The first Psalm of the book of Psalms has only six verses, but those six verses are packed with some important life lessons. If you are familiar with this Psalm, great! But if not, since it’s short, here it is for quick reference:
Psalm 1 (NIV)
- 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,
- but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
- That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
- Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
- Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
- For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
So what life lessons are there to learn from Psalm 1?
Pslams 1 shows us that There Are Different Ways In Life, What Goes Into Our Life Determines What Comes Out, and We Are Like Trees. Let’s take a closer look at each of these lessons.
There Are Different Ways In Life
Psalms 1 highlights two main ways in life. The way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. Ways are essentially paths and both the way of the wicked and righteous have consequences that go with them. The first 3 verses which address the way of the righteous show that it leads to prosperity in whatever they do. On the other hand, verses 4 and 5 indicate that the wicked “are like chaff that the wind blows away” and they won’t be able to “stand in the judgment.” And the chapter goes on to say in the second part of verse 6 that it leads to destruction.
The noteworthy thing about the different ways in life is that all ways are separate from the people that take them. In other words, the righteous and the wicked represents the type of people we can be at any given time based on how we are living at any given time. This is why verse 1 starts with “blessed is the one” and verse 3 starts with “that person.” Which one? Which person? The individual that does those things.
We Are Always On A Path
Although we may not be aware of it, we are all on a path and our path is taking us somewhere. Each decision we make alters our destination and so we must continuously ask ourselves where am I headed based on the decisions I’m making? Am I doing things that are more aligned with being righteous or wicked? The answers to those questions should cause us to adjust if necessary so we don’t end up at an undesired destination.
God Watches Over The Way of The Righteous
Another thing to note about it being different ways in life is that “the Lord watches over the way of the righteous” (Psalm 1:6 NIV). This is a reminder that God is no respecter of persons. Nobody is special. At the end of the day, it’s whether you are righteous before God or not. Being righteous places you on the path which he looks after and being on that path qualifies you for His blessings and protection.
What Goes Into Our Life Determines What Comes Out
The second lesson to learn from Psalm 1 is that what goes into our lives determines what comes out. Psalms 1:2 points out the secret to a righteous person prospering in whatever they do, stating that their “delight is in the law of the Lord” and that they are those “who meditates on his law day and night.” God’s Word is what righteous people pour into their lives and by pouring it into their lives it produces the good that comes out of it.
This is a law of nature. It applies to so many things. If you’re baking a cake, the ingredient you put in determines that the type of cake that comes out. The time you spend studying for a test affects the grade that you get. What you eat dictates your weight and vitality.
Since it’s a law, know that in addition to prospering like the righteous by doing what they are described in the Psalm as doing, you can get just about anything out of your life by putting into it what’s required. If you are not getting the results you desire, but you are putting in the work, reassess what’s really required for you to achieve what you desire. There is usually a way to get it, it just takes finding what’s necessary to put into it.
We Are Like Trees
The last life lesson to learn from Psalms 1 is that we are like trees. Seeing ourselves like trees exposes certain truths about who we are as humans that can help us live a more fruitful life.
Psalm 1:3 isn’t the only place in The Bible that compares us to trees. Jeremiah 17:7-8 states something similar. It reads:
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)
In addition to these two passages of scripture, Jesus, in John 15:5 said “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” ( NIV). So what are some truths we can take away from seeing ourselves like trees? Here are two:
Our Environment Makes A Difference
Psalms 1:3 describes the person that delights in God’s law and meditates on it day and night “like a tree planted by streams of water”. Like trees, our environment can make or break us. We, like trees, start out as seeds and if a seed doesn’t get water, soil and sunlight it never grows. So although we may have it in ourselves to be great in life, being in the wrong environment threatens our potential. Thankfully unlike trees, which need to be lucky to be planted by water, we can move if our environment isn’t helping us to grow.
We Attract People by Our Fruit
The next truth from seeing ourselves like trees is that we attract people by our fruit. Fruits go hand in hand with trees and just as there are scriptures that describe us as trees, so are there scriptures that describe what we do as fruits (e.g. The Fruit of The Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23; You Will Know Them By Their Fruit, Matthew 7:16). The interesting thing about a tree’s fruit is that it is what attracts people. When was the last time you heard of a tree bringing its fruit to someone? Maybe in a cartoon.
The significance of this is, once we bear fruit in our lives, we will attract people. In the case of the fruit of the spirit, it is a light that leads others to the Kingdom of God. When people see that you are prospering in whatever you do, as the Psalm states, they’ll notice.
There you have it. 3 life lessons to learn from Psalms 1. Since there are different ways in life, choose the way that leads to Godly success in this life and ultimately eternal life. Remember what goes into your life determines what comes out so make any changes necessary to get what you want out of life. And given our similarity to trees, keep yourself in the right environment so that you live up to your potential and attract others to the Kingdom of God with your fruits.