It's a New Year!
This year holds promise and potential for great things!
Only the Lord really knows what we will experience--the good and the bad--but you and I still have a HUGE role to play in how it goes.
We make choices each and every day about the kind of life we're going to live, and that has a big impact on the kind of circumstances we face.
As Psalm 1 says,
"Blessed is the man...
Who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Or stand in the way of sinners,
Or sit in the seat of mockers;
But his delight is in the Law of the Lord,
and on that Law he meditates, both day and night..."(Psalm 1:1-2)
This Psalm is starting right out talking about the man who is 'blessed'--the one who is truly happy, joyful, and content.
This joy is much more than merely about his circumstances...this joy comes from his core!
We'd ALL want that, right? Sign me up!
...but then the psalmist takes us down an unexpected path--he illustrates that this 'joy', happiness and contentment comes partially by what we choose NOT to do (not only what we do).
He does NOT "walk in the counsel of the wicked".
This is a picture of a person who is getting his/her priorities, values, and morality from the world--from those who don't know God, through faith in Jesus.
Remember that Jesus said we must be "born again--born of the Spirit" in order to "see the Kingdom of God". (John 3)
"[Those] without the Spirit do not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to [them], and they cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)
"Walking in the counsel of the wicked" simply means being influenced largely by those who don't know God.
The writer continues...
[nor does he] "stand in the way of sinners". This means to allow ourselves to be influenced by those who are in opposition to God. We do so by lingering with them, under their influence.
We do NOT want to totally abandon our friends that are not believers...but we DO need to do an honest evaluation--who do you spend most of your time with? Where do you 'hang' when you have free time? It is imperative that a good portion of your time be spent with those who--like you--love God and want to please Him. If you honestly can't say that, you need to re-evaluate your relational priorities!
Finally, the writer says that those who are blessed do not...
"Sit in the seat of mockers".
The mocker is a person who not only has no relationship with God, and therefore can't help you, spiritually. The mocker is one who openly mocks and derides the things of God, trying to deliberately steer us away from them. This person may literally mock those who are Christians, and the truths taught in the Word of God.
This may be by literally hanging out with them, but it also might be by listening to music that goes counter to God, reading books that are that way, or watching tv. that is counter to God.
We really need to think about this--Where do we get our priorities from?
If we want to be blessed, we must be defined, at least in part, by who we do NOT hang with and where we do NOT get our priorities!
May God help us to make an honest evaluation!
It is interesting that that the writer seems to imply a progression here--the person first "walks" in the counsel of the wicked(in passing), then he "stands" in the way of sinners (lingering), then he "sits" in the way of mockers (belonging).
If we honestly ask God to show us, and see ourselves being increasingly influenced by those who don't know God, then we need to ask a serious, honest question:
Do you want to please God?
Do you want to obey Him?
Do you want to be blessed?
If so, you need to make some changes!
So, where's the 'good stuff'? What does the life that is 'blessed' look like?
Tune in tomorrow!