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.
When we read Psalm 1, the psalmist makes it very clear that the ungodly and the righteous walk two extremely different paths. He goes on in verse 5 to describe how that those paths conclude in two completely different destinations. They are not interchangeable. They do not coincide. They are starkly different endings.
The path of the ungodly (the lifestyle that is consumed with self-gratification) ends with a crushing judgment. The path of the righteous (the lifestyle infused with the self-sacrifice of Jesus) ends in a joyful celebration.
So what is the “path”? The “path” could simply be described as people’s actions and interactions. It has to do with life choices and pursuits, and would include motivations and desires.
The “path” of the ungodly is filled with self-serving actions that are always tainted with the self-centered sense of personal accomplishment. Life goals include the accolades of those around them, the accumulation of stuff, and the acquisition of overstuffed coffers.
The “path” of the righteous is completely opposite. Instead of serving self, the righteous see their goal as accomplishing the magnification of God in the hearts and minds of those around them. The life goals of accolades, and accumulation, and acquisition are replaced with an insatiable desire to see God’s Kingdom grow and be established.
Knowing that these two different paths conclude in two different destinations, which would you choose? Any reasoning, capable human being would choose the one that ended in the joyful celebration. Why then do people choose the one that ends in destruction? Because they are too distracted by the glitz and glimmer of their lifestyle. Like a mouse attracted to the devastating cheese on the mousetrap, or a beetle to the glowing bug light, they cannot resist the overwhelming, enslaving power of their life choices and pursuits. Vice after vice binds their minds until they are convinced that their self-destruction is normal, and that their future-mutilation is commonplace and unpreventable.
We can offer them hope in Jesus, but we must guard our minds from the “deceitfulness” of the things that so easily bind them. We must constantly suspect our own motives and desires. We must search our hearts and souls for any captivating thing that is slowly drifting us away from the right “path” lest we end up in the destination of the ungodly.
Food For Thought: What determines the destination that people will arrive at eventually?