-3)

The godly way of life, as it is detailed in verses 1-3, makes it plain that the relationships we partake in reveal which way we are going. The godly person does not commune with the ungodly. That is, they do not follow the ungodly and fall into a progression of a sinful lifestyle. Rather, what characterizes the godly way of life is their delight in meditating on the Word of God. Notice this study, meditation, and reflection on God’s Word is not done out of routine but out of joy. They delight in His Word. They are daily fed on the Word. For direction, they go to the Word of God. As a result, the godly way of life produces a life of fruitfulness, a life that “yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither” (verse 3).

The Ungodly Way of Life (vv. 4-5)

The ungodly way of life produces just the opposite. Those headed on this way do not produce fruit “but are like chaff that the wind drives away” (verse 4). The psalmist uses this analogy of chaff to stress the point of fruitlessness. Chaff was separated from the grain and usually blew away because it was lighter than the grain. It had no root. So, the wicked and ungodly are, as Derek Kidner says, “rootless, weightless, and useless”. Their end is destruction because they will not be able to stand right before God on the day of judgment and they will perish (verses 5-6).

The Way of Life

But what about the godly? What happens to them? Psalm 1:6 tells us God knows them. He has a relationship with them. They will not perish but will be with the Lord. But who are these godly people? To your surprise, when Psalm 1 talks about the godly, or the righteous, the psalmist is not talking about us. Yes, if we are Christians we should have a delight for His Word, but we do not always. We still fall short (Romans 3:23). It is only when we understand that Jesus is the ultimate righteous man, the one Psalm 1 describes, that we can ever think about living out such a life. 1 Peter 3:18 reminds us that Christ suffered once for sins. He was the righteous dying for the unrighteous, so that we could be reconciled to God. It is only when we understand Jesus as the only Way (John 14:6) that we can live the righteous way, the godly way. We can only begin to live out this godly way of life when we have trusted in the Way of life.

My question to you is this: which road will you take? Life is a one-way street. Will you rebel against the truth and live your life in sin on your way to destruction? Or will you realize you need to turn around and head the right way? The only way to turn around is to repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and He will lead you by His Spirit along the godly way.

Reflection Questions:

  • Which road or way have you taken? In other words, what characterizes your life more: the godly way of life or the ungodly way of life?
  • How does understanding Jesus Christ as the Way inform our interpretation and application of this passage?

15871997_10210430005099789_6580064576224717116_nThis week’s devotional was written by EBG Lead Writer and Founder Theron St. John. His joy is serving God and His people, both in the church and the academy. He is the associate pastor of Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana and an adjunct professor at Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis.

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