What Company Do You Keep?

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Ps 1:1-2).

You are who or what you spend your time with. We become who we surround ourselves with. That is why Paul warned those who had bad relationships, because those relationships could corrupt them (I Cor 15:33). In vs. 1, we have three groups of people that the man of God should be cautioned to be with.

First, we should not walk “in the counsel of the ungodly.” The walk refers to his way of living and his habits. Their counsel refers to their plan or manner. The man of God does not participate the planning or orchestration of wickedness. He should not devise or make plans like the world man. His decision-making process should not resemble the wicked. And when the non-believer counsels him on an important decision, he should never embrace it without filtering it through the Word of God.

Second, we should not stand “in the path of sinners.” This is more deliberate than walking in evil counsel. Standing refers to taking part in their actions and following along the same moral paths. Standing implies a partnership. Walking alongside of an evil person can lead to joining them in their evil deed.

Third, we should not sit “in the seat of the scornful.” Sitting refers to placing yourself under something or someone as supreme to you. The idea is one of taking up residence with those who scorn, or more appropriately “to those who mock goodness.” Those who sit with evil people are saying, “Teach me. Show me. I want to be like you.”

To summarize the concerning posture of one who walks or stands or sits with these individuals, Charles Spurgeon tells us,

“At first they merely walk in the counsel of the careless and ungodly, who forget God – the evil is rather practical than habitual – but after that, they become habituated to evil, and they stand in the way of open sinners who willfully violate God’s commandments; and if let alone, they go one step further, and become themselves pestilent teachers and tempters of others, and thus they sit in the seat of the scornful. They have taken their degree in vice, and as true Doctors of Damnation they are installed.”[1]

It is a good observation: each group shows a digression in character. Each verb builds upon one another – a man walks, then stands, then sits.

2 roadsPeople impact you. You are like the people you associate with. And the man of God is known by the company he keeps? Why because the company he keeps changes him and molds him. Our company should not be these men but it should be the Word of God (vs. 2).

God’s Word is his delight. He will do everything he can to bend himself toward the Word. Nothing will get in his way. The Word of God is his rule of life and not ungodly men and their evil ways.

And he keeps his company with the word “day and night,” which means “at all times.” It is a habitual and purposeful discipline.

In the day this Psalm was written, it is important to keep in mind that no one had personal copies of Scripture. They were dependent on hearing the Word read and, therefore, they memorized the Scripture so they could meditate upon it. They couldn’t pull the Bible off the shelf, read a few chapters and then meditate upon it.

Meditation is the key to delighting in the Word of God. If you love the Word, you will always be in it. The Word of God is the weapon the godly man possesses to keep from evil company.

The man of God is known by the company he keeps – not with the ungodly but the Word of God. Meditation in the Word of God will keep you from sin; or sin will keep you from meditation in the Word of God.

———————–

[1] Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, 3 volumes (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers), 1-2.

 

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