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; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
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.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
- Who Influences Me? I tend to agree with those who see a progression in verse 1, from walking, to standing, to sitting. You walk beside the wrong crowd and before you know it you are standing with them. Finally, you are sitting with them and your lifestyle and way of thinking is indistinguishable from theirs. Through the media, through our workplaces, in society, someone is trying to influence you. Are you being shaped by the “wicked” or the “righteous” (the two groups in this psalm)? Who is influencing you? Who are you influencing? Is the influence for good or evil?
- What is My Delight? What brings you joy? What energizes you? What do you find to be life-giving? When God gets a hold of us, He changes our “wanter” (the things we want). Yes, we still struggle with being tempted to do the wrong, but our greatest desire should be for God and the life He has for us. Nothing else will satisfy! If this is not true for you, then this is an indication that there is something spiritually wrong. The blessed person is the one who delights in God’s ways and meditates on them (see v. 2). This is not about loving religion or any religious observance, but about loving God and His ways and desiring to know Him in greater ways.
- Where do I get my Strength and Nourishment? The reason the tree in this verse (v. 3) flourishes at all times and yields its fruit in season is because the roots go down to a steady source of water, providing the nutrients it needs even in dry times. What resources do you draw from when you face those dry times of life? We have a lot of people in the church who are spiritually anemic. What if you had God-honoring flourishing people influencing you? What if your relationship with God was so rich that you had a continual source of spiritual strength and fortitude? Do you have such relationships with God and others? If not, what would it take from you to develop those?
- Which Path am I on? We live in a society where right and wrong are simply in the eyes of the beholder and word like “righteous” and “wicked” are shunned.
This psalm, however, remains uncompromising. There is no middle way. We are all on a journey, and on one of two paths. Sometimes we have to see things as “either-or” before we will be shaken out of our complacency. Is your life flourishing and substantive, like the well-watered tree, or is it flimsy like the weightless chaff blowing in the wind? Is your life rooted in God, or are you attempting to root it elsewhere? What choices will you make this week to put you on the right path?
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ps 1:1–6.