Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners…
1. He is set forth as a "man." Sin un-mans, reduces the volume and value of manhood, until it brings its victim to a revolting animalism. The Christian is restored by grace to true manhood.
2. As a "happy man." Happiness is the flower and fruit of piety. Misery, the natural child of sin. None are so happy as those whom God makes happy.
3. As avoiding unholy society. As oil will not mix with water, light cannot co-exist with darkness, so piety cannot live in the poisonous atmosphere of evil-doers. Where there is no affinity of nature there can be no sympathy and fellowship of spirit. The tropical plant will quickly die at the roots in the Arctic region; and the saint cannot pass over to the frigid zone of the worldling's society, but at the peril of his sainthood — his life.
4. As a student of Divine truth. Religion makes men thoughtful. He is a glad student. "His delight is in"; a diligent student. "Day and night." It is not a nine days' spell which novelty has thrown over him. He meditates ill it in the "day" of prosperity, and does not forget to do so in the "night" of adversity.
5. Under a beautiful and suggestive figure. "Like a tree." He does not grow up a Christian, he is planted as such. Religion is not natural, but engendered: — He is well positioned. "By the rivers of water." As a consequence he is "fruitful." No fruit in the life is a proof of no grace in the heart. He is always in "season." "There are special times for the manifestation of suitable graces. Liberality when riches increase. Humility when cheered by others. Patience in suffering. Resignation in bereavement. Faith in trial." He is "evergreen." "His leaf also shall not wither." The beauty of the believer is holiness, the communicated "beauty of the Lord our God." The sap of grace is always in circulation, hence his leaf does not wither.
6. Prosperous in all his undertakings. "There is no lack to them that walk uprightly. Godliness is great gain."
7. As divinely known. "Knoweth the way of the righteous" (ver. 6). His knowledge covers the minutiae of his life as well as the particulars of the road. This Divine knowledge is comforting, stimulating, faith-embolding, etc. Such is the inspired portrait of the "happy" or godly man. In contrast we have the "ungodly man." He is like "chaff," without worth, or use, or root; the sport of the wind of circumstances, passions, frivolities, worldliness, sensuality, etc., devoid of true manliness, decision of character, etc. Ver. 5 sets him forth as morally incapacitated to stand in the Court of Justice; and also as morally disqualified to associate with the holy. Both he and his way shall perish.
(J. O. Keen, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.