The Way of the Righteous
Monday Club Sermons
Psalm 1:1-6
Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners…

I. A STRIKING DESCRIPTION OF THE CHARACTER OF THE RIGHTEOUS. Among the evil, as well as the good, there are classes and gradations. Here we have forgetters of God, overt and habitual sinners, and settled scorners. How graphically is the progressive tendency of sin here exhibited! Observe the indication we here have of the tendency of sin to fixedness. Walking, standing, sitting; wrong principles, then sinful habits, and last settled scorn. But the righteous man is not simply one who keeps aloof from the ways described. His character has its positive side. It is needful to discriminate with respect to the kind of delight the righteous man takes in the law. How much there is in the Bible of valuable history! Its truths and precepts kindle the intellect, feed the imagination, and commend themselves to man's natural sense of what is true and good. The delight of the Psalmist is, however, something deeper and other than this. It is delight in the law as God's law, and because it is His. It is the delight of a mind in sympathetic accord with it and with its Author. Even in the Old Testament saint there was much of this spirit. Here is the difference between a truly righteous man and one who is only outwardly so. The latter obeys slavishly, and against his own will. The former serves joyfully, and in love. The interest the one takes in the Bible is intellectual; that of the other is also practical and spiritual.

II. A DELIGHTFUL PICTURE OF THE CONDITION OF THE RIGHTEOUS. "Like a tree." The tree draws a portion of its nourishment from the surrounding atmosphere, but relatively this is small. Vastly the greater portion is taken up with the moisture at its root. Hence where there is little moisture the life of the tree is feeble, its growth is slow, its fruit is uncertain, its leaf withers. So it is doubtless true that the godly man derives material for growth, usefulness, enjoyment, and moral beauty from whatever surrounds him. He learns from nature, society, books; he derives profit and adornment from studies, companionship, and experience; but for that which is highest and best, whether of comfort, attainment, or serviceableness to his generation, he is indebted to revealed truth. It is this which sustains his true inner life. In ver. 3 there is a change of figure. Of the righteous it is said, "and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." The meaning doubtless is that he shall prosper in all his godly doings; in the things to which the Divine will and word may prompt him; in 'those righteous undertakings by which he is distinguished. In other ages, if not now, it shall appear that nought of such labour was lost. It would be a mistake to understand, by the fruit here spoken of, external works only, or chiefly. The fruit of the spirit is "in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth." It is "love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." First of all, it is inward, then outward. It would be equally a mistake to suppose that the leaf, which does not wither, is the symbol only of the honour and beauty which crown the character of the godly. Doubtless it stands for this. But the leaf is also useful. And that, too, not only in the pleasure it ministers to the beholder's eye, or the shade it affords to the passing traveller. Its benefits may reach very far. "The fresh air we quaff from the hills has been purified and made healthy for us by the foliage of the trees, not merely those of our own country, but even the pines of Norway and the palms of India." And so the godly man is blessed in what he is and what he does.

III. A CHEERING INTIMATION OF THE HAPPY END WHICH AWAITS THE RIGHTEOUS. As is so often the case in the Bible, thought abruptly passes from time to eternity. Indeed, to the eye of faith, these are one: the latter is but the continuation of the former. Naturally, therefore, the characters contrasted in the Psalm are now made to appear for judgment.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: Blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers;

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