Last month we looked at verses 2-3 in Psalm 1, which says the person who “delights in the law of the Lord… is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season.” We talked about what it means to yield fruit in season. Today we are going to look at verse 1, which says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.”(NIV) Last month’s verse showed us what to do and this month’s verse shows us what not to do.
Have you ever been told to ‘follow in someone’s footsteps’? Someone might tell you to follow in the footsteps of your mom or dad or older sibling. This means to copy them or do like they do. If you are told this, it is because they are doing something good that you should follow. In this verse, the Psalmist is saying the opposite. It says, “do not walk in step with the wicked.” The wicked do things that they should not and so others should not follow them. Another version of the verse says “does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,”(NASB) which means to follow the advice or instruction of someone.
The next thing the verse says not to do is “…stand in the way that sinners take.” This is very similar to the one before, but takes it a step further. The phrase before said not to walk in the footsteps of the wicked and this verse is saying to not even stand in the way, or path, that they are taking. Psalm 25:4 is a similar verse that might help us understand this one more: “I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites.” (NIV) In this verse, the Psalmist is saying that he does not spend time with bad people so that he will not become like them.
Lastly, we are told not to “sit in the company of mockers.” Just like we do not want our actions to follow the way of the wicked, we also do not want to hear evil things and begin to speak like the mockers. There are many verses that talk about how important the words we speak are. Proverbs 21:23 states, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” If we hear mocking voices that make fun of others or say mean things, we should be careful not to listen or repeat their words. Only when we learn to silence these voices and to not “stand in the way of sinners,” can we truly follow after God’s footsteps.
Today we learned about three things that the blessed person should not do. Use your imagination and think of one scenario for each of these instructions. What would it look like in your life to follow in the footsteps of the wicked? How about to sit in the company of the deceitful or hypocrites? Last, where might you find a “company of mockers?” Then, think of how you could choose to listen to and follow God’s words instead. If you are having trouble thinking of what God would tell you to do, pray and ask Him to show you, then ask a parent or friend if they have any Bible verses that you could read about that topic.