The book of Psalms begins with this great introduction to the Psalter with a portrait. The author writes for us, under the direction of the Spirit of God, these word portraits of two different men. As we reflect on these verses for a few moments ask yourself, “Which picture am I?”
The placing of this psalm at the beginning of the Psalter is significant because it both invites and encourages God’s people to live godly lives.
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
The happy or blessed man is the picture painted in the first three verses of this psalm. The second picture is the unsuccessful or wicked man. Let’s draw our attention to the first man. Verse two tells us that “his delight is in the law of the Lord”. Do you take delight in the word of God? So many of us as God’s people struggle with spending time in His presence. We struggle with joy and contentment. We rush about doing all kinds of things, often in the Lord’s name, without ever spending time or delighting in His word.
May I suggest five reasons we should study the word of God? Five reasons that will enable us to find joy, to delight in His word, and therefore be able to meditate on it throughout our day.
1. To find promises to claim: The scriptures are filled with promises from God to us as His people. Unlike us, God is unable to lie. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not accusing us all of lying, but how many times have we promised to do something and then forgotten? I know that has happened to me. God has never forgotten His promise to you. He said, “I will NEVER leave you or forsake you.” That’s a promise I can cling to. What promise do you need to hear today?
2. To find commands to obey: I grew up in a military home where rules could be found in abundance. I often thought the rules were designed simply to ruin my life. As I grew, was married, and then became a father, I understood that the rules were designed to protect me and declare my parents’ love for me. When we consider the commands of God we need to realize that behind every prohibition there is a divine desire to help. The Father’s desire is not to be a killjoy; rather, He expresses His deep love for us in declaring commands that we then can obey as an expression of our love for Him!
3. To find examples to follow: I have had the privilege of having some great examples. We often call these people “mentors”. I have a deep love for some godly men who have built into my life. We can look into the scriptures and find great examples. I love the boldness of Paul, the impetuous nature of Peter, the detail of Dr. Luke, and I can identify with the pity party of Elijah. What examples have you found in the scriptures that bring great encouragement to you?
4. To find sins to avoid: We know the difference between right and wrong because of the Word of God. If we are dependent upon our own feelings to discover what we should or should not do, then we are definitely in great trouble. Some of the excuses I have heard after almost 37 years of pastoral ministry amaze me. So we go to the Word of God to discover what brings joy to our Father, what parameters He has set to give us guidance with a desire for our eternal good. I am told by James to “resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7).
5. To find solutions to our problems: We live in a day where every one of us has problems. They may be economic, problems in our family or at work, marital, rebellious children, addiction, etc. God has solutions to our problems. People long to hear God speak and He has — in His Word! The daily study of scripture can be considered as the listening side of prayer. We can trust His leading and His solutions.
The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” To discover which portrait we are, we need to look into the mirror of God’s word.
I encourage you to be the woman, the man, the young person that God wants you to be, the blessed man who takes great joy and delight in the law of God and meditates on it throughout the day.
Copyright © 2016 S. Lindsay Taylor. All rights reserved.
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 VanGemeren, W. A. (1991). Psalms. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Vol. 5, p. 52). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.