Shall Not Stand


“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psalm 1:5).

Psalms begins by identifying and defining what is important for man’s happiness. If he is to find happiness, he must avoid the ungodly and cling to the Lord and His word (vv.1–3). Psalm 1:4–6 explains the fate of those who reject God. They are like chaff.

When a fruit-bearing plant is harvested (and all plants unless bred otherwise, produce fruit to sustain the species), the chaff is dead. The chaff may have been a beautiful outward trapping on the plant, or even an outer covering for a true seed, but at harvest it is no longer viable. It will not stay on the threshing floor (v.4). The wind will carry it away. It has no purpose. So it is with the ungodly.

Our text teaches us that “the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment.” This does not mean the ungodly will not be at judgment. There is a terrible judgment coming for those who have rejected God when they meet Him at His “great white throne” (Revelation 20:11). The ungodly have an unalterable appointment to listen while their works are read to them out of the “books” of God. Then they will be confronted with the fact that their name is not written in the “book of life” (Revelation 20:12–15). In the sense of being absolutely and totally present at the judgment, the ungodly shall stand there. But the “standing” of Psalm 1:5 denotes something different to merely being present. It means to abide, to endure, and to succeed. To “succeed” in the Biblical sense is to acquire by succession, as in the case of succeeding to an heir’s rights (Deuteronomy 25:6).

The ungodly shall never succeed to the inheritance purchased for them by Jesus’ blood (I Peter 1:2–4) for they have rejected the only way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), but the way of the ungodly shall perish (Psalm 1:6). CJH