Psalm 1 and Bibb County, Part 2: Man’s Duties

In this series of papers, we are looking at Psalm 1 as it applies to Bibb county. The first paper was a brief look at what this Psalm tells us about God; in this paper, we will look briefly at some things it says about man.

In verse 1, we read that the man is blessed “that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” From this we learn that redeemed men, including redeemed men in Bibb county, are forbidden from getting their ultimate counsel and direction from men who do not serve Jesus Christ with all of their heart, soul, and might. Men who do not serve Jesus, who do not take their understanding of life from the Word of God, will not have a proper view of things, and will not necessarily give true direction. Men often do not realize it, but their judgment and discernment—and therefore, their advice—are colored by their philosophies of life, themselves, the world around them, and more. God in His common grace allows some unredeemed men to know some truth about things, but we must always test what we hear against God’s Word (1 John 4:1).

But what kind of counsel should we seek? Verse 2 tells us: “but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” You can’t beat something with nothing, and it is also not enough to simply forbid things. We must also give positive direction. Here the Psalmist gives us the right way of life: we must meditate on the law of the Lord. Man has a duty to go to the Word of God for the answers to the questions about life, education, politics, church, and more—and not to men who either deny Jesus or claim His Name but do not live according to His directions.

Between verse 1 and 2, we get the larger idea of, “Blessed is the man who does not get his counsel for personal life, as well as his public life, from the man who rejects God and His Word, but thinks on His Word all the time and how it directs his living.” We also see an interesting pattern of “walketh…standeth…sitteth” in verse 1. This progression reminds us of another passage, Deuteronomy 6:6–9: “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

We understand just from these two verses that in Bibb county, we must be men and women who think about God’s Word and what God says in it for our lives. Henry writes, “To meditate in God’s word is to discourse with ourselves concerning the great things contained in it, with a close application of mind, a fixedness of thought, till we be suitably affected with those things and experience the savour and power of them in our hearts.” He writes also that “we must have a constant habitual regard to the word of God as the rule of our actions and the spring of our comforts” (Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991], 195). However, we must expand on Henry’s comment: it is not enough to study the Word of God for simply our own sakes, for the sake of meditation, but we must also study the Word of God to know first our duties towards God, and second our duties towards our fellow man. It is not simply a Word for us to think about to satisfy our curiosity, but it is a Word that requires faith and action, not only faith and peaceful smiles.

In Bibb county, we must not go to unbelievers for advice and counsel about political action, education, business, parenting—or anything—and trust them completely without checking it against the Bible. We know that the Bible is God-breathed and speaks to all facets of life (2 Tim. 3:16–17); and as men and women who profess to serve Jesus, we have a duty to go to the Bible for our guidance and direction in Bibb county. A recent matter of public debate in Bibb county centered around zoning rights and property owned by Steve Morgan in Brent and Centreville. If you offered an opinion on the matter, was it based on the Word of God? God gives such answers to us. Will we read them and listen?

In verse 3, we see that the man who meditates on God’s Word and faithfully applies it to his life and duties will be blessed by God for his obedience. This man, we see, “shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water”. A tree does not appear magically: it is planted and tended. Only through hard work and careful cultivation does it grow into a great tree. We have a duty to study God’s Word so that we know what to say and do in the right times.

The Psalmist writes that the righteous man shall be like a fruitful tree “that bringeth forth his fruit in his season”. Charles Spurgeon writes on this phrase, “But the man who delights in God’s Word, being taught by it, bringeth forth patience in the time of suffering, faith in the day of trial, and holy joy in the hour of prosperity” (Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. 1 [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, n.d.], 2). Moreover, the righteous man will be able to bring forth wisdom about broken families, direction on overcapacity jails, knowledge about educating his children, counsel for drug addicts, and much more. The man who studies God’s Word will have answers to questions. Proverbs 15:23 says, “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” Redeemed man has a duty to study God’s Word so that he may cultivate personal holiness in himself, and be able to give Biblical answers when needed.

(These duties are not limited to men, as in males. The word used is “man,” but it is equally applicable to women, as it has reference to mankind. My wife is an excellent student of God’s word, and has on many ocassions been able to offer sound counsel and advice to others. It is also not limited to adults; children must learn God’s Word, also. A curriculum should be developed to teach young children the Bible and how to apply it to situations they will encounter around them in life. This kind of understanding of God’s Word is imperative in children and must be paramount for parents educating their children at home.)

In verses 4 and 5, we see that God will judge between the godly man, who submits in faith to Jesus Christ (and as a result, treasures God’s Word and treats it as the direction of God), and the man who does not do this. Men and women in Centreville and Brent who do not obey Jesus will be like chaff, worthless byproduct of the wheat harvest, and blown away. (We will elaborate more on judgment and blessings in a later paper in this series.)

We continue to see this thought in verse 6: “For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” The ungodly and unrighteous will lose. That is certain, because the Lord has said it “shall” happen. However, the Lord “knoweth” the way of the righteous. David writes, “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.” Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” God directs the path of the wicked, but He shows special favor and blessing on the path of the righteous man, who submits to Him in faith and consequently obeys Him.

It is important to know that the blessings of God are not limited only to famous men like David and Abraham, nor are the curses of God limited to notorious men and women like Hitler and Sanger. God is faithful in applying His blessings and curses of God to all the faithful, and all the wicked, from the most famous in world history to the least-known child in Randolph.

If God destroys the ungodly men and women, but prospers the righteous men, women, and their families, what does that mean for the gospel, population, crime, and Bibb county? It means that although it may be hard to believe, there will come a time when most (or all) of those in Bibb County will know and serve Jesus Christ. Our cities and communities will be filled with men and women who love the Lord, who study His Word, and apply it to their lives; who raise faithful children and teach them to obey God in all they do. It means that our towns will become a prosperous place, nearly without drug abuse and crime, because, as God says, “they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them…for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:34). We will discuss this more in the last paper on Bibb county’s future, but we see right now that obedient man in Bibb county will be blessed by the Lord for his faith and obedience.

Thus far, we have looked at what David says in Psalm 1 about God, and man, and how these things apply to Bibb county. There is much more we can talk about. In the next paper, we will talk about what this Psalm says about our ethics and righteous behavior. The last two papers will be on God’s blessings and judgments, and the future of Bibb county.

“Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him” (Psalm 67:5–7).