The happiness Of the godly. —The unhappiness of the ungodly.
BLESSED is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sittetli in the seat of the scornful.
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.
THIS first is a Psalm of consolation; by which the hearts of the godly are encouraged and stirred up to magnify above all things the word of God, in which the whole of true life and salvation stands; and to hear, read, weigh, and meditate on it with a willingness of mind. For this Psalm shows, that those only are truly blessed, prosperous in all things, and enjoy a firm, sure, and eternal consolation both in prosperity and adversity, who are enabled to learn and know, from his word, the will and the works of God.
Thus, as a tall palm-tree by the water-side continually grows upwards higher and higher against all the violence of storms, retains its strength against all the weights that man can put upon it, and, by a secret growth, becomes daily more and more flourishing, and brings forth its fruits in its season; so, saith this Psalm, do the saints increase and grow continually by the Spirit and word; so are they rendered more and more firm and constant, and invincible against every evil; so do they daily become more fortified against all the calamities of life.
This Psalm denies, on the other hand, that any knowledge of God or any true consolation can be derived from human doctrines, how fair a show soever they may make. The wicked, (saith it,) and hypocrites, are like the chaff that is scattered by the wind: that is, the wicked are utterly destroyed by afflictions, at least in death; they endure not in temptation, but by and by separate themselves from the assembly of the righteous, and at length come to nought.
God looks upon those alone who worship him by hearing, learning, and declaring his word; and these are they whom this Psalm pronounces “blessed.” He disregards all the rest, who are hypocrites and pharaisaical worshippers; he despises all their good works and worshippings, and leaves them to perish in their blindness.
This Psalm flows from the Third Commandment, and has respect unto that which is there written: “Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day;” that is, that thou hear, read, meditate on, and ponder the word of God. And the sum of this Psalm is comprehended in the Lord’s Prayer, in the second and third petitions, where we pray, that the kingdom of God may increase and be edified by his word, and at length be revealed in its perfection, and that his will may be done: and both of these petitions are answered, when the word of God, which abideth for ever, is purely taught and learnt, and seriously and diligently used and pondered.
From Martin Luther’s Manual of the Book of the Psalms