I’m thinking that Fridays are a good day for a Psalm. Or maybe it’s just that today felt like the right day for one. The Psalms are just such a rich store of the real human struggle for life with God. They are a rollercoaster ride of emotions. There is wisdom and insight and truth upon truth. They feel very real and very raw. I can relate to them and I am constantly challenged by them. The Psalms often seem to sing my story and shed my tears. The shout my frustrations and voice my wonder in ways I never could. I love the Psalms so I’m making space for them here each week.
Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord ,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.
Psalm 1 is a great call to those who would follow God well. The very second line struck me as I read this morning. How often do I follow the advice of the wicked? How often do I allow the wisdom of the world or the perspective of this culture shape my goals and influence my decisions? This is not as it should be, even though it often is the way of things.
Instead the Psalmist says we are to be like trees along the river that bear fruit in each and very season. This also gives me pause. Just two days ago I was explaining to my wife how there are ups and downs to things spiritual and probably always will be. We’ll do well and then we’ll struggle and then it will begin again—a cycle of ups and downs. The thing is, I’m probably right, but should I be settling for that? I’m supposed to be always bearing fruit, not explaining why sometimes I don’t.
And then there is the contrast of the godly and the wicked…they take different paths. If their paths are so different why is it that sometimes and in some places the paths come so near one another that it is easy to step from one to the other? Proof yet again that we must stay planted. We must stay by the riverbank where the living water flows. This water—it is God, his words, his truth, his law. It’s why the Psalmist speaks of loving the law of the Lord and meditating on it day and night. It brings life. It keeps us on the path.
Oh Lord, may we be as the trees: planted by your living water, drinking deep of your stores. May we remain on your path and bear your fruit. May we be these trees.