Text: Psalm 1:6a

The LORD knows the ways of all men. Nothing is hidden from His eyes. He is omniscient (Psa. 147:5) and omnipresent (Psa. 139:7-12). He knows the way of the righteous and the way of the unrighteous. Thus, when the Scriptures say that “the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous”, it does not mean that the LORD is unaware of the thoughts, words and deeds of the wicked.

Yet there is a sense in which the LORD knows the righteous and not the wicked. This can be seen in Matthew 7:22-23 when Christ declared emphatically, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Thus, God knows the righteous not only cognitively, but also personally and intimately. Who then are the righteous? The Bible tells us that all men are unrighteous. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10 KJV). The only way in which men may be found righteous in the sight of God is through God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Those who repent of their sins and believe in Christ as their Lord and Saviour will have their sins forgiven and washed by the blood of the Lamb. They will then be clothed with the righteousness in Christ. He is now no longer condemned but justified in the sight of God. The righteous are thus the ones who are born again in Christ. What about you?

Secondly, those who are now accounted righteous in the sight of God will also manifest this righteousness in his daily walk and conversation. The earlier verses of Psalm 1 contrast the way (i.e. the manner of life) of the righteous with that of the ungodly. The difference lies in their attitude towards God’s Word. The righteous would shun the way of the sinful and wicked world. Instead, he delights in God’s Word. He yearns to learn from the Holy Scriptures and is devoted to following its precepts and teachings. On the other hand, the ungodly despise God’s Word. They are dedicated in rebelling against God’s Truth. Some would even scoff at the Word.

Therefore, when the Scriptures says that God knows the way of the righteous, it also speaks of God’s pleasure and approval of the manner of life of the godly. The righteous are followers of Christ and His Word. They walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. They desire to be found in God’s approval and not His displeasure. Thus, 1 John 5:18 says, “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (1 Jn. 5:18)

Psalm 1:6a is thus a warning against religious hypocrisy. Man can put on a pretence and fool others with regards to their character. However, God sees perfectly and evaluates the thoughts and motives behind every work. He knows the way of the righteous and distinguishes it from the way of the wicked. Thus, the end of the righteous is eternal life, but the end of the unrighteous is eternal condemnation. Thus, the Bible says that “the way of the ungodly shall perish”.

Lastly, God’s knowledge of the way of the righteous is a promise of His preservation of the godly. The world may persecute the righteous for their deeds, but the Lord never forgets those who are His own. He will honour those who honour Him. He will grant the grace for the righteous to accomplish His will till the time comes for them to enter their heavenly home.

Spurgeon rightly notes that the verb “know” can also be rendered as “is knowing”. In other words, God “is constantly looking on their way, and though it may be often in mist and darkness, yet the Lord knoweth it. If it be in the clouds and tempest of affliction, he understandeth it. He numbereth the hairs of our head; He will not suffer any evil to befall us.” What a wonderful balm for the soul! “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” (Mal. 3:16-17)

“The LORD knoweth the way of the righteous” is both a comfort as well as a reminder that we ought to walk circumspectly before the Lord. Does the Lord know you in this way?

Yours affectionately
Pastor C. Chew