Summary: The first psalm with its pronouncement of blessing on all who respond by being faithful or loyal to the God of the covenant appropriately introduces the book of Psalms.
What Is a Psalm
• We have all heard of them / at one point or another read at least one of them.
• We might even have a favorite one Psalm 23
• But what really is a Psalm and why are they so important?
The English word "psalm" comes from the Latin Psalmi and the Greek psalmoi
• And through translation means "songs sung with musical accompaniment",
• A Psalms invite us to experience how God's people in the past related to him.
• They witness to the glory of Zion, to the Davidic covenant, to the fidelity of God, to the Exodus and Conquest traditions, to God the Creator-Redeemer-King, and to the Lord as the Divine Warrior.
The book of Psalms is first and foremost God's Word to his people.
• We hear the voice of God in each individual psalm.
• The Psalms are nevertheless unique.
• In them not only does God speak to his people, but the people speak to God.
• God encourages us to use the language of the Psalms in our individual and communal prayers and praise.
• And By applying these ancient psalms to a new situation, the life of faith, hope, and love of the individual Christian, the Christian family, and the Christian church may be greatly enhanced.
The values of the Psalms to the individual and to the Christian community are many:
(1) It is a book of prayers, of a human being's communion with God.
(2) It expresses one's praise to God for acts fulfilled in the past.
(3) The Psalms have a distinct place in Christian liturgy, having been sung by Christians throughout the centuries.
(4) The Psalms inspire the believer with hope of the kingdom of God:
(5) The Psalms reflect the faith experience of the "community" of God's people.
(6) In the Psalms God addresses both the individual and the community. (7) The Psalms connect the OT and the NT. From the early church we have inherited a new perspective of reading the Psalms in the light of Jesus' mission and work.
The books of Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Lamentations make up the poetical books in the English OT.
Psalm 1: God's Blessing on the Godly
I. The Discriminating Way of the Godly (1:1-2)
II. The Future of the Godly and the Wicked Contrasted (1:3-5)
III. The Discriminating Way of God (1:6)
The first psalm with its pronouncement of blessing on all who respond by being faithful or loyal to the God of the covenant appropriately introduces the book of Psalms.
The placing of this psalm is significant because it both invites and encourages God's people to live godly lives.
It also provides the assurance that the righteous will be rewarded
And that, in the end, God "knows the way of the righteous."
This psalm sets the tone for the entire Psalter because of its concern for God, for godly living, and for the hope of the godly in the realization of the promises of the covenant.
Psalm 1 is a wisdom psalm and shares many features common to the book of Proverbs
And to other psalms designated as wisdom psalms (34; 37; 49; 73; 111-12; 119; 127-28; 133).
Psalm 1 holds forth the blessedness of godliness and encourages wisdom as the way of life.
I. The Discriminating Way of the Godly (1:1-2)
1 The opening phrase of the psalm is an appropriate introduction to the book of Psalms. The formula "Blessed is the man" evokes joy and gratitude, as man may live in fellowship with his God. The word "happy" is a good rendition of "blessed" (GK H897), provided one keeps in mind that the condition of "bliss" is not merely a feeling. Even when the righteous do not feel happy, they are still considered "blessed" from God's perspective. Such happiness is promoted by two kinds of activities: dissociation from the wicked and association with and devotion to God. The godly do not (1) walk in the counsel of the wicked, (2) stand in the way of sinners, or (3) sit in the seat of mockers. Rather, they reflect on the Lord in their walking, standing, and sitting (cf. Dt 6:7). The parallelism is synonymous and profoundly portrays the totality of evil.
In contrast, the "mockers" (GK H4370) have no regard for God and his commandments. They do not respond to instruction (Pr 9:7; Pr 15:12) but stir up strife by their insults (22:10). Thus the way of folly entails a devotion to self and to the group in all areas of life.
2 The righteous are positively identified by their association with "the law of the LORD." The "law" (torah; GK H9368) signifies primarily instruction that comes from God for the purpose of helping us to live in harmony with God's will. The believer's delight is not only in knowing, studying, and memorizing the Word of God but especially in doing God's will.