How well God must like you—
you don’t walk in the ruts of those blind-as-bats,
you don’t stand with the good-for-nothings,
you don’t take your seat among the know-it-alls.
2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.
4-5 You’re not at all like the wicked,
who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
unfit company for innocent people.
6 God charts the road you take.
The road they take leads to nowhere.
New Living Translation
Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
4 But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
6 For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.
Read the psalm carefully two or three times. Before you read my reflections, stop and think about what in this psalm strikes you today. Which words or phrases stood out to you? Make sure you stop and read this psalm again now.
Psalm One outlines two choices or decisions I can make as a Christ follower. Am I aligned with God, or with those who ignore God? Where are my priorities? The contrasting pictures given in this psalm contain a clear message for me.
Am I a flourishing tree, or am I windborne dust and plant debris?
Something that strikes me when I read this psalm is the delight in knowing God and in reading the Bible; being in God’s Word is the source of “success”. The person who delights in Scripture is like a tree firmly planted by water which produces fruit at the right time. This tree is prospering; it’s evident by the lush foliage. At times in my life when I feel frustrated and adrift in a thousand things I need to be doing, I realize that I have not taken time to meditate in God’s Word. The business of life has taken over quiet times with Him, and I have lost His presence and leading in my daily activities. After many years of walking with God, you’d think I’d learn my lesson, but thankfully, God’s Spirit keeps nudging me to get back on track.
The tree in Psalm One is “firmly planted”; it’s no accident. When you accepted Jesus as your personal sacrifice for sin and turned your life over to God’s leading, you were firmly planted by God in His family. (But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to them who believe on His name – John 1: 12) Like the tree with its water source nearby, you belong to Him with your “water source”, the Scripture, to help keep you thriving.
When I designed the gardens around my home, I thought carefully about which plants to choose, which colours I wanted, and how to place the plants for the best visual results. None of my garden plants were accidentally placed. I considered how much space each plant needed for its optimum growth, and which location would give it a place to be noticed. When I think of God planting my life, I also think that He has placed me where He thinks I can flourish and grow best. Sometimes those placements have been easy ones – working at a job I loved, volunteering in places where I was needed. But sometimes those placements were very difficult – a very challenging job, facing life-threatening illnesses with my husband. Yet in looking back, I can say God planted my life in places that helped me flourish; they were no accident.
When I read words like wicked, sinner, and scoffer, I think of terrible people – people who would indulge in all kinds of morally depraved behaviour. Certainly not me! Yet I also realize that the Bible makes it clear that there are essentially two positions a person can take – you are for God or against Him. You can’t have it both ways. When I look at the first verse of this psalm, I realize it is talking about people who are against God. They can be nice people by our culture’s standards, but they do not acknowledge the leadership of God in their lives. If my life is shaped by their standards, advice, and lifestyle, I will be like the chaff which the wind drives away. What a picture of a useless life! Yet so often, if we are honest, we have to admit our days are filled with work-related activities, chatting with our fellow employees or neighbours, watching TV, social events – you name it. We can be completely submerged in our secular culture with hardly a thought of God crossing our minds. I realize that if I let that pattern of living chart the course of my life, I will be like the people I denounce so casually when reading verses one and four.
Meditating and delighting in God’s Word is essential to a purposeful and thriving life. God is calling us to a relationship with Him, and He will provide what we need to be a “thriving tree”. One of the biggest challenges is to find the time to do that. I challenge you to figure out a way to grow your relationship with God by reading and thinking about His Word – praying. I’m sure some of you have figured out a way to do that. Perhaps you would be willing to share with all of us the way you’ve discovered to find time with God.
Our song for today is Word of God Speak by MercyMe.