THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 1
Today we are going to start a journey in the Psalms. I have no intention of working through the entire book at this time. But I thought it would be good if we dealt with several of them in this go round. That means we will come back to this incredible book later and do some more.
The Psalms is a most interesting book. It was often used as a collection of “hymns” for the nation of Israel. In fact, Ephesians 5:19 includes psalms in a list of different kinds of music that the early church would use. The Book of Psalms belongs to a section in the Old Testament that is referred to as wisdom literature. It includes Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and The Song of Solomon. Some also include Job in this category. There is much more I would love to share with you about this amazing book but the purpose of these devotions is to get in the Scripture. So, let’s take a look at this first psalm.
Psalm 1 presents two ways that are open to mankind: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. The righteous man is the “blessed man” that verse 1 speaks of. The wicked man is also the sinner and the scoffer or mocker that verse 1 also speaks of.
The blessed or righteous man is not influenced by unrighteous people. Indeed he does not make a practice of hanging out with them. Instead he is influenced by his meditation on the Word of God. The word for meditation here literally means to murmur. It refers to staying in the Word of God, reading it, repeating it, speaking it so that it stays on your lips. It is like you are murmuring God’s Word to yourself.
It is also important to see here that the blessed or righteous man delights in God’s Word. That means that he desired God’s Word. He found direction not drudgery in the Scripture.
The result of staying in the Word of God is significant. The longer we stay in the Word, the more the Word affects our thoughts. Our thoughts always affect our actions. So, staying in the Word literally affects how we live. And when we live the way the Scripture says we should live, there is blessing. Hence, the man who delights in God’s Word is necessarily the blessed man of this psalm.
Verse 3 speaks of the fact that the blessed man prospers. There is fruit in season. In other words, staying faithful to the Word of God does not always produce fruit immediately. Sometimes the fruit is delayed but is always produced when it is the right time (in season). The second aspect of prospering is continuous life. Fruit comes in season. Life is constant as indicated by the statement that the leaf does not wither.
Verse 4 is quite clear that the wicked man is very different. There is no permanence of life or connectedness to fruit. He is like chaff that is blown away from the real fruit.
The Psalm ends with the promise of judgment. The wicked will not survive this divine judgment. In fact, the wicked will perish in this judgment. On the other hand, the Lord knows the righteous. He knows how they have lived. He knows how He has blessed them. And here the understood promise is that the righteous will survive the judgment.
Sometimes it is easy to have the mistaken notion that our lives do not matter, that we can “be saved” and live however we want to live. Although I am staunchly in the camp of “once saved, always saved”, I am also convinced that a saved man’s life is going to be different. We are not saved by our works, our deeds, or our lifestyles. But our salvation has an incredible impact on our works, our deeds, and our lifestyles.