October 1 - Psalm 1

Saturday, September 27, 2008

October 1 - Psalm 1:1-6

The Psalms open with two distinct ways of life. You are either righteous or wicked. There isn't a lot of grey area there.

Psalm 1:1 is amazing! A righteous man has to hold closely to his beliefs and it progressively gets more difficult. This begins with a casual association with the wicked, moves to standing in the way (agreeing with) of the sinner and finally ends with sitting in the seat of the mocker, actively participating in the sin.

Hebrew poetry is quite different than we see when we read the English translation. We need to fully understand the basis to understand the glory of these Psalms. "The Teachers Commentary" tells us that while English poetry relies on rhythm and meter, Hebrew poetry relies on parallelism, rhythm and figures of speech. We see this beginning with the first verse of Psalm 1. We have been deliberately drawn through the progression to fully understand the disparity between righteousness and wickedness.

I also find that English translation misses the extraordinary feelings that the Hebrew words portrayed. The first word of this Psalm, 'Blessed' means so much more than that. The Psalmist is saying 'Oh, the happiness of' the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. Think about that for a moment. Let those words flow around your mind. There's a lot more to it, isn't there!

The law spoken of in Psalm 1:2 is all of the words of Moses. It is not just the rules and regulations, but the power infused in the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) by the breath of God. We have distorted the word 'law' to mean those things that limit us and hold us accountable. The law that was given to the nation of Israel was the basis for their relationship with their Creator!

Psalm 1:3 tells of streams of water. These were not random streams and rivers, but were irrigation trenches that flowed through the entire region. Beautiful gardens and trees were planted along these trenches. Life-giving water flowed through them. There was a plan behind the trees planted near an irrigation stream. There is a plan for the rivers of life flowing through us. The fruit that we release is the fulfillment of that plan.

God planted the righteous near streams of life giving water. The wicked are nowhere near them. This afternoon I rescued a potted plant that my neighbor had put out on the front stoop. The wind picked it up and tossed it into the yard. There was no water in the soil, it was dry and brittle. There was no substance and no weight to the root system. It could no longer hold its own against the wind.

The wicked will not stand in the judgment? That simply means that they will not be acquitted, nor will they be allowed to participate with the righteous.

Psalm 1:6 finishes with a declaration of the separation of the two ways of life. Jesus alludes to this in Matthew 7:13, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

I'm always aware of the focus of that small gate. It's easy to be caught walking with the wicked and end up sitting in the seat of mockers.

Close today with prayer.