Black and White

“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.”
(Psalm 1 ESV)

Ok, that might have been hard to get through. The first time I read this Psalm, don’t get me wrong, it was pretty confusing. It seemed like such a weird Psalm… Like, ok, you have a righteous man and a wicked man. This is why you should be the righteous man and not the wicked man. Yikes. (LOL) Ok, next Psalm.

…but then I started to understand what was going on here; this isn’t a statement. It seems to be a map of some sort, a guideline of how we are to live our Christian lives. Check this out:

“…who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers…” (vs. 1)

The wicked, sinners, and scoffers. These are the unsavory kids. The ones who, though they might seem cool, disrespect their parents and their teachers. They use God’s name in vain and scoff at people who try to stand up for anything worthy. This verse is basically saying don’t associate yourself with them. Notice it isn’t being like, “Tear them down! Let them know how evil they are!” (ok, maybe not that extreme), but no. It’s telling us to distance ourselves from them. To not be found standing with them.

This doesn’t mean run away, sit in a corner, and do nothing though. We need to remember what Paul says… but more on that in a moment.

“…but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night…” (vs. 2)

No, this doesn’t mean walk around with a Bible, lovingly studying laws all day (and night). That’d be like, level 20 weird. Although you need to have a good understanding of God’s laws, this basically tells us to constantly keep them in mind. If you pursue going through life thinking about the rules, your view of the world will start to change. You’ll start to see things in a different light. You’ll start to think about why you were made and what you were made for. You’ll start to understand where you’re headed and where you’re going. And I bet you – you’ll “delight” in that.

“…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…” (vs. 3)

Here, the writer(s) paint an image for us. A tree that has had tons of water – mature enough to bear fruit – and when the sun beats down on it in the midday heat, it’s leaves stand strong and do not wither. Let’s jump back to the social analogy. This is totally not running away and sitting in a corner. We should be standing strong for the gospel, barely wavering when confronted. We need to be grounded like this tree by drinking loads of water (read the Bible). We need to know our stuff.

Paul says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes…” (KJV)

How cool is that? I don’t know about you, but I want to follow that example. I want to go out, unashamed of the Gospel, and share it. To go out there and show my friends what it’s all about. To “prosper” for Him.

“…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.” (vs. 4-6)

This is a complete contrast…the most complete contrast you can get – good vs. evil. Righteous vs. wicked. It’s so strong that I’m not even going to go into it. It’s so strikingly clear what will happen to the wicked, and that God does not like it AT ALL.

———————

You have a purpose. God’s purpose. You’re part of God’s incredible plan that Paul talks about in the books of Timothy (you need to totally go check those out). This Psalm is one of my favorites now, and I hope I have given you a taste of what it means to strive for righteousness. Like seriously, this isn’t even the beginning!

(Hint – we have an infinitely incredible and awesome God.)

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