Theme: The Way of the Righteous
In this week’s studies we learn how the doctrine of the two ways is described, and that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who perfectly fits the description of the righteous man of Psalm 1.
Scripture: Psalm 1:1-6
What about the other way, the way of the righteous? We might expect, since the wicked man has been described in terms of his associations, that the godly man will now be described in terms of his associations too, that is, as a person who associates with the godly. But that is not the case. Instead, he is described as one whose “delight is in the law of the Lord” on which “he meditates day and night” (v. 2).
That is a powerful expression: to “delight” in the law of the Lord. But it is also somewhat puzzling, at least at first glance. C. S. Lewis found it to be so. In Reflections on the Psalms he describes how at first he found the psalmist’s delight in God’s law “utterly bewildering” and “mysterious.” Lewis said he could understand how one could delight in God’s mercies, visitations, and attributes, but not how one could delight in God’s law. You do not delight in law. Rather law is something you respect and (hopefully) obey.
I would argue that it is possible to delight in a good law, one which is both well written and effective in promoting righteousness. But I think Lewis is also right when he suggests that more than this is involved. He finds the clue to the psalmist’s meaning in the idea of meditation on God’s law. This makes the law a subject of the righteous man’s study. So for the ancient Jew to say that he delighted in the law is very much like what we might mean if we said that we loved history or physics or archeology. But, of course, it is even more than that. For when we study the Bible–the word “law” is, of course, used to refer to the whole of God’s inscripturated revelation–we are really learning, not about human beings or nature primarily (which is what the other disciplines teach us) but about God. And, as Lewis says, “The Order of the Divine mind, embodied in the Divine Law, is beautiful.” The language of the poet is “not priggery nor even scrupulosity; it is the language of a man ravished by a moral beauty.”1
John R. W. Stott adds wisely that this delight “is an indication of the new birth, for…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so (Rom. 8:7). As a result of the inward, regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, however, the godly find that they love the law of God simply because it conveys to them the will of their God. They do not rebel against its exacting demands; their whole being approves and endorses it…Delighting in it, the godly will meditate in it, or pore over it, constantly, day and night.”2
The contrast between the two ways may be put like this. It is the difference between those who are in love with sin and those who love God. The first class love sin’s ways and follow it. The second love God and seek him in Scripture, where he may be found.
How is the way of the godly man described by contrast to the way of the sinful man?
How do we “delight” in the law of the Lord?
Explain the result of “blessedness” for the person who pursues God’s ways.
Application: How have you experienced the blessedness and delight that comes from obedience to the Bible?
Key Point: The contrast between the two ways may be put like this. It is the difference between those who are in love with sin and those who love God. The first class love sin’s ways and follow it. The second love God and seek him in Scripture, where he may be found.
1 C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1958), pp. 59- 60. The full discussion is on pp. 54-65.
2 John Stott, Favorite Psalms, Selected and Expounded (Chicago: Moody, 1988), p. 8.