The wicked are not so,
Psalm 1:4 ESV
As we set our gaze upon verse 4, the psalmist presents us with the great contrast of this psalm. You see, for the first three verses, the focus has been upon the blessed man, the one who is favored by God. Verse 1 revealed the company that he avoids (the wicked, sinners, and scoffers). Verse 2 then gave us what company he keeps, namely, the LORD via meditating upon His law. Finally, in verse 3, the psalmist illustrated the steadfast prosperity of the blessed man by comparing him to a fruitful and ever-green tree. All of this must necessarily be understood in order to grasp at the depths of meaning within the simple statement of this verse: the wicked are not so.
Although the psalmist has already introduced us to the wicked, he now presents the wicked as a category opposite to the blessed. As we already discussed, the overall teaching of this psalm is to contrast these two groups of people and then to ask ourselves to which we belong. Am I among the blessed, those who are favored by God, rooted like a mighty tree beside the waters of God’s Word, which are my delight? Or am I numbered among the wicked? Again, these are the two categories into which we all must fall; there is no third.
Of course, few ever actively consider themselves to be wicked. Most people believe themselves to be good, at least at the core of who they are. Yet notice that this Scripture simply describes the wicked as not fitting the previous descriptions of the blessed. Therefore, we only need to reverse the previous three verses in order to discover if we belong in the wicked category.
Do you walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers? Do you take no delight in the Scriptures and never meditate upon them? If so, then you certainly cannot claim to be rooted like a tree in God’s Word as the blessed are. You, therefore, meet the criteria of the wicked.
Thankfully, there is hope in this life, even for the wicked. All who cast their wickedness upon Christ, who walked among the wicked (without walking in any of their counsel) so that we who once scoffed at God’s Word can now be numbered among the blessed, will be blessed. As Paul once wrote, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15).