After a 3-year somewhat methodical journey through the Bible, it was time to start over again in 2017. I’m finding the more I study God’s Word, the more I need to rely less on quantity and more on quality. That is, it’s the time and the digging in that needs to improve; not necessarily the amount I’m reading each day in order to check a box off of the list. Can anyone else relate???
I started in with Psalms this year knowing that those verses alone are enough to meditate on and ponder each day. There is so much meat in the Psalms and so much that I find speaking to me, beckoning me to go deeper and walk further in trust and obedience with my Lord.
Starting in with Psalm 1, there is a wealth of instructive material packed into 6 short verses. Let’s look at it:
How happy is the man
who does not follow the advice of the wicked
or take the path of sinners
or join a group of mockers!
Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
He is like a tree planted beside streams of water
that bears its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
The wicked are not like this;
instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment,
and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.
Psalm 1:1-6 (HCSB)
My Bible titles this Psalm as “The Two Ways” and rightfully so. There is a clear contrast made between the way of righteousness and the way of wickedness. And there are benefits and detriments to choosing either path.
For the righteous man there is happiness; a feeling of being “right with God.” He is a man who takes delight in God’s Word and bears fruit. He is prosperous. God watches over him. The wicked man on the other hand, is the complete opposite. His way does not lead to life. His path ultimately comes to ruin and destruction. At the end of all things, he will not survive the Lord’s judgment.
I’m always amazed at how an ancient Biblical text such as this remains relevant and applicable to our current time. Thousands of years later, the lines are still clearly drawn between those who would follow God’s laws and those who would reject Him. And this word is difficult for a world which does not want to see black or white but wants to live in endless “shades of gray.” Sadly, compromise and bending the knee to culture infects the Church causing it’s message of salt and light to be watered down and of no use.
What are we to do? I think Psalm 1 gives us the means to stand strong in the midst of shifting cultural winds. It’s being deliberate in our daily habits: not following bad advice, not joining in mockery (hello social media debates!), and not consuming all the things society puts on display as “good and pleasing” (i.e. movies, video games, music…what are we putting in?).
What are the benefits if we do? Happiness and prosperity in the Lord. No it’s not the “health and wealth” gospel. But it is the peace of God and the blessings that come with knowing we are His and He watches over us. As we walk in Christ, our roots grow deeper, being fed by the “streams of water” of His Word. Bearing fruit in season, leaves that do not wither…to me, these are all blessings and by-products of being faithful.
If I can leave you with a challenge today, it would be to go back and re-read Psalm 1, doing an honest self-evaluation. Ask yourself questions like, am I allowing the lines between these two ways to blur? Is there anything I need to repent of in order to restore God’s presence in my life? Am I bearing fruit…and if not, what steps do I need to take to get “replanted” in wisdom and truth? Is there someone in my life who can help me along this path? Someone who can hold me accountable?
As always, I’m asking myself the same questions and wrestling with this same passage. No finger pointing here; I’m only looking at myself and I’d urge you to do the same. In this, take heart: God is faithful and know that as we seek Him, He will reveal Himself to us.
I’d love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org Be blessed and have a great day.