I mean, really, which counsel is more tempting for you, the counsel of violent rioters who say, “Hey, come with us and burn things down and harm people,” or the counsel of a neighbor like that who says, “Wouldn’t it be nice to just sleep in on Sunday morning, have a relaxing day out on the lake? Who needs God? I’m successful, I’m prosperous, I’m living a good like without God. Join me.”A righteous person will not walk in that sort of counsel, and a righteous person will not allow his life, his path, to be shaped and formed by that way, that image of a good life, that image of a prosperous life apart from submission to God and obedience to God.
A lot of Christians have the wrong image when they read Psalm 1. They think if they just choose the righteous path, then everything will be care free, without any trouble or adversity. But the psalter is here to show us what that blessed tree actually looks like and what the nature of growing will actually be. It shapes our image of the blessed life as one that must recognize the reality of wickedness around us and sin within us.
But we don’t just recognize that reality and move on. The Book of Psalms is structured this way so that we will know how to be blessed in the midst of that reality. God doesn’t want us to escape from reality or ignore reality; he wants us to be blessed through that reality. He want us to praise him, not because he will sort of whisk us away into a bubble completely separately from the wicked, but because of what he will do for us as we live right there smack in the middle of them.
You see, the blessedness that is promised for those who choose righteousness is not an easy prosperity; it is not prosperity apart from wickedness and adversity and hardship, it is prosperity through hardship, in the midst of adversity, in side-by-side contrast with wickedness. It is a tree planted by a river, but a tree attacked by insects and choked by vines and infected by disease. And in spite of all of that, it’s still flourishing.