Reflections on the Psalms
I have recently moved on to reading the Psalms in my personal Bible reading and for some reason, this time round, I’m just finding them so much more illuminating than I ever have before. Here are some thoughts from the very first Psalm…
The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
First of all, to be blessed, we must first make a choice not to do something. We must not “walk in the counsel of the wicked… stand in the way of sinners… or sit in the seat of scoffers.” Listen to the progression there…
Walking in the counsel of the wicked can more often than not simply look like going with the flow. What does the world think? How has culture taught me to see work, beauty, recreation? Am I listening to what everyone around me is saying but not holding it up to the standard of the Word of God?
The second thing is “standing in the way of sinners”. Perhaps at some point, once we’ve heard enough of the philosophy of this world, and once we’ve made it our way of thinking and believing, we take a stand on that sinful truth?
The third stage is “sitting in the seat of scoffers.” Once you begin to scoff, you go public with it. In other words, it begins with thinking the way the world does, then adopting that thinking as your own and behaving in line with it. Then finally, it ends up being expressed publicly, often against the church, and often against God Himself.
And so, the Psalmist is saying, don’t go there! Make a choice to not even listen to the counsel of ungodly people! Only then, once you’ve rejected that way of life can you access verse 2… You can only delight in the law of the Lord if you’ve stopped looking for delight in earthly pleasure.
That’s how you become blessed! And what does that blessing look like? It looks like a tree that is planted by a stream… not stagnant, but thriving, living, nourished, satisfied. Not lacking any need.
It looks like fruitfulness. It looks like success in what you turn your hand to. It looks like following God’s Word and God’s Will and doing what He wants you to do.
It looks like not withering… In other words, it looks like resilience under pressure. When wind comes, you keep your leaves!
That’s what I want for my life, and that’s what God wants for your life: blessing. And it starts with making the Word of God your source of counsel and wisdom for living this life.