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His Delight Is in the Law of the LORD

15 February • Thursday after Ash Wednesday


Psalm 1:1-6

1 Blessed is the manwho walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD,and on His law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a treeplanted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

4 The wicked are not so,but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Meditation

 

Many years ago, when I was an exchange student at the Parkin-Wesley Theological College in Adelaide, a college mate told me that the highlight of his week was to go for a workout at the gym with his wife every Friday. He said they always looked forward to it.

What about you? What is the highlight of your week? Or more specifically, what is your greatest delight each day?


In Psalm 1, we see that Jesus is our River of living water. Anyone who loves Him will take great delight in spending time with Him and going deep into His Word.

Psalm 1 deals with how we can be blessed, how we can establish a right and fruitful relationship with God (Psalm 1:1a). It separates the world into two categories— the righteous and the wicked (Psalm 1:6). The righteous are those who are right with God, while the wicked are not. The difference between the two is in where they are planted.


The wicked are described as living and working in evil. They walk in guilt, take their stand on wrongdoing, and finally plant themselves in pride (Psalm 1:1b). They believe this way of life will make them thrive, but it only leads them to destruction and death. That is why the wicked are described as chaff—the worthless dead part of a stalk of grain that is easily blown away by the wind (Psalm 1:4). They are like dandelion fuzz destroyed with a single breath.


But the righteous are pictured as a healthy, fruit-bearing tree because they are planted by a stream of water (Psalm 1:3a). They are not chasing what they think will make their lives thrive. Instead, they are resting in what God says will make them thrive—God’s law (Psalm 1:2). The “law” here refers to the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. This psalm tells us that meditating on God’s Word brings life and fruitfulness.


Being blessed or prospering—is to be by the stream. This tree always has healthy leaves and bears fruit in season, because it constantly draws nourishment from the stream. He or she prospers by living a life informed and transformed by God’s Word. Indeed, as the Hebrew word ‘salat’ for ‘prosper’ means, they ‘prosper’ because they are ‘fulfilling the very purpose for which they have been created.’


The wicked wither because they aren’t connected to the source of life (Psalm 1:5). The righteous flourish because they are deeply rooted.


In fact, Jesus picks up on these ideas in His famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Like this psalm, He begins His message with the word “Blessed” (Matthew 5:6). Also like this psalm, He ends His message with a word about the different fates of the righteous and the wicked (Matthew 7:26).

Jesus agrees with Psalm 1 by saying the difference is that the wicked perish because He never knew them (Matthew 7:23). They were not planted by His stream.


Jesus’ point is that He is ‘the stream of life’ from Psalm 1 (see John 7:37). Blessing comes to those who plant themselves next to Him. This isn’t done through striving, like the wicked who walk, stand, and sit. We plant ourselves in Jesus by resting, trusting, and believing in who He is (John 7:38).


The proud and wicked walk away from this stream, which makes them wither and die. The righteous plant themselves next to it and live. Therefore, don’t walk in your own strength. You will wither. Trust in Jesus and you will thrive. Don’t stand on what you can do. You will dry up. Plant yourself in what Jesus has done for you, and you will flourish. Don’t sit stubbornly in your own pride. You will die. Rest humbly in Jesus—and you will live.


Prayer

 

Dear Holy Spirit, please open my eyes to see God whose very Presence and Word are always a great delight and blessing to me. Please help me see Jesus as the full and final stream by which I am to be planted and grow. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Action

 

Set up an altar of silence and solitude to read and meditate on a portion of God’s Word, not just during this Lenten season, but daily so that you may grow and glow like the tree planted by the streams of water.


Rev Dr Steven Gan

Senior Minister, Amazing Grace Presbyterian Church Stated Clerk,

EP Exco (2023-2025) The Presbyterian Church in Singapore

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