Songs for Sinners: Background & Psalm 1

The NOT Blessed Life

“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
     nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers. (Psalm 1:1 ESV)

What we see here is something we will hear a lot in the Psalms. It’s called parallelism. The opening line will make a statement, then poetically the second, and in this case, third line, parallels the first line and expands on it. So here the blessed man doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked. Walking is a description of living, thinking, following. The blessed man doesn’t live by the values and wisdom of the wicked. Man’s wisdom is godless, carnal, and selfish. That way of thinking is not a path to joy and blessing. Don’t walk that way.

Notice the natural progression from walking to standing in the way of sinners. Thinking like the wicked places your life in the way of the wicked. Now you are standing there with them. The birds of a feather are flocking together. There are increasing levels of acceptance and fraternity. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV) The NOT blessed life moves a person in a downward spiral from an inward way of thinking to an increasingly outward way of living.

Eventually the coup is complete, “nor sits in the seat of the scoffers.” (Psalm 1:1 ESV) From walking to standing to sitting with other non-blessed lives. Sitting connotes that now you are one of them.

I wrote much of this sermon in a local coffee shop. I looked around the coffee shop while writing and nearby was a circle of older women having a morning coffee and on the other side was a couple in apparent relational harmony. Sitting together connotes mutuality. Approval. Oneness. Isn’t that the way it goes? We see it clearly in young people when their circle of friends changes for the worse and you see the attitude change for the worse as well. They are no longer merely walking with the wicked, they are seated together. They are of one mind.

The blessed life isn’t found in pursuing joy apart from God or pursuing the approval of people who are apart from God. That philosophy of life leads to destruction. Look again at verse 5,

“Therefore the wicked will 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 wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1:5-6)

Don’t align your life and values with the wicked; look what happens to them. They have no standing on the Day of Judgment. The way of the wicked will perish.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Additional Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

© 2017 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address ( on the copied resource.

To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here

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