9.11.14

A Pastor's Word: Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
Blessed is the man. I want to be blessed. I know that true blessing does not come in the abundance of our possessions but in the abundance of our God. And so it almost goes without saying that this rules out walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the way of sinners, or sitting in the seat of mockers. 
I find the progression instructive. From walking, to standing, sitting. From being a person who is walking with God, moving forward in the mission and calling God has given to a person who is sitting on the sidelines, mocking those who try. From taking the advice of the wicked to actively hindering those who attempt to do better. 
I also find this progression harrowing. It is the picture of deep and disturbing transformation which I have seen in others and see the potential for in myself. 
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

To delight in the law is only possible because it is the law of the Lord. The one who has given and gifted this law creates the possibility for delight. We can delight in the law of the Lord because we know that the Lord is the giver of life, the one whose presence is full of joy, the one who blesses. Meditation is an act of devotion and response to our Lord. 
This is the path of blessing: to delight, in the full sense of that word, in God and to devote ourselves to Him in all that He has given to us. 
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

This is the result. The image of blessing. 
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

And this is the other option. Life or death. Fullness or emptiness. Lush or dry. Why would anyone choose the latter? But we do. It is easy to do something which satisfies momentarily but only dries you out. 
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

How could the wicked stand? Chaff is without strength. A tree, beside streams of water, this can stand. But chaff? Once one has gone down the path of the wicked one has lost substance; when judgment comes, when the truth is revealed, standing is out of the question. 
In Christ we can be renewed - our dry bones can be clothed in flesh and He will send the Spirit who is the breathe of new life in us - but absent his intercession we are lost, tossed, and empty. 
For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

And this is no accident. The Lord sees. 
I read this Psalm and I know that it is an introduction to the book of Psalms as a whole, an invitation to delight in and meditate on these words. And I can't help hearing Deuteronomy 30:19-20a:
call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

A minor humorous note and a stylistic comment. I hope the way I present them will not offend you.

Do you and Jeremy spend a lot of time together? In his August 29 blog post (comments section), he said “it should go without saying” and then immediately he says it; in this blog post, you say, “it almost goes without saying” and then immediately you say it. More straightforward to just say it? I also wonder what is the “almost”. I mean, if it really goes without saying, then you don’t have to say it, but there is something, the almost, that makes you say it?

The stylistic comment is this: “this rules out walking in the counsel of the wicked, the way of sinners, or the seat of mockers” seems to say, walking in the counsel of the wicked, walking in the counsel of the wicked, or walking in the seat of mockers. I guess “walking in the counsel” could be the intended meaning, but “walking in the seat of mockers“ takes some effort to imagine. If the intention is paralleling Psalm 1 verse 1, I would have expected: walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the way of sinners, or sitting in the seat of mockers.

Roger Hui

Anonymous said...

[correction to previous comment in [...].]

A minor humorous note and a stylistic comment. I hope the way I present them will not offend you.

Do you and Jeremy spend a lot of time together? In his August 29 blog post (comments section), he said “it should go without saying” and then immediately he says it; in this blog post, you say, “it almost goes without saying” and then immediately you say it. More straightforward to just say it? I also wonder what is the “almost”. I mean, if it really goes without saying, then you don’t have to say it, but there is something, the almost, that makes you say it?

The stylistic comment is this: “this rules out walking in the counsel of the wicked, the way of sinners, or the seat of mockers” seems to say, walking in the counsel of the wicked, walking in the [way of sinners], or walking in the seat of mockers. I guess “walking in the [way of sinners]” could be the intended meaning, but “walking in the seat of mockers“ takes some effort to imagine. If the intention is paralleling Psalm 1 verse 1, I would have expected: walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the way of sinners, or sitting in the seat of mockers.

Roger Hui

Andrew Demoline said...

I don't mind at all.

To the first the answer is yes. Yes, Jeremy and I do spend time together (though I didn't know that came out in our separate posts :). And yes, it is the 'almost' that makes me say it. It almost goes without saying because it should, but for many people it doesn't.

To the second, thank you. I edited the post before putting it up and that sentence bothered me. What you pointed out makes it so obvious, but last night I just couldn't see it. I'm not a perfectionist on my blog though and so I posted it anyway, even though the sentence bothered me. Would you mind if I edit the post and incorporate your suggestion?

Anonymous said...

Oh, by all means please use whatever you feel is useful. My own mistaken comments demonstrate that I can make mistakes like the best/rest of them. :-)

Roger Hui

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