The Scorner’s Chair

“Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and has not stood in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the seat of scorners. But his delight is only in the Law of Jehovah, and he meditates in His Law day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).

The blessed man is NOT to take nor give anti-Biblical advice or council. Thomas Watson [1] expounds on what it means to “sit” in the seat of scorners:

“Sitting implies familiarity with sinners, Psalm 26.4. ‘I have not sat with vain people;’ that is, I do not haunt their company. The godly man shakes off all intimacy with the wicked. He may traffic with them — but not associate with them. He may be civil to them, as neighbors —but not twist into a cord of friendship. Diamonds and stones may lie together, but they will not solder and cement” (The Saint’s Spiritual Delight).

[[1] My quoting of Watson does not mean I consider him a true believer.]

The words of Watson (e.g., traffic, associate, civility, familiarity, friendship, lie together, solder and cement, intimacy) may be defined differently by different people, and have different and various applications. The godly man may have ungodly “friends” and “associates” in such a way that does not contradict passages like (and related to) the following:

“I wrote to you in the letter not to associate with fornicators; and not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or with plunderers, or with idolaters, since then you must go out of the world. But now I wrote to you not to associate intimately; if anyone is called a brother and is either a fornicator, or a covetous one, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a plunderer, with such a one not to eat” (1 Corinthians 5:9-11).

“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever, then, purposes to be a friend of the world is put down as hostile to God” (James 4:4).

There is a sense in which a true believer may be “familiar with” or “a friend to” the scorner. There are many ways to interact with the wicked scorner WITHOUT sitting in the scorner’s chair.

A personal and autobiographical example of associations with my ungodly and unbelieving biological family. There is a kind of familial affection and intimacy between us. This familial “affection” and “intimacy” is not opposed to James 4:4. The sword of gospel-truth has been so deftly and deeply driven between us that any surface-level-affection shown to me on their parts has lurking beneath it a combination of cordiality, civility, veiled animosity, and a degree of estrangement. This is not a special case. I do not say it because I am special. Mine is not an anomaly of Christian experience. As many of my brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus are so acutely aware.

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to divide a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a bride against her mother-in-law. [Ones] hostile [to] the man [shall be] those of his [own] house. The [one] loving father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And the [one] loving son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. The [one] finding his life shall lose it. And the [one] losing his life on account of Me shall find it. The [one] receiving you receives Me, and the [one] receiving Me receives Him who sent Me” (Matthew 10:34-40).

We will not cower in the face of adversity. We will not back nor bow down to the familial or friendly face of compromise. Our quiver is full of sharp gospel-arrows. Bows are bent. At the ready. Faces set like flint. We are steady (Isaiah 50:7). Feet shod with the gospel of peace. True gospel knowledge zeal like that of a hurricane. Awaiting the Lion from the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5), we preach the gospel and strive to make it plain.