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Diverging Ways: The Righteous vs. The Wicked

Psalm 1

As we reflect on 2019, and set goals or resolutions for 2020, it is important for us to evaluate which way we are currently headed, and which way we desire to go. This week, Psalm 1 showed us that there are really only two ways: 1) The way of the Blessed, who are blessed because they have been made righteous through Christ; or 2) the way of the wicked, who do not know Christ and will perish in the final judgment. 

1.       The way of the righteous is contrary to the way of the wicked: v.1-2
What is your primary source of truth and direction for your life: the words of men, or the words of God? In verse 1, the blessed (or righteous) person is called to avoid the counsel and the ways of those who don’t know Christ or don’t delight in His Word. Instead, they (or “we”, as believers) are to delight in God’s Word, and meditate on it. If you struggle to delight in God’s Word, consider the following: 1) Do you know God, through Christ? The entire Bible is the story of God redeeming His people, and it points us to our Savior – Christ. Seek Christ first and foremost. 2) Do you look for God in the Scriptures, or do you read it selfishly? When you read the Bible, learn about God and what He reveals about Himself. 3) Approach the Scriptures with humility, and a willingness to submit to the authority of God. As you begin the new year, ask yourself: what will have more influence on my life this year – the wisdom of God (through His Word), or the wisdom of the world?

2.       The fruit of the righteous is contrary to the fruit of the wicked: v.3-4

Those who are firmly rooted in Christ, and who find delight and nourishment in God and His Word, will be like strong, fruitful, prosperous trees. But those who are not in Christ, and have not received the salvation that He provides, are described as chaff – unstable and easily blown about or manipulated. When we are not rooted in Christ and nourished by His word, we risk the dangers of Ephesians 4:14 or James 1:8. Which one will you strive to be this year – the one who is rooted in Christ, and nourished by the life-giving water found in His grace and His Word? Or the one with weak roots, or no roots, who will be easily swayed with the winds and storms of life. 

3.       The fate of the righteous is contrary to the fate of the wicked: v.5-6

Verses 5-6, as well as Matthew 25:31-46, describe the two possible destinations of all people at the Final Judgment. There will be a final judgment… and the ultimate blessing of God – what it means to be the truly “blessed man” (or woman) of verse 1 – is to be found righteous in Christ and to consequently stand in the congregation of the righteous. The alternative, for those who have not received the imputed righteousness of Christ, is to perish into eternal punishment.

As you pray about goals and resolutions for 2020, the most important one should be to determine your eternal destination at the Final Judgment. Receive the blessing of eternal life, found in Christ alone. And for those who are confident in their destination as one of the righteous (through Christ), may your resolution be to sink your roots deeper and deeper into the life-giving water and nourishment of God, through the intake of God’s Word and through consistent prayer. 

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