I enjoyed reading Psalm 1 responsively this past Sunday, didn’t you? This psalm speaks to me…for lots of reasons, but today when I re-read it, I sensed these questions: What is the counsel of the wicked (vs. 1)? What does it look like? Counsel, of course, can be very beneficial if it includes a mutual exchange of ideas that result in positive or productive actions. But when our counsel comes from walking with “the wicked,” the benefits are questionable at best.
The dictionary is actually pretty blunt when it comes to describing what “wicked” looks like (the adjective not the person). It defines it as “morally bad or wrong; acting or done with evil intent.” And one would think it would be easy to stay away from that! But is it? We live in a culture that wants to re-define what’s right and what’s wrong, don’t we? That’s when only God’s Word and the ever-present activity of the Holy Spirit needs to lead and guide us in the paths of righteousness. I’ve heard it described as having a biblical world view, and, make no mistake, it takes time and intentionality to develop. I can attest first hand that meeting with a community of like-minded believers pays huge dividends in this arena!
The Apostle Paul talks plainly about our thought-life in Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” The Psalmist, however, goes beyond our thoughts to our physical posture. He zeros in on the danger of walking, which can progress to standing, and ultimately may find a home sitting in places and with people who are far off from God. The slide from a negative thought life to “wicked” actions can be subtle sometimes, you know? We have an adversary who likes nothing better than to trick and deceive us.
“What are you passionate about?” Pastor Greg asked us on Sunday. It’s usually that which consumes most of our time, our thoughts, or our feelings. Where does God’s Word rank with you? For the Psalmist, God’s “law” is his delight, so much so that “he meditates day and night” on it. (vs. 2b). How hard would it be for us to adopt that habit? What would we have to give up? Could it be that the rewards would outweigh anything we have yet received in our lives?
Personally speaking, I have a love affair with God and His Word. But I won’t kid you – it’s taken years to develop! And even now – after forty-some years of walking with Jesus – I continue to learn new things through His Word about who He is and how much He loves me. That’s the beauty of the Bible; it’s ancient and yet it’s message can be brand new every time it’s opened and read. So I want to offer you this invitation: Read through the New Testament with me this year, okay? I’ll start on New Year’s Day!