Monday, October 02, 2006

Musings on Psalm 1

The ESV rendition of Psalm 1 can be found here and will open in a separate page for reference.

This is not meant to be an be-all and end-all commentary on Psalm 1, but rather my musings as I contemplated it during and after my quiet time today....

Blessed is the man...

Obviously being "blessed" is a good thing to which we should want to aspire. It implies favor with God, joy, contentment, and happiness. So how is one to be "blessed?" The author of Psalm 1 points to three negatives and then a positive. The negatives are:

Don't walk in the way of the wicked.
Don't stand in the path of sinners.
Don't sit in the seat of scoffers.

These are all ways we would humanly try to acquire "blessing," and yet they will not work. There may be temporary, earthly riches, but there will not be blessing by God. Note they all entail a willful, decisive activity...walking, standing, sitting, and they involve using that activity to pursue the ways of the wicked, the sinner, and the scoffer.

In looking for other usages of the word translated, "wicked," I came across a strong description in Psalm 10:2-10. The wicked have pride at their core, pursuing the afflicted, boasting of his heart's desire, haughty in countenance. There is greed and a desire for material gain. He curses and spurns (same as a scoffer) the Lord, intentionally not seeking Him and thinking, "There is no God." And it goes on...but this is sufficient.

The word translated "sinner" brought up many of the same verses, although it is not the same word as wicked. Literally is could be rendered "sinner," "sinful," or "offender." This person may know of God and His ways and intentionally violates them.

The word "scoffer" brings with it the connotation of scorn. This is scorn for God and His ways.

So in effect, we are to practice an avoidance ethic of sorts (in spite of what I have said in other sections of this blog). We are to avoid the way of the wicked, the path of the sinner, and the seat of the scoffer.

But alone, this isn't enough. There is a positive requirement as well. To be blessed, a man is to delight in the Law of the Lord and to meditate on it day and night. Note carefully the requirement to "delight." This isn't a command to dutifully go through the motions of doing the commands of God, which would be similar to physical activities alluded to in the three negatives. Instead, think about "delight." There are internal components of joy, of child-like excitement, of wonder,... These are feelings and emotions that arise from our inner being, not something that can be conjured up. They must be brought about by the Holy Spirit. He is the only One who can bring you those feelings, so if you don't have them, pray for Him to give them to you. And once one delights in the Law of the Lord, would it be necessary to encourage meditating on it day and night? It almost seems redundant to say that! Of course you would meditate on it day and night.

So what are the results of avoiding the way of the wicked, the path of the sinner, and the seat of the scoffer, all the while delighting in the Law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night?

You become solidly grounded in the ways of the Lord, in His wisdom. And if you delight in the Law of the Lord (Scripture), you cannot possibly keep it to an intellectual enterprise. You will implement the commands of the Lord in your life. As such, your life becomes more and more conformed to the likeness of Christ, and less and less conformed to the likeness and desires of the world (do you really want to be like the wicked???).

And as you become conformed to the likeness of Christ, you become like the tree planted by the water...always yielding fruit, firmly planted with deep roots that enable it not to yield, regardless of the pressures around it. And there is blessing, both for you and for those around you. If you are yielding fruit, who is going to eat it? Those who encounter you! Your fruit nourishes others, showing them the beauty and glory of Christ. And what better witness could there be?

So note the progression:

Avoid the wrong ways of the world.
Delight in the Law of the Lord (the Scripture)
Meditate on it, and conform your life to it.
Your changed life is strong in the storm, and provides nourishment and blessing to others.
You glorify Christ!

May God grant us delight!!!

No comments: