William Kelly Major Works Commentary
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.The book begins with the beautiful picture of man blessed in dependence and obedience. His character is as marked as his happiness. He has not walked in the counsel of wicked men, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scorners (ver. 1). With evil in any form he has had no fellowship. But, positively (ver. 2), the law of Jehovah is his delight, and in it does he meditate day and night. In no way is this inconsistent with Galatians 3:10. For he was not "of the works of the law" for the principle of his standing before God: all such are and were "cursed." These never repented and never believed. They which be of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham, as they are truly his sons. No more in the O.T. than in the N.T. is a man justified with God in virtue of law; as the prophets prove only less clearly than the apostles. None but those who looked, by faith for the Messiah walked blamelessly in God's ordinances. Still more evidently is it so with the Christian. "The law" here, as usually in the Psalms and elsewhere, means God's word then revealed. This is ever the delight of the believer, as well as his directory: only the heterodox slight it.
Hence in ver. 3 we see the issue in the righteous government of God; and to this the book points as the rule. There is life, fruitfulness seasonably, abiding beauty, and unfailing prosperity. This will be manifest in the kingdom only; now it cannot be more than morally true.
The contrast appears in the second stanza of these verses. They are worthless and vanish under pressure. The N.T. adds the divine judgment as burning by unquenchable fire. When judgment comes (and the Book of Psalms as a whole contemplates it), the present mixed state will give place to a manifest severance, and an execution of God's sentence on earth before the final one for eternity. This is no secret to faith which enters into His mind and will before that day. "For Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish" (ver. 6).
Plainly then the Psalm describes in spirit rather than as a fact the just Israelite, is compared with the wicked mass. It is therefore the Spirit of Christ in the righteous remnant, not Christ personally, though He was the sole absolutely Righteous One. Thus is refuted at the starting-point - the fond and inveterate delusion of the people that every Jew had a good and true title in God's sight. On the contrary not all are Israel which are of Israel. For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in spirit, not in letter, whose praise is not of men but of God.
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.