The Cry of a Heart // Psalm 1

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The book of Psalms has a powerful ability to speak to our heart and situation no matter what we may be going through. In times of distress and turmoil, we find words that are so eerily familiar to our own thoughts that they seem our own. On the other hand, we find exclamations of thanksgiving from the overflow of a good season just like ours. It's the beauty of a Psalm--the power it has to relate to our very own season.

This new series--the cry of a heart--is an exploration of psalms that cover the good and the bad. Everyone will find something that connects with what they're currently facing and the first psalm is a foundation for it all.

Psalm 1,

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 1 is the perfect beginning to the rest of the psalms; it encompasses so much of what the book is about. It's about the tension we all find ourselves in the middle of; the tension between good and evil. We can live a life of righteousness or a life of wickedness. 

Much of this depends on where our focus and time is spent. In verse 1 we get a glimpse of this progression of sin; from a casual walk to sitting with sinners. It's spending time with the unwise. In contrast, a righteous person finds their counsel in the enduring Word of God. It begs the question for you, the reader: do you draw your insight from the world or from the Word?

I had to make that decision when I first heard the Gospel at 16 years old. I could have chosen to continue down the path I was on at that time, which led to wickedness. Thankfully, I remember that day as one of the best days of my life as I surrendered it all to Jesus. And I've had to make that same decision over and over again along the years. A decision to stay in the Word and live for Christ instead of for the world.

The psalm continues with a picture of righteousness and what wisdom from the Word of God provides. It cultivates a tree of great fruitfulness and longevity. What's unique about the word "stream" is that it refers to irrigation canals. This is an important distinction for this time because streams dried up, however, irrigation canals drawing from the rivers never depleted.

For those pursuing a righteous life, you are like a well-watered, fruit bearing tree. There's always a source to draw from and He's always abounding, never ending. Yet for the wicked, they are like the worthless grain carried away in the wind during winnowing. The contrast between the two is quite dramatic and worth careful consideration for those who are wandering.

An interesting note on verse 4 is the meaning of the word "wicked." It's translated from the word rāšā‘ which refers to those who do not live in relationship with God. Meaning, you can still be a "good person" and do good deeds but apart from God, it remains wicked. True righteousness is a partnership--a covenant relationship--with the Creator of the Universe.

There will come a time when God separates the fruit-bearing righteous from the wicked chaff. Where will you stand on that day? This question isn't meant to be a scare tactic but an honest examination of where you stand. In fact, it's the most important question you will ever ask yourself.

Pursue a righteous life that stands tall as a result of plentiful supply from the Word and connectivity to God. This is the beginning of a life worth living.


One of my favorite worship albums of all time is one put out by the ladies of the Red Rocks Church worship team. It's 4 songs developed out of their favorite psalms and it's some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard! Click on the album to purchase it at itunes.

Click the image above to download the free scripture print for this series! It's a great way to memorize an encouraging verse while staying in tuned with the series.