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The gateway ~ Psalm 1

July 4, 2011

As Tara and I entered the garden, we saw abundant plant life, a magnificent sculpture, and a pathway leading beyond. It was my first time to Brookgreen Gardens, and my dear friend was eager to share it with me. Approaching the entrance, the beauty drew me in, stirring my interest to see more, but the gateway itself was only a glimpse of all that awaited.

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Psalm 1 is what the ESV Study Bible calls “the gateway” to the Book of Psalms. This week we’ll spend four days lingering at the gateway to this Book, the song book of the people of God. If you want to know some background for the Psalter, I invite you to read here or to go here to note some of the landmarks that will help you journey further into the Book. If we take time to see the elements included in the first of the 150 Psalms, we prepare ourselves to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of what lies beyond the gateway.

To know this passage of 6 verses, it helps to observe the facts. Tomorrow we’ll consider more of the meaning of what we find in this first poem that was and is still meant to be sung.

This Psalm describes 2 kinds of men:  blessed men and wicked men.

Blessed men prosper.  Wicked men perish.

Blessed men do 5 actions in the first 3 verses:

  • walk not … in the counsel of the wicked
  • stand not … in the way of sinners
  • delight … in the law of the Lord (meaning the Torah, first 5 books, at the original time of writing)
  • meditate … on God’s law
  • prosper … in all he does

Wicked men do 2 actions in verse 5:

  • stand not … in the judgement
  • stand not … in the congregation of the righteous

There are 3 “but” statements:

  • Blessed men don’t linger in wickedness BUT delight in God’s word.
  • Wicked men are not like a prospering tree BUT are like chaff.
  • God approves of the righteous BUT the wicked will perish.

2 Similes are used in this poem:

  • Blessed man … like a tree that is by a stream, yields fruit, & doesn’t wither
  • Wicked man … like chaff blown away uselessly by the wind

Tomorrow we’ll reflect on what some of this means, but for today, let’s recognize that “the Lord knows the way of the righteous.”  Since there are 2 kinds of men, it’s important to know that God is fully aware of our hearts.

As I entered through the gate of the southern garden, I saw sculpture, plants, and architecture. I acknowledged the pieces, but uncovering their meaning amplified the beauty of the discovery.

Join me tomorrow as we pear further into the meaning of the facts in these 6 verses shaping the arch through which we enter the Book of Psalms. I encourage you to take time to read Psalm 1 aloud; find it here.  Better than that, would you memorize it with me over the next 4 days? It’s not a hard Psalm to commit to memory, and we already know the “pieces.”  The rest of the week, let’s look at questions like:

  • What makes the blessed man proper?
  • Why doesn’t the tree wither?
  • Why is chaff useless, and what is it, anyways?
  • What does it mean the “the Lord knows”?
  • What does it really mean to be “blessed”?
  • How in the world can you “meditate day and night”?!?!?!?
  • What does the counsel of the wicked and the seat of scoffers look like in the modern world?
  • What do you want to know about this Psalm?

I’ll see you tomorrow ….. just inside the gateway….

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2011 12:46 am

    This is exactly why I love this ministry here at Scripture Dig. Delving into Scripture to become aware of the truths, pray, meditate, memorize, and seek God through His Word… and doing all of this together, in fellowship.

    There’s a lot of strong truths in this Psalm (also one of my favorites). I like this practice of just noticing what’s being said first, then deepening in the meaning. Thanks, Julie!

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      July 5, 2011 8:37 am

      I’m glad you’re with us Caroline. I love discovering new layers of impact by studying this way, first observing the text, identifying the meaning, making applications, and then making it personal. Each “time” I study Psalm 1 I find out more and more how I can resemble the blessed tree or the useless chaff.

      Julie Sanders

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