Learning Psalm 1
Psalm 1 – the very first of 150 psalms in the bible – can be said to be a summary of all the other psalms – so all the other psalms can act as an exposition of Psalm 1. It is written in a chiastic structure – what that means is it makes a point and then reinforces that point over and again. Before you go to sleep with all these technical terms, let’s press onto our learning of Psalm 1!
Firstly what are the Psalms anyway? They are a collection of poems and songs of worship collected over many years by different authors, at different periods of history. They stunningly show God’s revelation of himself and our faith response to that revelation (thanks to Tim Presson for that analysis).
We have put together an infographic of the whole of Psalm 1, which you can download in two separate parts.
I recommend learning the Psalm three to four lines at a time.
Why Learn the Psalms?
Finally, why are we doing this? We are hoping to joyfully engage with God’s word and be able to start praying through scripture. If you read the Psalms carefully, the one thing that will leap out at you is the utter joy and love of God that these psalmists had. And we want it to be infectious.
Psalm 1 shows two contrasting ways of life, two opposing worldviews – those who know God and those who do not. The first verse shows how sin can progress in our lives – walking, standing, sitting. The second verse shows what happens when we fall in love with God – his word, his laws are not a burden – we delight in them – we delight that we belong to him and have found our place – the very reason we were created. And we start the journey home to him.
The third verse shows us what it looks like on the other side – blown about by worldly issues with no strong identity in Christ and ultimately in the fourth, fifth and sixth verse, it doesn’t end well.
The translation of this Psalm was taken from the English Standard Version Bible.
1 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
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord
and on his law he meditates day and night
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season
and its leaf does not wither
In all he does he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so
but are like chaff
that the wind drives away
5 The wicked will not stand in the judgement
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous
but the way of the wicked will perish