Be Careful Where You Sit

(Psalm 1:1)

Mike Johnson


Psalm 1:1 says, “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.”

The person who God blesses is one who will not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, and he will not stand in the path of sinners.  Further, he will not sit in the seat of the scornful.  What is the meaning of this last admonition?

To begin with, notice how previously, the person who will be blessed by God is referred to as “walking,” then “standing,” and now the godly person is spoken of as not “sitting” which suggests even more resolve and determination to engage in sin. The three words can be viewed as three degrees of conduct. As he sits, he has now “strapped himself down” with these people.

Who are the scornful?  They are people who mock, deride, and scoff at religion.  They may be atheists, agnostics, deists, or the irreligious.  These may scoff at the Bible and various concepts found therein, such as heaven, hell, an afterlife, and the Judgment. They may even treat with contempt righteous people who are trying to do right.

We may typically think of the scornful as being abrasive, but there are more subtle ways to be scornful.  One way, for example, is by indifference towards spiritual matters.  One like this may simply not care what God says.  A second way involves people substituting their own ideas, opinions, feelings, and emotions for the principles of God’s Word.  A third way is by listening to the Word of God and then ignoring it (James 1:21-25).

Various passages speak of the scoffer.  Proverbs 1:22 says, “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.”  Proverbs 15:12 points out, “A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, nor will he go to the wise.”  (Note also Pb.13:1, 24:9; 1 Pet. 4:4; 2 Pet. 3:1-3.)

We must not sit in the seat of the scornful because this is not a good place to be. Later in the text, we are told that these people, compared to chaff, will perish (6).