Blessed is he who walks after the lord
But the way of the wicked will perish
I find that I read this Psalm eschatologically / moralistically: the way of wickedness – wicked acts – are lost and perish because they do not align with God’s victorious plan. I don’t really read it like “the righteous will go to heaven and the wicked to hell”, because Jesus repeatedly debunks that notion. And although the intro and body talk about God blessing the person, the conclusion says
“The Lord watches over the WAY of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.”
The way of the righteous – righteous acts, a righteous way of being – indeed align with God’s victorious plan, and thus prosper. If my way is to do bad things, but the universe ends up good, my way perished. If my way is to do good things, and the universe ends up good, my way prospered. I cooperated and participated in God’s plan, instead of failing against it.
I read it this way, because the view/teaching that “good things will happen to good people and bad to bad” doesn’t hold water from any angle — Job and even other psalms show that often the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer in this life. But I might be wrong. The author may have actually meant it this way at the time. The psalmist may have really felt that good will happen to good people. It would be in strong alignment with, say, most of Proverbs.
But even if the author DID mean it that way, which seems somewhat probable to me, I reinterpret it for myself from a “wider perspective of scripture, philosophy, and observations about life” to mean “good acts prosper and bad acts fail in a universe that ends up victoriously good”. My move to reinterpret, however, may be a knee jerk, based in the desire to have each passage be based on an underlying “absolute-truth-revelation nugget” posessed by the author and expressed into his subjective context. Why am I unwilling to let David be wrong for a chapter? Wasn’t Job wrong from time to time? I think I (and others) end up doing some funny things to passages when we read them with assumptions (or at very least, the wrong assumptions) about what the nature of the truth they contain must be.
What do you think David meant by this?
What do you “do with” this passage?