Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:1-2).
Life is full of choices, everything from what time you will get out of bed in the morning and what you will have for breakfast to the person you will marry and what career you will choose. Many daily choices become habits and are no longer viewed in terms of a choice, but an established routine.
Major decisions can be life changing. Have you considered what determines those choices for you? Do you flip a coin? Do you seek counsel? Do you fret and worry? Do you procrastinate – sometimes waiting so late to make a decision that the right choice disappears? How do you approach the choices of your life?
The first Psalm describes a man who is blessed. Surprisingly, his description does not begin with the positive but with the negative. This is often the case in God’s word. The number of “shall not’s” outnumber the “do’s” in the Ten Commandments. Proverbs is full of contrasts between wise and bad choices. Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the hypocritical choices of prominent religious leaders. Since sin is always the easiest choice, God finds it necessary to issue warnings of the pitfalls of wrong choices.
When a road becomes treacherous because a storm has washed it out or put obstacles in the way, street officials will put a sign at the beginning of the road warning of dangers ahead. Properly advised, a wise person will not travel down that road. God’s warnings are like that road sign. Don’t go there.
The blessed man chooses not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful. The man who does listen to evil counsel will find himself standing in the path of sinners. Once he has sat down among the scornful, he has made his decision. He has chosen the path of the ungodly.
Visualize the blessed man. As he walks, he encounters bad advice on every side but is not swayed. He chooses not to listen, refusing to stop and stand with those he knows are making bad choices. He is too wise to sit with those who scorn God and His ways.
This man knows God and His commandments. He knows the trap, possibly from experience, that bad choices will put him in. He does not want to move away from God because he knows God has given him those instructions to protect and guide him. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way (Psalm 37:23).
What are the choices the blessed man makes? He chooses to delight in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. There is a reciprocal delight: God delights in a man who trusts Him, the man who trusts in God delights in the relationship He has with God. His choices are predetermined and founded in that relationship.
The most important choice anyone makes in life is what to do with the invitation of Jesus to accept Him as Lord and Savior. . . . the wages of sin is death. . . Everyone has sinned, but those who trust in Jesus are saved from the punishment of their sin . . . . but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
The blessed man chooses God. Every choice he makes is based on his trust of God’s righteousness. But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him (Psalm 37:39-40).
After describing what the blessed man has wisely avoided, the psalmist then describes what his life is like because his delight is in the law of the Lord. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1:3).
Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14). Rivers of water are living, flowing waters, never stagnant. Nothing lives without water and nothing grows without water. The blessed man has chosen to abide in Jesus, the Living Water. Since that is so, his life will bear fruit. He who believes in Me . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit . . . (John 15:5).
Most fruit trees are deciduous, but evergreen fruit trees do exist. They hold their foliage – whose leaf also shall not wither. They bear fruit in summer but may also bear fruit in winter – that brings its fruit in its season. God, the Master Gardener, takes care of His garden so that it bears much fruit (John 15:1-5).
Metaphorically, “evergreen” refers to something that is continuously renewed. The blessed man trusts in God, looks to Him for his choices in life, and is constantly nourished and refreshed by that relationship. He knows that whatever he does shall prosper. As his desire is to please the God he chose, his definition of “prosper” has eternal, spiritual implications. And God blesses his choices.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:6). The ungodly chose the wide, easy road. The blessed man is among the few who find the narrow gate and travel the narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14).What about you?
© Stephanie B. Blake
Scriptures taken from the NKJV