Scripture: Psalm 1
Key verses: (1-3) “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, . . .They are like trees planted by streams of water, . . .”
Reflection: This psalm describes two ways of life that we are free to choose – the way of the wicked or the way of the righteous. This old-fashioned kind of language may sound odd but it fit the original audience. We don’t use words like “wicked” or even “righteous” in our common language because these two words are most often associated with judgmental, unloving people who condemn others. But, we do know the difference between following a path of destruction or a path to wholeness. A better way to capture the Psalmists meaning might be to say it this way: if you take the advice of rude, arrogant and disrespectful people your life will eventually come to nothing, but if you take the advice of the law – aka the Torah – you will discover what it means to be loved by God and how to share that love with others. The metaphor of the tree with deep roots by streams of water is a beautiful description of a life transformed by God’s love. It is an invitation to enter the inner world of contentment and happiness – a place where our faith will deepen and we can quit chasing after things that won’t satisfy us. Without a firm foundation, our lives, like chaff, will be carried away by the wind. So, we are invited to reject the desires that lead to destruction and search for someone and something greater than ourselves. When we do, we will prosper – not in the way the world sees prosperity, but inwardly. Our inner lives will become richer and our unity with God stronger. We will become useful to others in ways we might not be able to imagine.
We live in a world where we often see the wicked prosper and the righteous perish, so it may seem foolish to believe that delighting in God’s will gets us anywhere. But this is the invitation.
As you read the psalm today, ask yourself: “What choice have I made?”
Prayer: Gracious God, help us follow in the way of your wisdom so that we might have rich and full lives as we serve others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].