This might be called the Psalm of Two Ways, the Way of the Righteous and the Way of the Wicked. It sets the stage for the following 149 Psalms, so much so that some folks have thought that Psalm 1 was written as an introduction to all the psalms; whether it was or wasn’t written as an introduction it serves as one. All of life is encapsulated in 6 verses, two ways of living, two ways of thinking, two ways of acting, two ways of speaking – the Way of the Righteous and the Way of the Wicked.
I don’t think we appreciate wickedness or evil, and when we think we do we grade it in order to excuse our forays into it; to acknowledge evil and wickedness is to fear it and flee it in all of its forms – its pretty forms as well as its ugly forms; its beautiful forms as well as its beastly forms; its obvious forms as well as its stealth forms. When we think we can use evil for our own purposes we cross a line that leads to blindness and denial.
Verse 1 says, “…nor sit in the seat of scoffers.” We live in a land of scoffing, of disparaging others, of belittling others – especially those in authority; and professing Christians appear to think they can engage in scoffing with impunity. This is to say that we believe we can engage in wickedness with impunity. We see this in the workplace, we see this in the political arena, and we forget the root of scoffing and rebellion, we forget whose cup it is we drink from when we drink the wine of disparagement.
The Scriptures teach us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, but we do not fear God when we think as the enemy thinks, act as he acts, speak as he speaks. Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD and in His law he meditates day and night.”
If we are meditating on the Word of God then we are not considering the way of wickedness, but if our minds are filled with the way of wickedness, if we are preoccupied with the things of dust, then our minds are not fixed on things above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God (Colossians Chapter 3). Do we delight in the Law and Word of God, or do we find our pleasure in things which are passing away? Are our sails filled with the breath of God’s Holy Spirit or with the currents of this temporal age?
Neither the counsel of the wicked nor the way of sinners is specific as to action and attitude, but the seat of scoffers is specific to action and attitude; that is, scoffing is the one specific element of the Way of Wickedness that is highlighted in Psalm 1. This attitude and action is enlarged upon in Psalm 2 where we see the nations and their rulers declaring concerning God, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”
The images of walking, standing, and sitting are also found in Ephesians where Paul writes about us sitting with Christ in the heavens, walking worthy of our calling, and standing against the strategies of the devil. To live in Christ is to live under His authority, and to live under His authority is to relinquish any pretence to autonomy and right to oneself – for He is Lord…and He is not a Lord who takes pleasure in scoffing. We are called to be subject to Christ, not to be caught up in the disparaging spirit of this age – this should be especially true in an election year. How are others to know the Prince of Peace if we don’t live as peacemakers? Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God; we rationalize away these words of Jesus at our peril. Are we sitting in the seat of scoffers or are we sitting with Jesus Christ in the heavens?