16. Could you give me an analysis of the first Psalm?




Psalm 1


Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.


The man who does not walk according to the advices of the merciless people, who doesn’t take pleasure in going round with sinners to scheme evil things and to harm his neighbour, and who does not take pleasure in scoffing at people, that is, in mocking at people, as many do, but he takes pleasure in meditating continually on the Word of God and of course in obeying it for the meditation of the Word of God must be done in order to practice the commandments of God (which are righteousness and truth), is blessed, that is, happy. Someone may say: ‘Is that really true?’ Yes, of course, for I myself have experienced and I still experience this happiness. And together with me there are many other people who have experienced and still experience the truthfulness of these words.

Instead, nowadays it seems that a man can be happy if he walks in the counsel of the wicked, if he frequents wicked persons to harm people, and if he mocks at everybody and everything. But it is a vain appearance, for there is no happiness nor peace for these people. The prophet Isaiah was right when he said: “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21), and therefore there are no beatitudes for them. They refuse to heed the One who is the spring of all beatitudes, how can they be happy? Let no one be deceived by the smiles, the riches, and the fame of the wicked and of the scoffers; for they are not happy at all, but they are full of troubles, fears, and they have inwardly an awful feeling of emptiness.

The righteous is compared to a tree, but not to any tree planted in any place, but to a tree planted by the rivers of water, thus to a tree which is able to take on water continually. The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook (Proverbs 18:4), and the righteous is always by this flowing brook to take on wisdom. This enables him to renew his strength, even in the midst of the deepest distresses (Psalm 84:7); and to shine as light in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation. His leaf will never wither, but will be always green. And it’s a pleasure to look at a tree which never withers because it is planted by the rivers of water. Furthermore the righteous brings forth his fruit to the glory of his God, and he brings forth his fruit in due season, that is, in the season appointed by God just as any fruit-bearing tree brings forth its fruit in due season. And then, whatever he does prospers, of course whatever is in the will of God for him, whatever is in the Lord. Counsel and sound judgment belong to God’s wisdom (Proverbs 8:14), thus the righteous prospers for he heeds God’s wisdom.

However, while the righteous are compared to trees planted by the rivers of water, the wicked are compared to the chaff, therefore to something that disappears because of a gust of wind. The prophet Isaiah compared the wicked to the troubled sea, for he says: “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20), in order to explain that they have no peace in their hearts being tossed by various fears, and that out of them come only foolishness and perversion instead of fruits of righteousness. But let us go back to the image of the chaff: it is evident that as the chaff does not stand before the wind, so the wicked cannot stand before the judgement of God for they will be condemned and cast into the eternal fire where they will be tormented for ever, and they will not be able to stand together with the righteous for their place of destination will be the eternal fire while the place of destination of the righteous will be the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city. Outside (this city) are dogs, those who practice magic arts, fornicators, murderers, idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood (Revelation 22:15).

It cannot be otherwise, for the way of the wicked leads to eternal destruction and shame, while the way of the righteous leads to eternal bliss.

To God who has called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, be glory and honour forever. Amen.