Psalm 1:4-6 - The Verses Project

Bible Psalm 1:4-6

Posted June 02, 2017

[4] The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

[5] Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
[6] for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

As we look at second half of Psalm 1, here’s a quick recap of Psalm 1:1-3… The blessed or happy man is someone who has said no to the ways of the wicked and yes to the ways of God. We find him doing this through meditating and delighting in God’s Word day and night. It’s an obsession of sorts, there’s no area of life excluded from the rule and reign of God. The trajectory of this Godward life is that he becomes like a tree planted by streams of water! This tree suffers no lack, and like a good and healthy tree does, produces fruit in season and its leaves don’t wither. In all that he does he prospers, and his prosperity benefits those around him.

Now we find ourselves in verse 4. By way of contrast, we are told that the wicked aren’t like that. Instead of being a deeply rooted and fruitful tree, we are told they are like chaff (husks and straw thrown away in the threshing process) that the wind drives away. There’s no depth or longevity to them; they don’t bear true fruit or benefit those around them. In fact, the psalmist spends the last two verses by contrasting the outcomes of these two vastly different ways of life:

The Outcome of the Wicked

The wicked won’t stand in the judgment or be included in the congregation of the righteous (verse 4). While the judgment could have this life in view, most likely it is looking to the final judgment. We are told in Ecclesiastes 12:14 that God will bring every deed, good or bad, secret or public, into judgement. Verse 6 tells us that the way of the wicked will perish; destruction will be their end. From a worldly perspective, we might look at the wicked and think that they’re living the blessed life. The psalmist begs to differ and tells us they’ll be separated from God and His people. It’s a sad sad end.

The Outcome of the Righteous

Not only do the righteous live as trees planted by streams of water, a picture of Eden and life as it should be, but we are also told in verse 6 that the Lord knows the way of the righteous. This “knowing” isn’t mere knowledge for God knows all things; this special knowing implies affection and approval. The outcome is not destruction, but rather a welcoming by God and a preserving of their lives.

It was for this that Jesus laid down His life! Romans 5:8 tells us that while we were still sinners (i.e. wicked), Christ died for us. Jesus was mercilessly tortured and beaten, only to be hung on a cross, laying down his life for the wicked, the sinner, the scoffer. He died the death that each of deserved on that tree so that through faith and trust in Him, we might become like trees planted by streams of water; so that we might become children of God, forgiven by Jesus’ righteous and perfect blood, and declared clean not because of our great works, but because of the righteousness given to us through Jesus.

Blessed is the Man, Jesus, who walked in the ways of God perfectly and died the death the wicked deserve so that we, the wicked, might be forgiven, walk in His ways, and have eternal life…


Song and devotional by Joel Limpic.
Produced by David Wilton and Latifah Philips.
Artwork by Jonathan David Lindsey.