I often think that nobody sees me. I remember recruiting for the Navy in 1977 in Detroit, Michigan, and hearing the civil servant who issued autos to the recruiters tell us that if we get in an accident, be sure to say to the police that we were wearing our seatbelts, whether we were or not. He said, “No one knows but you and God, and he’s not talking!” I remember how that shocked me at the time. In Luke 16:15, Jesus confronted the Pharisees for similar attitudes. He said, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” It might appear that God is not talking, but there will come a day when he will not only speak but judge. I think that’s the point of Psalm 1:6. It says, “for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” Although the verse only talks about God’s knowledge of the righteous, it’s implied that he also knows the ways of the wicked. God knows everything.  In John 2:25, we read that Jesus did not need to be informed about the thoughts and intentions of any man because he already knew what was in them.

God’s omniscience is viewed in different ways. The fact that God knows everything is a bit frightening at times. It’s scary for those wrapping fig leaves around themselves to hide sin. It’s not frightening for those who love God and seek to do His will, even when they fail. It’s very frightening if you try to hide something from God, but it’s not when your heart is pure toward God. Jeremiah 12:3 tells us how the prophet looked at the trials of life and reflected on the faithfulness of God, and wrote, “But you know my heart, Lord. You see me and test my thoughts about you.” Matthew Henry, the old bible commentator, writes, “Let this support the drooping spirits of the righteous, that the Lord knows their way, knows their hearts, knows their secret devotions, knows their character, how much soever it is blackened and blemished by the reproaches of men, and will shortly make them and their way manifest before the world, to their immortal joy and honour. Let this cast a damp upon the security and jollity of sinners, that their way, though pleasant now, will perish at last.”[1]

The righteous man is not the one who does all the things in the first part of this Psalm. The righteous man is the man who lives by faith. The whole book of Job presents us with the case of the righteous suffering. This causes Job to speak out in Job 21:7-9. He says, “Why do the wicked live on, reach old age and grow mighty in power? Their children are established in their presence, and their offspring before their eyes. Their houses are safe from fear, and no rod of God is upon them.” Job’s friends tell him that in some way he has brought these trials on himself, but Job will not accept this argument and insists on his innocence. I think Job’s claim is prophetic, not actual. He knows he’s not perfect, but he also knows that his deliverer lives. We too can make that claim. We’re not perfect but our redeemer is. Williams says, “It is He who lives in perfect communion with the Father. It is He who delights in the Word of God, and it is He who prospers in all His ways. In Christ, we become the blessed person of Psalm 1. It is He who gives us His own righteousness.”[2]

[1] Henry, Matthew. 1994. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson.

[2] Williams, Donald, and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. 1986. Psalms 1–72. Vol. 13. The Preacher’s Commentary Series. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.